Uncertainty continues over the $7.5-billion Futuristic Infantry Combat Vehicle (FICV) project, with the ministry of defence (MoD) undecided over the number of development agencies (DAs) it would need for this programme.
Project FICV will have an expected lifespan of 32 years.
A top source told FE: “Since the project is very big, the MoD is still not decided whether there should be two or three development agencies involved in this, as the chapter on strategic partners in the amended Defence Procurement Policy (DPP) 2016 is yet to be finalised. It is crucial as the FICV expression of interest (EoI), which was issued under the DPP-2008, has recommended a minimum 40% indigenous content as compared to the 30% indigenous content.”
The FICV is a high-mobility armoured battle vehicle for ferrying infantry men. It will replace the Army’s fleet of 2,610 Russian-designed BMP series armed vehicles in operation since 1980. Once a prototype is successfully tested and validated, around 2,610 such systems or upgraded ones will be procured by the MoD and the delivery will be in a phased manner. These prototypes would be evaluated for their performance in plain and desert terrains.
Earlier this year, before the amended DPP 2016 was released, the EoI had mentioned requirement for two DAs. It had also outlined the timeline for the development of the prototype of the FICV: Response to the Eol by vendors in three months; evaluation of Eol response and shortlisting of DAs in eight months; instructions for preparations of detailed project report (DPR) by shortlisted DAs in two months; the shortlisted DAs will be given a maximum six months to submit their respective DPRs, and finally preliminary services qualitative requirements (PSQR) will act as guidelines during preparation of DPR.
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Despite the finalisation of several chapters for the amended Defence Procurement Policy (DPP), there has been no further action on the FICV project, said sources. The MoD, which invited 10 companies in 2015 to submit proposals to develop the FICV under the ‘Make’ procedure, had earlier said two development agencies would be chosen.
The decision to extend the date and reissue the EoI was done to ensure that the Ordnance Factory Board gets the FICV programme. However, since the OFB has no expertise, it has to work with a consortium of private companies.
Sources claimed that a consortium formed by L&T would include other players who have responded to