For the Indian Army’s Rs 1 lakh-crore (about $11 billion) futuristic infantry combat vehicle (FICV) programme, Indian companies are reaching out to foreign partners for forming consortia to build and design the vehicle.
Defence PSU Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) and private sector companies Tata Power, Tata Motors, Larsen & Toubro, Mahindra, Rolta, Pipavav, Bharat Forge, Punj Lloyd and Titagarh Wagons are approaching global giants, including US-based Oshkosh Corporation, Lockheed Martin, AM General, General Dynamics, BAE Systems, Rosoboronexport (Russia), Rafael (Israel), Nexter and Thales (France), Krauss-MaffeiWegmann (Germany) and Doosan Group of Korea.
According to sources in the army, the Indians companies have 90 days (from mid July) to respond to the expression of interest (EoI) with detailed proposals which involve forming consortia with Indian and foreign vendors, and conceiving and proposing the design of an FICV that would best suit the army’s requirements.
The Indian companies are free to select foreign partners for design, technology and funding. This futuristic armoured vehicle will cater to the needs of the contemporary battlefield.
However, official sources indicated there has been a sudden rise in interest in Oshkosh Corporation, based on its recent win of a $30 bn US army contract to build its Humvee replacement, the joint light tactical vehicle. Oshkosh beat out Humvee-maker AM General and Lockheed Martin on the largest army contract award in recent years.
Responding to a question from the FE, Oshkosh Corporation country head (India/SAARC) Yash Kansal confirmed the JLTV order but declined to speak on the current engagement on the FICV project. Oshkosh Corporation has a wholly owned subsidiary in India.
As per the selection process for the FICV, two vendors will be shortlisted, and they will then submit a detailed project report, which will include a detailed technical and financial proposal. The better design will be chosen by an “integrated project management team”, comprising experts from various defence ministry departments.
The US army’s JLTV is almost similar to the Indian Army’s FICV and with a larger payload, it could be carried by a CH-47 Chinook helicopter which India is going to acquire soon.
The Indian Army is presently using the Russian BMP-1 and BMP-2 vehicles, which are slotted for mid-life upgrades.
However, in another decade, the Indian Army will need better and advanced vehicles to replace the upgraded BMP-2. Hence, the need to put the FICV project on fast-track. The army has to procure at least 2,500 such vehicles.