FICV and more
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.