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In the Indian Army, the main Infantry Combat Vehicle (ICV) is the BMP-2 Sarath, built by Ordnance Factory Medak under license from Russia. The first vehicle, assembled from components supplied by Russia was ready in 1987. By 1999, about 90% of the complete vehicle and its associated systems were being produced in India.
The Future Infantry Combat Vehicle (FICV) is to replace the ICV BMP-2 held by some 50 Mechanized Infantry Battalions. Expression of Interest (EoI) for the FICV project was finally issued in March 2014, leading to the empanelment of 10 Indian entities including four empanelled earlier. The EoI issued in March 2014 was responded to by six contenders; TATA Motors, Larsen & Toubro (L&T), Mahindra Defense, TATA Power SED (with Titagarh Wagons), Reliance Defense and the OFB; joint venture with Russian MBT Manufacturer – Uralvagonzavod).
The FICV project costing some Rs 65,000 crores is to replace 2610 in-service BMP-2 of Army’s Mechanized Infantry units beginning 2022. The FICV weighing 20 tons will have amphibious capability. TATA Motors exhibited a scale model and a graphic of the proposed FICV at DefExpo 2016, resembling the BMP-2 to large extent.
For the FICV project, government has committed to provide 80% of development costs for two vendors chosen as DAs. It is expected to take four to six months for the two DAs to be shortlisted. TATA Motors has recently signed a strategic agreement with Bharat Forge Limited and General Dynamics Land Systems (GDLS) of the US as technical partner, for the FICV project. TATA Motors will lead the consortium, with Bharat Forge Limited as a partner, while GDLS will bring in its much proven expertise in combat vehicle platforms.
Some of the critical technologies and features expected to be incorporated in the FICV are listed in the Table.
A lightweight compoundarmored hull with round corners to reduce silhouette enhancing stealth capability. To strengthen it further, it is mounted with compound armour
Multi-ceramic, titanium, high hardness, dual hardness spaced and anti fragment armour to give weight reduction
All round protection against SA, medium caliber protection from front, NBC, Integrated fire detection and suppression, laser warning and AP systems incorporated
Lighter impact version of explosive reaction armor (ERA) as APS with mounting features to offer protection without any damage to base armor
NBC Protection System
NBC system must have Radiation Detecting Measurement and Control unit (RADMAC). In addition there is requirement of Automatic Control Unit (ACU), Blower control unit and automated NBC protection system
Running Gear System
The system should comprise of a double pin rubber track with control horn.
Advance Automotive Dashboard
The ICV should have an advanced automotive dashboard with sensors fully integrated with vehicle and also interfacing with GPS system.
Electronic Weapon Control System
Digital Fire Control System with independent stabilization is required. Weapon is required to be controlled with electronic system along with its stabilization system.
The weapon systems required are a mix of 40 mm caliber gun with APFSDS and HE Amn, 7.62 mm Machine Gun and 30 MM Grenade launcher
Twin Missile Launcher System
Missile system to cover 75 M to 4000 M distance. QR of the missile system has not been finalised. Any system better than above QR will be of interest to the project. In addition to Konkur and Nag Missile system, they are evaluating Spike system of Israel.