The future of the Indian Army’s long-delayed $7.5-billion futuristic infantry combat vehicle (FICV) programme is expected to be taken up when the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) meets later this month.
A source told FE: “At the recent Defence Procurement Board (DPB) meeting, it was decided to let the DAC take a call about reissuing expression of interest (EoI) for the FICV.”
No firm decision was taken by the DPB as some companies, including Mahindra Group, Tata Motors and Reliance Defence, which were declared non-complaint earlier this year have been making representations.
For the 2600+ vehicle order, the Indian companies which are trying include L&T, Mahindra, Tata, Bharat Forge and Reliance Defence. The potential original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) will include US-based General Dynamics, Russian companies under the umbrella of Rosoboronexport and the German Rheinmetall Group, subject to approval, among others.
The earlier EoI for FICV, which is expected to have a life span of 32 years, was issued under the DPP-2008 and it has recommended a minimum 40% indigenous content.
As reported earlier by FE, “As per the procedure, once the DPB addresses issues related to the FICV that were raised by certain companies earlier this year, it moves to the DAC.”
A lot of issues, mostly procedural in nature, seem to be hampering further progress in the project. There also seems to be no clarity over the number of development agencies the MoD would need for this programme.
Under the approved SP model, for the armoured vehicle segment, the first would be Future Infantry Combat Vehicle (FICV), which is currently being considered under the ‘Make’ Category under DPP-2008.
In February this year, former defence minister Manohar Parrikar had said “everything has been discussed about the project and there are certain aspects that are to be finalised”.
The Indian Army had issued a request for information (RFI) in June 2015 to design and develop a new-generation combat vehicle platform called the Future Ready Combat Vehicle (FRCV). Under the project, 2,610 FICVs are expected to be built.