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Baba Kalyani, Chairman and Managing Director of Bharat Forge, has confirmed the company’s intent to participate in the competitive bidding process for India’s ambitious Future Infantry Combat Vehicle (FICV) and Future Ready Combat Vehicle (FRCV) programs, initiated by the Indian Army.

In 2021, the Indian Army issued a fresh Request for Information (RFI) intending to procure over 1,700 Future Ready Combat Vehicles (FRCVs). This RFI garnered responses from 12 leading companies across the globe. The list of Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) includes renowned names such as:

  • France’s Leclerc Nexter
  • Russia’s T-90 & T-14 Armata by Uralvagonzavod, marketed by Rosoboronexport (ROE)
  • South Korea’s K1 Hyundai Rotem
  • USA’s M1AX (Abrams) by General Dynamics
  • Germany’s Leopard by KMW and Rheinmetall
  • Ukraine’s T–84 by Malyshev Plant, marketed by Spectstechno Expo
  • Italy’s Ariete Consortium by Iveco and Oto Melara (Leonardo)
  • Serbia’s M – 84 by Yugoimport
  • Israel’s Merkava Mantak/ Israel Ordnance Corps
  • UK’s Challenger
  • Turkey’s Altay by Otokar
  • India’s Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO)

Tata Motors has previously entered into a strategic partnership with Bharat Forge Limited and General Dynamics Land Systems (GDLS) from the US to collaborate on the development of both FICV and FRCV programs.

The Future Infantry Combat Vehicle (FICV) program holds a special status, having received an ‘Acceptance of Necessity’ (AoN) under the ‘Buy (Indian)’ category. This program is primarily focused on the development of tracked versions of FICVs tailored for the Mechanized Infantry Regiment of the Indian Army. The deployment of FICVs is envisioned to replace the ageing fleet of Soviet Union-era BMP-1 and BMP-2 infantry combat vehicles (ICVs) currently in service.

Various stakeholders are actively engaged in the development of FICV prototypes for the Indian Army. These include India’s state-run Armoured Vehicles Nigam Limited (AVNL) and prominent private-sector entities like Mahindra Defence Systems, Larsen & Toubro (L&T), and Tata Motors. These entities are expected to participate vigorously in the bidding process, reflecting the significance of these programs.

Crucially, since these programs are government-funded, selected companies stand to receive up to 80 per cent of the development costs from the government. The prototype development phase is projected to span four years following the allocation of funds. This will be accompanied by a two-year testing phase before progressing to production, which is tentatively set to commence by 2030-31.

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