Indian Army seeks designs for futuristic combat vehicle
New Delhi: Intending to replace the Soviet-origin T-72 tanks, the Army has invited proposals from domestic and foreign firms for designing a ‘Future Ready Combat Vehicle', significantly at a time when DRDO is already working on such a project.
The Army has issued a Request for Information (RFI) inviting responses from companies by July 31 to design the vehicle which will form the “base platform for the Main Battle Tank which is planned to replace the existing T-72 tanks in the Armoured Corps”.
The RFI is open to both domestic and international firms. According to the Army, the best design will be chosen and given to nominated developing agency for production of the prototypes.
The selected prototype will be given to production agency, which could be a domestic firm, for bulk production, defence sources said.
“The FRCV (Future Ready Combat Vehicle) is planned to be a design and development project, to be executed in three stages - design stage, prototype development stage and production stage,” it said.
The RFI added that a ‘Future' Combat Platform design must cater for ‘future' battlefield environment and technological possibilities.
To address the future battlefield scenario and the envisaged force profile in the coming years, the FRCV needs to be developed on a modular concept with a high degree of flexibility in a manner that, as a tank platform, it can address the varying requirements of different terrain configurations, it said.
At the same time it can provide the base on which a ‘Family of Vehicles', catering to the operational needs of various arms of the Army, can be developed. The move is significant as the country's premier defence research agency DRDO is already working on technology for a futuristic tank - Future Main Battle Tank (FMBT).
The Army has earlier been at loggerheads with the DRDO over the Arjun tank that it had developed. Asked about Army's RFI, Director of DRDO's Combat Vehicles Research & Development Establishment (CVRDE), which is working on the FMBT, told PTI, “We have a long-term perspective plan from the Army.
We are working on the technology development and will continue with it”. DRDO officials expressed surprise over Army's RFI and are wondering why it was issued when it is already working on it. They are hoping that the Ministry of Defence, which has been pushing for ‘Make in India', will look into the issue.
A senior official noted, “DRDO has been doing well with the Air Force and the Navy but always hits a roadblock when it comes to the Army”.
Meanwhile, defence sources maintained that the RFI is open to all and even the DRDO can take part. They added that the idea behind the move is that the Army gets to know the various design options that are available based on which a final selection can be made.