The defence ministry has decided to extend the deadline for the army’s Rs 1-lakh-crore futuristic infantry combat vehicle (FICV) programme by eight weeks, after Indian companies sought more clarity on several issues. Earlier, the companies were supposed to respond by mid-October.
“The deadline for responding to the Expression of Interest (EoI) for FICV has been extended until mid-December at the request of the private sector which is seeking more details on formation of consortia with a foreign company to build and design the vehicle, technology tie-ups and most importantly why did the Directorate of Mechanised Forces seek EoI for FICV from 10 Indian companies under the Defence Procurement Procedure, 2008,” a source in the MoD told FE.
Industry sources sharing their views on the condition of anonymity said, “There have been so many amended versions of the DPP, yet the EoI is based on an older version. We have asked the MoD to look into this as the EoI sought is under ‘Make’ category (Para 2 of the EoI document states clearly that selection of the development agencies will be done under the provisions of Chapter 2 DPP-2008.)”
As reported earlier by FE, those familiar with the programme call it a deliberate attempt to favour a certain section of the industry. Para 22 of DPP-2008 is a clear giveaway to this. It dictates that Indian industries should meet the criteria as per the guidelines of Raksha Udyog Ratna (RURs) even though the RURs did not qualify for the then proposed criteria which did not see the light of day. Also, based on the restrictive conditions in the EoI citing DPP-2008, only OFB and a couple of older players in the defence sector are likely to qualify.
The Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) under the Department of Defence Production and the private sector companies — Tata Power, Tata Motors, Larsen & Toubro, Mahindra, Rolta, Pipavav, Bharat Forge, Punj Lloyd and Titagarh Wagons — are reaching out to 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.
While the companies are free to tie up with any foreign vendor for the FICV programme, the industry players are looking for more information on the issues of design, technology and funding caps of the FICV programme. This futuristic armoured vehicle will cater to the needs of the contemporary battlefield. The companies are also waiting for the new DPP draft recommendations to be finalised, which has recommended a minimum 40% indigenous content as against the 30 % indigenous content in DPP-2008.
For long the industry has been reasoning through its various representations to the MoD that even for the ongoing proposals where the contracts have not yet been inked, the latest edition of DPP should be applicable.