FICV and more

SP's MAI - - MILITARY FEATURE -

Lt Gen­eral (Retd) P.C. Ka­toch enous ca­pa­bil­i­ties through tech­nol­ogy trans­fer. Fol­low­ing the above pro­ce­dure, MoD sur­veyed pri­vate and pub­lic in­dus­try to zero in on po­ten­tial con­trac­tors. Based on the GSQR, the Ex­pres­sion of In­tent (EOI) was even­tu­ally sent to Mahin­dra De­fence Sys­tems, Tata’s, L&T and OFB, each of whom had sub­mit­ted their tech­ni­cal and com­mer­cial bids. The In­dian Army is presently us­ing the Rus­sian BMP-1 and BMP-2 ve­hi­cles, which are slot­ted for mid-life up­grades. How­ever, in another decade, the In­dian Army will need bet­ter and ad­vanced ve­hi­cles to re­place the up­graded BMP-2. Hence, the need to put the FICV project on fast track.

The In­dian Army is look­ing at the pro­duc­tion of 3,000 FICVs to re­place the up­graded BMPs at a cost of $10 bil­lion. The MoD is con­sid­er­ing restart­ing the FICV project ly­ing in limbo, to in­clude more in­dige­nous de­fence com­pa­nies as po­ten­tial bid­ders. The project had got bogged down be­cause Rus­sia of­fered the BMP-3 but was not ac­cepted since in­dige­nous firms had in­vested heav­ily in the project. Fi­nally, two de­vel­op­ers are to be short­listed who would be re­quired to pro­duce five pro­to­types in the laid down time frame for user tri­als. At­tempt by OFB to part­ner DRDO as a de­sign part­ner was not ac­cepted un­der the plea that even­tu­ally DRDO will be the agency re­spon­si­ble for tech­nol­ogy eval­u­a­tion and ap­proval and hence could not part­ner OFB.

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