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The US defence industry is ramping up its efforts to secure a foothold in India’s massive military modernization plans. Following its offer to co-develop Stryker-based armoured vehicles, the Pentagon now sets its sights on the colossal Future Ready Combat Vehicle (FRCV) program.

The FRCV project, valued at Rs 57,000 crore, aims to replace India’s ageing fleet of T-72 tanks with 1,770 next-generation combat vehicles by 2030-35. These advanced machines will boast cutting-edge features like Artificial Intelligence (AI), integrated drone capabilities, and active protection systems.

Informed sources suggest that the US is actively pursuing these projects through diplomatic channels, aiming to lessen India’s dependence on Russian military equipment. Currently, the Indian Army relies heavily on Russian tanks, including the T-90, T-72, and even older T-55 models.

India’s premier Defence research organization (DRDO) will undoubtedly be a frontrunner, developing its own indigenous FRCV solution. Companies like Kalyani, Mahindra Defence, Tata, and Larsen & Toubro (L&T) are all eager to offer their own FRCV designs. A potential strategy for these companies could involve collaborating with US defence firms, leveraging their experience in developing main battle tanks.

The FRCV program presents a significant opportunity for India to achieve self-reliance in its main battle tank development. While the US attempts to make inroads, the final decision will rest on who offers the most compelling solution that aligns with India’s strategic vision and defence needs.

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