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The Indian Army has undertaken a significant revision of the parameters for the upcoming Future Ready Combat Vehicle (FRCV) tank, which is slated for local manufacturing starting in 2030. This revision comes as a response to the evolving threat landscape and takes into account the new level of challenges observed during the Russia-Ukraine war. As a result, the FRCV has shifted towards a heavier-weight 55-57ton tank configuration, signifying a substantial change in tank design and capabilities.

The lessons learned from recent conflicts have underscored the importance of enhanced protection and firepower capabilities for modern tanks. The Russia-Ukraine war, in particular, has provided valuable insights into the nature of contemporary warfare and the threats faced by armoured vehicles on the battlefield. The Indian Army has recognized the need to adapt to these evolving challenges and has consequently adjusted the parameters of the FRCV to meet the new requirements.

Some of the revised parameters have been listed below.

Protection Systems: Army has called for FRCV design to provide exceptional protection for its crew and vital components. FRCV should boast 360 all-around protection, reinforced by a dedicated Top-Attack Protection System (TAPS) to counter threats from above. Additionally, the FRCV incorporate Soft Kit Systems that detect and disrupt hostile elements such as laser designation, range finding, missile launch, and missile homing. Furthermore, the vehicle is equipped with Hard Kill systems capable of destroying and deflecting incoming projectiles.

Passive Protection: To ensure the safety of its crew, the FRCV should offer robust passive protection features. It provides frontal protection equivalent to a minimum of 800mm Rolled Homogenous Armor (RA) within a 60-degree arc. The vehicle also offers all-around protection of at least 600mm equivalent with lightweight solutions. Notably, the FRCV’s underbelly should be reinforced to withstand improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and mine blasts with a minimum of 15 kgs of TNT. It also incorporates lightweight solutions to defend against top-attack munitions without compromising its silhouette.

Modular Armor and Minefield Clearance: The FRCV should possess the capability to incorporate modular armour, including Explosive Reactive Armor (ERA) and Non-Explosive Reactive Armor (NERA), which can be scaled as per mission requirements. Furthermore, the vehicle allows for the attachment of separate modular systems to clear paths through minefields, ensuring safe movement across hazardous terrain.

Crew Protection and Fire Suppression: Crew compartments within the FRCV are equipped with spillers or alternative solutions to enhance crew protection. The vehicle incorporates an Instant Fire Detection and Suppression System that automatically activates within 20 milliseconds of a fire outbreak. The system’s response ensures that the fire is suppressed within 130 milliseconds in the crew compartment and 10 seconds in the engine compartment. FRCV will now house 4 crew instead of the 2-3 earlier planned.

Missile Warning and Stealth Capability: The FRCV should feature a comprehensive Missile Warning System with pre-shot detection capabilities, including a Laser Warning System and directional smoke dispenser. It should possess the ability to suppress various signatures such as acoustic, visual, infrared, thermal, and electromagnetic to reduce its observability by 50%. Moreover, the FRCV incorporate measures for Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear (CBRN) protection and warning systems.

Digitized Systems and Battlefield Management: The FRCV should operate as a fully digitized platform, capable of facilitating human-machine teaming and controlling unmanned ground vehicles (UGVs), unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), drones, and tethered drones. It integrates a Battlefield Management System (BMS) and Identification of Friend or Foe (IFF) technology, ensuring seamless coordination between sensors, weapons, and communications. The FRCV should also offer 360-degree vision coverage and provides inputs to the Command, Control, Communications, Computers, and Information (C4I) system. It is designed to operate in a contested electromagnetic spectrum and intense electronic warfare environments.

Strike Capability and Other Features: In terms of firepower, the FRCV should feature a main gun with a minimum calibre of 120mm, capable of firing various types of ammunition for engaging static and dynamic targets by day and night. It should possess secondary armaments, including a coaxial machine gun and an anti-aircraft machine gun with a remotely controlled weapon system (RCWS). The vehicle should incorporate a sophisticated Fire Control System (FCS) that integrates all weapons, targeting sights, and a fire control computer through a digitized architecture.

Additionally, the FRCV should incorporate a range of capabilities such as vetronics condition-based monitoring, modular configuration for flexible component attachment and detachment, an auxiliary power unit (APU) for prolonged operations, cold start capability, ammunition loading and stowage provisions, and electric-drive systems for precise traversing and elevating mechanisms.

Transportability and Logistics: The FRCV should be designed to be transportable via in-service aircraft, ships, rail, and road infrastructure, enabling swift deployment and logistical support in various operational scenarios.

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