Why the $8-billion Future Infantry Combat Vehicle project of the Indian Army continues to be delayed
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 will now be decided by the next government. Sources have confirmed to Financial Express Online that the project that had been moved to the Make II category of the DPP-2016 last year in an effort to expedite it is stuck due to the lack of decision from both service headquarters and the Ministry of Defence (MoD).
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 programme under the Make-II category.
As has been reported earlier, there has been divergence of views between the MoD and the Indian Army since last year related to the payment for this project. A senior officer had confirmed the same to Financial Express Online. Though the reason cited for putting the project under Make II category was to fast track the process of modernising the Armoured Vehicles of the Indian Army, now the long-delayed project will wait for the new government.
The FICV will be a tracked, lightly armoured, off-road vehicle that can zoom over sand dunes or across a river. Operated by a three-man crew — a commander, a driver and a gunner — it will also carry seven fully equipped infantrymen into battle protecting them while they are aboard from bullets and shrapnel. The FICV’s strike power — an anti-tank missile; a rapid-fire cannon; a 7.62 mm machine gun; and a grenade launcher — will enable it to destroy enemy tanks, ICVs, missile carriers, attack helicopters and infantry.
It will transport infantry soldiers into the battlefield behind tanks. They will replace the old Russian -origin BMP-II infantry combat vehicles, currently used by the Indian Army.
Army stricken that the FICV should be transported into Il 76 and C 17. Which means the IFV must be lighter than some 25 Tons. The FICV also capable to fire anti tank guided missiles through it’s external mounts for anti tank missions.
The FICV will also comes with a remotely operated 30 mm cannon, sometimes Nexter 40 mm cannon too be used for larger fire power, along with a anti personnel 7.62mm HMG, and twin anti tank missile launchers. It will be a 22-24 tonne vehicle with the strike power of a 45 tonne main battle tank (MBT).
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.
Source:- Financial Express