Army seeks infantry combat vehicles: What are they & why it’s taken 3 attempts to acquire them

By The Print

The Army Thursday issued a Request for Information (RFI) under the Make in India initiative for acquiring 1,750 Future Infantry Combat Vehicle (FICV), that will become the mainstay of our mechanised forces for decades to come. This project, which is expected to eventually cost at least Rs 50,000 crore, is the third attempt in over a decade to acquire such capability.

Once the Army studies the RFI response, it will move the defence ministry for grant of Acceptance of Necessity after which a formal tender will be issued. It is only then that a prototype will be made by selected companies following which trials will take place.

A formal induction of the system into the Army is not expected before the 2028-30 period, sources in the defence establishment said.

The FICV, which will be a tracked vehicle, will replace the 1980’s vintage Soviet-designed BMP-2 currently in use with the 49 battalions of the Mechanised Infantry, each with 51 BMP-2s. These vehicles were produced under licence at the Ordnance Factory Medak in Telangana.

The proposed FICV, which is also meant to carry mini drones and even loitering munitions (such as kamikaze drones), will be used for operations along the borders with China in the Northern, Central and Eastern sectors, besides in the plains and deserts with Pakistan.

Indian companies expected to be in contention include Mahindra and Mahindra, TATA, Bharat Forge, Larsen & Toubro among others. Foreign companies like Rosoboronexport of Russia, General Dynamic of the US and Germany’s Rheinmetall are expected to be part of the competition besides firms from South Africa and South Korea.

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