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The Indian Army is poised for a significant modernization leap with the development of Future Combat Vehicles (FRCVs). These next-generation tanks are slated to replace the ageing fleet of Soviet-era T-72 Main Battle Tanks, significantly bolstering India’s ground forces.

The current T-72 tanks, while serving the nation for over four decades, have reached the end of their operational lifespan. The FRCV program aims to address this critical gap by introducing technologically advanced tanks. The project is estimated to be worth a staggering Rs 57,000 crore.

The Indian government is likely to adopt the Strategic Partnership Model (SPV) for the FRCV development. Under this model, a government agency will spearhead the project, collaborating with select private sector companies. These companies will be responsible for developing key technologies and crucial components for the FRCVs.

Following successful development and clearance for induction, which is expected around 2033, the project envisions the formation of a new company. This company is likely to be a joint venture between Public Sector and Private Sector companies, leveraging expertise from both domains to manufacture the FRCVs in India.

The Indian Army requires a total of around 1,500+ FRCVs for complete replacement of the T-72 fleet. The project will be executed in three phases, with an initial induction of 590 FRCVs in the first phase. This phased approach ensures a smooth transition and allows for potential improvements based on real-world deployment experiences.

The FRCVs are designed to be future-ready, incorporating cutting-edge technologies. Artificial Intelligence (AI) is expected to play a crucial role in enhancing situational awareness and decision-making on the battlefield. Additionally, drone integration will provide valuable reconnaissance capabilities. The FRCVs will also boast active protection systems to counter incoming threats.

The FRCV program envisions tanks that seamlessly integrate with other elements of the Indian military. These next-generation tanks will possess “manned-unmanned teaming” capabilities, allowing for coordinated operations with drones and other unmanned vehicles. Furthermore, the FRCVs will be designed to operate in a “network-centric environment,” enabling them to synergize with land and air forces for a more comprehensive combat approach.

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