TATA Motpors led consortium’s Futuristic Infantry Combat Vehicle (FICV), aimed at providing a fully indigenous FICV as a replacement to Indian Army’s existing fleet of BMP-2 vehicles

NAGPUR: Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) is planning to roll out a "Futuristic Infantry Combat Vehicle" made for the Indian Army, a top official said at DefExpo 2020. A model of the proposed design was displayed at the Expo which is underway at Lucknow.

Director General Ordnance Factories and Chairman Ordnance Factories Board Hari Mohan told reporters that the conference would focus on "themes important for the transformation of ordnance factories into modern and business-oriented organisations".

A "Futuristic Infantry Combat Vehicle" for the Indian Army was also in the works, he added.

"OFB started manufacturing Armoured Personal Carriers for the army from 1983-84. But now the OFB has developed its own Futuristic Infantry Combat (FICV) Vehicle for the army," he said.

"It is almost 85 percent ready. In coming months the FICV will be fully ready and exhibited in the next Defence exhibition," Mohan had added.

The Indian Army uses the Soviet era BMP-2 variant of ICV

The fate of the $8-billion (approx Rs 60,000 crore) Future Infantry Combat Vehicle (FICV) project for the Indian Army which has been getting delayed. The MoD has been pushing the industry to invest 90 per cent funds to develop the prototype of the FICV which is for modernising the Armoured Vehicles of the Indian Army; however, due to lack of any commitment from the end user there has been reluctance from the industry. Industry sources pointed out that there have been long delays as the MoD and the Service Headquarters have yet to decide on the requirement of the vehicles. Sources have said that there have been differences of opinion between the end user the Indian Army – and the MoD which has pushed the critical program under the Make-II category.

The FICV which is to be made in India is expected to have minimum 40% indigenous content. Companies including Titagarh Wagons, Reliance Defence and Engineering and Mahindra and Mahindra have sent their proposals to the MoD. Subject to approval some of the potential Original Equipment Manufacturers include Russian companies under the umbrella of Rosoboronexport, US-based General Dynamic and German Rheinmetall was reported by FE.

The FICV project was earlier approved under the Strategic Partnership (SP) model for the armoured vehicle segment under the ‘Make’ category according the DPP-2008 before being moved to Make II of DPP-2016. The DPP-16 states that in Make II category no funding is required from the MoD, whereas in the ‘Make’ category, the ministry has to provide 90% of funds up to the prototype stage. The Chapter–III of DPP-2016 has specified that the ‘Make’ procedure for indigenous design, development and manufacture of defence equipment/ weapon systems was simplified in 2016.

Around 2,600 FICVs — with a life span of 32 years, are expected to replace the Army’s old Russian-origin BMP-2 infantry combat vehicles by 2025.