TATA ready for the FICV proposal to Indian Army
FICV is one of the flagship project of TATA, who works with major Indian private sector companies like MKU and Bharath forge. FICV is intended to developed to replace the older soviet era BMP 2 infantry vehicle from Indian Army service. The replacement programs start effective by 2025, as scheduled. TATA chooses General Dynamics as their partner to design and develop the FICV in India.
General Dynamics already teamed with British military for the Scout vehicle program under the name of Ajax, Whose displacement about 38 tons. Indian Army looks for a modern infantry fighting vehicle whose tonnage could be lesser than 20 tons, for air transport, amphibious capability and cross country mobilization.
The flagship project valued of some $10 billions, for research and development, prototype test and also for 2400 vehicles, which include ambulance variant, mobile command variant, equipment recovery variant, and the main troop carrier variant, each of the FICV costs around $4 million, which include additional support system, maintenance equipment and weapon systems.
The FICV comes with a remotely operated 30 mm cannon, sometimes Nexter 40 mm cannon too be used for larger fire power, along with a anti personnel 7.62mm HMG, and twin anti tank missile launchers. The FICV is manned by three member crew, a driver, commander and weapon systems officer, FICV can carry seven fully armed soldiers for rapid deployment inside the conflict zone.
Additional protection systems include, 360 degree view thermal imagery and vision systems, composite armour, which can able to withstand from large caliber bullets, and soft kill mechanism to spoof off the infrared guided missiles, smoke and other countermeasure systems.
It's believed the FICV will be powered by 800 horsepower powerful engine developed by TATA in one of it's factory in England, and the transmission system used in the engine is developed by US major Allison, who is world leader providing automatic transmission systems to gigantic power packs.
The FICV already running behind scheduled, as first announced in 2008, the replacement starts effective by 2017. however so far no real progress can be made regarding this process. Due to the delay in the program, Ministry plans to upgrade the existing OFB produced BMP 2K into BMP 2M for the cost of some $2 billions. which allows the BMP to serve upto 2035 or upto the replacement with FICV. OFB front running to seal the tender, however the $2 billion tender yet to be finalized,
The dilemma about the BMP 2K upgrade program can be found here, first the Ministry awards the OFB to upgrade the BMP 2, after raising issues by private industry and Indian Army ministry cancels the same in early January, The new tender also available which is yet to be finalized.
As of now, TATA led teams so active and almost close to submit their proposal and start the R&D and look for pre manufacture variants. other companies like OFB and Mahindra also planning to enter the FICV program, however there is no concrete reports found about their interest in the FICV program.
It's better Ministry can cancel the $2 billion worth of BMP 2 upgrade program and can transfer the same into FICV R&D to fast track the FICV development to meet the scheduled timeline of 2025. The decision upto the defense ministry only.