Sources say the Army is planning to get third-generation Fire and Forget ATGMs, Canister Launched Loiter Munition System, mini-UAVs and anti-drone systems as part of various upgrades to the existing equipment

The Army is in the process of acquiring a range of niche technologies developed indigenously as part of modernising its Mechanised Infantry arm, defence sources familiar with the development said on Thursday.

As per sources, the Army is looking to procure around 480 Futuristic Infantry Combat Vehicles (FICV) to replace its traditional BMP-2 — the Soviet-era amphibious infantry fighting vehicle acquired by the Army in the 1980s. An Acceptance of Necessity (AoN) for the platform is expected to be accorded in the next Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) meeting.

Sources further said that the modalities for procuring Nag Missile Systems (NAMIS) for the Recce & Support (Tracked) Battalions and Infantry Combat Vehicle, Command (ICV Comd), as the Command & Control platform are being drawn up. Last month, the DAC accorded amendment to AoN for 13 NAMICA and 293 Nag missiles. The DAC then had also granted AoN for 177 ICV Comd.

As part of the modernisation plans, the Army is also planning to procure 105 new Wheeled Armoured Fighting Vehicles (Wh AFV) to replace BRDMs, which are combat reconnaissance patrol vehicles. In June, the AoN for 105 Wh AFV and 1,080 ATGMs was granted by the DAC.

Other procurement plans include getting new Wheeled Infantry Combat Vehicle (Wh ICV) for Standard Mechanised Infantry Battalions (Wheeled) and Light Armoured Multi-Purpose Vehicle (LAMV) with greater mobility and protection for Recce Platoon which will replace the existing modified Maruti Gypsy. The RFI for this was floated last month.

Additionally, existing equipment with the Mechanised Infantry are also being heavily upgraded with contemporary technologies. For instance, the BMP-2 is being upgraded for enhanced night-fighting capability, which will include Thermal Imager based Driver Night Sight and Commander Thermal Imaging (TI) Sight for the driver and the commander of the BMP-2.

The Army is also looking at various indigenous options as it plans to buy a range of contemporary third generation Fire and Forget ATGMs for enhanced firepower, and is in the process of acquiring Canister Launched Loiter Munition System to be integrated on BMP-2/ Carrier Mortar Tracked (CMT) chassis so that they can take out targets beyond visual range.

Other planned upgrades include acquiring anti-drone capability to engage aerial targets, mini UAVs, See Through Armour, Autonomous Combat Vehicle, and Artificial Intelligence-based Integrated Surveillance for enhancing its ISR capabilities.

The Mechanised Infantry and the Armoured Corps are working on a joint project for getting Integrated Surveillance & Targeting System (ISAT-S) on BMP & Tank chassis.

Sources said multiple projects are also in the pipeline for “better survivability, modern navigation aids, effective communication and critical operational logistic requirements of Mechanised Infantry in the battlefield”.

“A twin approach has been adopted for the Mechanised Infantry, which includes replacing vintage equipment with futuristic platforms and capability enhancement of existing equipment through upgrades,” a defence source said.