According to G Satheesh Reddy, Chairman of the DRDO and Secretary of the Department of Defense Research and Development, India is looking to private enterprises in India to create the Future Infantry Combat Vehicle (FICV) and Future Ready Combat Vehicle (FRCV) programs.
With these two programs, the Indian Army is on the verge of making a major leap forward for its armoured formations and mechanized troops, and has already submitted Expressions of Interest and Requests for Information.
The FICV program will replace the Indian Army’s outdated fleet of BMP-I and BMP-II infantry combat vehicles, which have been in service for four decades and are still manufactured by the Ordnance Factory Board.
Although the DRDO has yet to publicly display its design for the proposed FICV program, private sector companies interested in submitting a FICV design are still interested in purchasing most of the systems and subsystems from DRDO associate laboratories that developed them for the Whap and Arjun MBT programs.
The Future Ready Combat Vehicle program aims to replace the 1800 T-72B Main Battle tanks that have been in service since the early 1970s. Army aims to begin induction of selected FRCV designs in 2030, with a ten-year production run planned to replace the entire T-72B fleet as well as some of the earlier T-90s tanks.
The Indian Army is still working out its requirements, with a strong drive to develop most of the country’s primary weapons systems locally. It seems unlikely that India will be interested in purchasing a Main Battle Tank designed and produced by Russia or a western country.