Futuristic Infantry combat vehicle project gets delayed again; Indian Army to rework the project

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New Delhi | Published: October 4, 2018 11:12:19 PM

The Indian Army is reworking the $8-billion Futuristic Infantry Combat Vehicle (FICV) project.

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The Indian Army is reworking the $8-billion Futuristic Infantry Combat Vehicle (FICV) project. Highly placed sources told FE ONLINE that “The Ministry of Defence (MoD) has sent the proposal back to the Indian Army for the combat vehicle which is expected to be produced under the `Make II’ category.”

“The MoD was keen to move the project under Make II category. However, the decision to put the project has yet to be taken, that is why it has been sent back to the Indian Army to study the possibility to shift it under Make II category,” a senior Indian Army officer said on condition of anonymity.

Interestingly, as has been reported earlier by FE first, for the Make II category, companies including Mahindra and Mahindra, Reliance Defence and Engineering (formerly Pipavav Defence) and Titagarh Wagons had sent in their plans to work on the FICV under Make II category.

It was under the approved strategic partnership model for the armoured vehicle segment that the FICV project was considered under the ‘Make’ category under DPP-2008.

Under the Make II category, there is no funding required from the MoD, whereas under the Make category the MoD has to provide 90% of funds up to prototype stage.

As per the Chapter III of DPP-2016, the ‘Make’ procedure for indigenous design, development and manufacture of defence equipment/ weapon systems was simplified in 2016. And a new sub-category — Make-II (industry funded) — was introduced. According to the procedure the major focus is on development of equipment/ system/platform or their upgrades or their subsystems/sub-assembly/assemblies/components.

Also, no government funding is mentioned for the development of the prototype; however, there is an assurance of orders after successful development and trials.

As has been reported earlier the FICV was earlier under the `Make’ category, and there were plans to have three Development Agencies (DA) – which according to rules –two had to be from private sector and one from the Ordnance Factory Board. And the MoD had to give minimum of Rs 500 crore to each of the DAs.

The thought behind moving the project to the “Make II’’ category, sources said was to ensure that there is no further delay.

Last year, the MoD had asked the Indian Army to seek detailed project report from all the contenders which had received the expression of interest (EoI). With an expected life span of 32 years, more than 2, 600 FICVs are expected to replace Indian Army’s old Russian-origin BMP-2 infantry combat vehicles.

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