Stating that the army plans to adopt a novel approach for designing and developing its future category of battle tanks, sources said that a recent tender issued by the Directorate General of Mechanised Forces (DGMF) aims to identify and seek willingness of established tank designers, design bureaus and agencies to participate in a design competition.
“The FRCV is planned to be developed on a modular concept so as to support the subsequent development of at least 10 different variants, including light tanks, trawls, etc.,” the army sources said.
The development of FRCV, aimed at replacing the T-72 fleet of tanks, is proposed to be Service HQ driven and managed by a dedicated FRCV Project Management Team (F-PMT), they added.
“Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) is planned to be incorporated in the project as technological partner, for expert inputs in the FRCV development,” it said weeks after senior officials of the agency had expressed surprise at the army’s move to invite proposals as it was already working on technology for a futuristic tank — the Future Main Battle Tank (FMBT).
The proposed approach will involve three stages — Design Phase, Prototype Development Phase and Production Phase, the sources said.
In the design phase, “reputed” tank designers will be asked to design a futuristic battle tank as part of a design competition. The FRCV will be a combat vehicle platform which will form the base for the development of a ‘Family of Vehicles’.
The design competition will be conducted under the aegis of the F-PMT by a Design Selection Committee, consisting of domain experts, representatives from defence agencies and experts from DRDO and academia (including IITs).
In the second phase, the prototype will be developed based on the selected design. The user, the Design Agency and DRDO, will remain closely associated with the entire prototype development phase.
Bulk production will be undertaken in India by a nominated Indian Production Agency (PA), which may well be one of the Development Agencies (DAs).
The primary condition for the competition says that the winning design(s) will become the property of the Indian government and the winning designer will be required to continue to work on the project till the Production Stage.