Infantry Combat Vehicles of Indian Army

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Tarun

Futuristic Infantry Combat Vehicle (FICV)

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The backbone of the Indian Army’s infantry combat vehicles is the Russian-designed BMP (‘Sarath’ BMP-II) series which are being made by Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) since its induction in 1980. Approximately, 1900 ICVs BMP-2/2K are in service with the Indian Army and are likely to remain operational till 2017. The Indian Army was worried about its operational capability, particularly in terms of rapid deployment post the 2017 scenario. Thus, the FICV project was a strategic and critical programme which would define Indian Army’s mobility, deployability and lethality in the future to come and its ability to execute its proactive strategy.
The FICV project was approved in 2008, but had seen little progress since then. By mid-2013 the Futuristic Infantry Combat Vehicle Request for Proposal (RFP) had been withdrawn and refomulated. Armored vehicle manufacturers were out in force at DefExpo 2016, lured by the massive Future Infantry Combat Vehicle (FICV) program for the Indian Army. Under FICV some 2,610 vehicles would replace in-service BMP-2/2K Sarath IFVs beginning in 2022.
Expressions of interest in the resurrected Rs. 65,000 Crore ‘Make in India’ project were lodged by six contenders in mid-February: TATA Motors, Larsen & Toubro (L&T), Mahindra Defence, TATA Power SED (with Titagarh Wagons), Reliance Defence and the Ordnance Factory Board (OFB; joint venture with Russian MBT Manufacturer - Uralvagonzavod). The government would provide 80% of development costs for two vendors for the 20 tonne tracked and amphibious IFV. Two development agencies will be shortlisted, and the shortlisted vendors will build one prototype each within 24-36 months.
The FICV project initially envisaged 70:30 allocations to the winner and the runners up of the contract with an 80:20 funding distribution by the Government and industry respectively. The Army identified a need of nearly 2600 ICVs over 20 years with the following specifications:
  • a)Weight of around 20 tonnes so that it can be transported by air and other means
  • b)Strike power of a 45 tonne Main Battle Tank (MBT) including a rapid fire cannon, a 7.62 mm machine gun, grenade launcher and an anti-tank missile
  • c)To be operated by a three man crew consisting of the commander, gunner and driver with an additional capacity to carry seven fully equipped infantrymen
  • d)Fully amphibious and all terrain capability for high mobility to keep pace with armour
  • e)Buy and Make (Indian) category, open only to domestic firms
The Ministry of Defence (MoD), which had called for the request of proposal (RFP) for the Rs 1,00,000-crore futuristic infantry combat vehicle (FICV) project in eary 2011, planned to shortlist two of the contending firms by July 2011. About 10 private firms, including the Tata's, Larsen and Toubro (L&T) and the Mahindra & Mahindra-BAE Systems joint venture Defence Land Systems India (DLSI) were among the firms waiting to be shortlisted for a project that would see the Army procure at least 2,500 such vehicles. The project would set a new precedence in the Indian defence procurement system. It not only encouraged pure private participation for what defence sources term a "sensitive" project but it also did away with the system of granting the deal on the basis of the lowest bid, a strong feature in Indian projects.
The MoD completed the field and facility visits of companies it had shortlisted in February 2011. Sources claimed it had asked for assurance of overseas transfer of technology (ToT). Also, the Centre was particular that the execution of the project lie in the hands of a domestic firm, although the need for foreign collaboration is almost a 'mandate'. The Centre was keen on firms with foreign collaborations/tie-ups and that they would have an edge over the others as the project would require high precision. US defence major General Dynamics was said to be in the fray looking for possible tie-ups with Indian firms to bag the deal. The US firms competing for the other major defence contracts in India - the $10 billion medium multi-role combat aircraft (MMRCA) for the Indian Air Force lost to their European competition.
Mahindra Defence Systems in partnership with BAE Systems, Larsen Toubro & company also works on foreign partnerships. Company Tata Motors is also trying to find a foreign partner after deal with Rheinmetall has reached a deadlock due to the Indian blacklist its Swiss subsidiary. State-owned Ordnance Factory Board is also participating in the project.
The nearly $10 billion Indian Army’s Futuristic Infantry Combat Vehicle (FICV) project was slated to be the largest indigenous defense program. The FICV project was classified under the "Buy & Make” category mentioned in Defence Procurement Procedure (DPP-2011). The vendors for the Indian Army’s FICV project were shortlisted on the basis of technical, functional and commercial aspects, and only local Indian firms could bid. However, local firms could opt for technology tie-ups with foreign companies. It would help develop a whole eco-system of small and medium sized companies as suppliers to the winners of the contract. The FICV development would provide a big boost to India’s pursuance of self-reliance and indigenisation in the form of a robust domestic defence industrial base.
At the 6th International Land and Naval Systems Exhibition, also called DEFEXPO India 2012, held at Pragati Maidan in New Delhi from March 29 to April 1, Tata Motors displayed the scaled models of its concept futuristic infantry combat vehicle (FICV), including the turret. In addition, the proposed layout of the production facility was also displayed. Tata Motors is one of the four Indian companies which has been issued the Expression of Interest (EoI) by the Indian Army for the FICV, a ‘Make Indian’ project. The company has accordingly responded to the EoI based on indigenous design and development in association with key technology partners, and submitted its response in October 2010.
Two short-listed companies were to make an FICV prototype, and after field trials of the prototype, the winning company would produce up to 2,600 FICVs. After nearly two years of discussions, no final decision was made about which companies would participate. The Defense Ministry had selected state-owned Bharat Earth Movers and a consortium of Larsen & Toubro, Mahindra Defense and Tata Power, but former Indian Army chief general, V.K. Singh, questioned the ability of the Indian companies to take on such a big project.
In December 2012 Russia offered to transfer BMP-3 combat vehicle technology to India if India cancelled its project, as India's its homemade Futuristic Infantry Combat Vehicle (FICV) can be commissioned no earlier than in ten years’ time. Russia offers India to buy BMP-3 infantry fighting vehicles instead of further implementation of its stalled project for the development of such a vehicle. The Indian Defence Ministry wanted to produce the BMP-3 under the license since this has a great sense because India would be able to start producing a similar vehicle no earlier than ten years. Russia offers India to buy BMP-3 infantry fighting vehicles instead of further implementation of its stalled project for the development of such a vehicle. The Indian Defence Ministry wanted to produce the BMP-3 under the license since this has a great sense because India will be able to start producing a similar vehicle no earlier than ten years.
By June 2013 it appeared that the $10 billion Futuristic Infantry Combat Vehicle (FICV) had been shelved, with the Indian Ministry of Defense instead accelerating the upgrade of its Russian-made BMP-2 infantry combat vehicles, and issuing tenders to buy 2,000 engines for the program. The Indian Army’s more than 1,500 BMP-2s would be upgraded at a cost of more than $1.2 billion over three to five years, under a program that received formal MoD clearance in May 2013. Though this move did not necessarily shut down the homegrown FICV project, it was less likely to come to fruition. The upgrade would improve observation and surveillance, night-fighting capability and fire control, and would provide an improved anti-tank guided missile system and 30mm automatic grenade launcher.
The tender for the purchase of 2,000 engines to power the upgraded BMP-2 was sent to domestic auto majors Mahindra & Mahindra, Tata Motors, Force Motors, Ashok Leyland, Maruti Udyog and Crompton Greaves, and to MTU of Germany, Thales of France and Rosoboronexport of Russia. The Army required engines able to generate 350 to 380 horsepower and are easy to maintain and operate in extreme weather conditions. The existing engine of the BMP-2 had 285 horsepower and is not suited for cross-country mobility. This tender purchase 2,000 engines for the upgrade was cancelled because none of the domestic vendors fulfilled the engine’s requirements. Now a global tender is likely to be issued for the engines.
India will not shelve its homegrown $10 billion Futuristic Infantry Combat Vehicle (FICV) program in favor of advanced Russian BMP-3 combat vehicles. The decision was conveyed to the Russian side at the 18 November 2013 meeting of the India-Russia Inter-Governmental Commission on Military Technical Cooperation held in Moscow.
India’s Mahindra Defence Systems tied up with BAE Systems, Larsen & Toubro was working on overseas tie ups, and Tata Motors was also working to connect with overseas companies after its tie up with Rheinmetall stalled following the blacklisting of the German company. State-owned Ordnance Factories Board was also in the race. The MoD will shortlist two competitors to develop their prototypes, which will be put to trial.
India cleared a bulk of defense projects worth $13 billion in a bid to boost the country's national defense preparedness, the Indian Defense Acquisition Council (DAC) said 25 October 2014. The DAC decided to buy 362 infantry fighting vehicles at a cost of 662 crore rupees.

A consortium of three defense companies, "Tata Motors", "Bharat Forge" and "General Dynamics Land Systems" will develop and manufacture an infantry fighting vehicle of the future. The customer is the defense department of India. The cost of the project is estimated at $ 10 billion. This was reported in March 2016. Development and production will take place on the territory of the Indian state. At the same time, the share of foreign developments will not exceed 30%. It is assumed that the final product will be compact, light and transportable through the air. The car will be able to overcome water obstacles and carry up to 8 people in the landing. As weapons it is planned to use long-range anti-tank missiles. The new BMP will be designed to replace more than 2,000 infantry combat vehicles of Soviet and Russian production that are in service with this country.

Futuristic Infantry Combat Vehicle (FICV)


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After 5-year delay, tender issued in Rs 50,000-cr Future Infantry Combat Vehicle project
Defence ministry hands an expression of interest to representatives of 10 Indian companies
Ajai Shukla | New Delhi Last Updated at July 16, 2015 23:40 I

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After five years of delay, the army's proposal to build a "Future Infantry Combat Vehicle" (FICV), an armoured vehicle for carrying infantrymen into battle, has been resuscitated on Thursday.

The ministry of defence summoned representatives from 10 Indian companies and handed each an expression of interest (EoI), which asks for proposals for building a FICV that will eventually replace the army's 2,600 BMP-2 infantry carriers for an estimated Rs 50,000 crore. The EoIs were issued to Mahindra; Bharat Forge; Larsen & Toubro; Punj Lloyd; Tata Power; Tata Motors; Pipavav Defence; Rolta India; Titagarh Wagons, and the Ordnance Factory Board(OFB). They have been given 90 days to respond to the EoI with detailed proposals. This will 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.

Two vendors will be shortlisted, and they will then evolve and submit a detailed project report (DPR), comprising of a detailed technical and financial proposal. The better design will be chosen by an "integrated project management team" (IPMT), comprising of experts from various defence ministrydepartments.

This is the second time the FICV project has been launched under the "Make" category of the Defence Procurement Procedure of 2008 (DPP-2008). An EoI issued in 2010 to four vendors (L&T, Tata, Mahindra, OFB) evoked responses, but was cancelled in 2012 because the defence ministrycould not decide on the parameters for short-listing the two winning vendors.

With the ministry taking three years to re-issue the EoI, the FICV project has lost five years already.

The "Make" category involves going to Indian industry to develop "high technology, complex systems". Under this, the defence ministrywill funds 80 per cent of the cost of developing the two FICV prototypes, with short-listed vendors paying the remaining 20 per cent.

There is apprehension that issuing the EoI to so many prospective vendors has muddied the waters, making it difficult for the IPMT to down-select two winning proposals. "In 2012, the defence ministrywas unable to select two winning proposals out of four. It will have an even more difficult time selecting the winners from 10. They should have been more discriminating in issuing the EoI," says an executive from one of the companies involved.

There is surprise also that the EoI has been issued under the DPP-2008, even though DPP-2013 currently operates and DPP-2015 is being finalised. "The army obtained the ministry's acceptance under DPP-2008, so they are sticking with that, even though there are much more enlightened rules operating now. This needs to change," says a prospective vendor.

The FICV has been conceived as a multi-role platform that must perform three roles. It must be a battle-taxi for the infantry to keep pace with armour (tanks) in advance. Second, the guns on board provide fire-support to assaulting infantry after they dismount and charge at the enemy. Third, and most ambitiously, the FICV should hold its own on the mechanised battlefield, even against heavily armed tanks.

The FICV is required to have amphibious capability, allowing it to cross canals, rivers and stretches of sea; it must be air portable, i.e. capable of being transported in an aircraft's cargo hold, or slung under a helicopter with chains. It must fire anti-tank missiles, and be armed with a cannon and machine guns that are operated through state of the art sensors and all weather surveillance devices.

After 5-year delay, tender issued in Rs 50,000-cr Future Infantry Combat Vehicle project

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Sitharaman gives Army's delayed future combat vehicle project a push
The MoD is considering pushing the deal through under the Strategic Partnership Policy
BS Web Team | New Delhi Last Updated at September 22, 2017 16:44 IST
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The $12-billion project to procure 2,300 Futuristic Infantry Combat Vehicles(FICV) for the Indian Army, which has been held up for over a decade, has received a fresh push from Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, who took charge of the ministry less than a month ago, reported the Hindu Business Line.
According to the report, apart from the state-owned Ordnance Factory Board (OFB), which has been nominated for the project, Larsen & Toubro (L&T), Tata Motors, Reliance, Mahindra, and Tata Power SED-Titagarh Wagons are also in the race. All these firms had responded to the expression of interest (EoI) in 2015.

The financial daily reported that Sitharaman has sought details of the project and that an informal meeting was held on Tuesday. Further, citing sources, the report said that the matter would come up before the Defence Procurement Board on September 26. The minister, according to the report, may also bring up the project when she meets US Secretary of Defence James Mattis, who will come to India on a two-day visit later in September. On the other hand, Russia, the report added, is also keen on clinching the deal through the OFB.

With some critical technologies related to the project slated to be sourced from foreign firms and global defence majors like General Dynamics, Lockheed Martin, BAE Systems, and Rheinmetall eyeing the deal, the defence ministry, according to an anonymous official cited by the report, is considering pushing the deal through under the Strategic Partnership Policy (SPP). According to the official, the SPP route is viewed as "an easier and cleaner way" by many within the defence industry.

The SPP aims at creating capable defence manufacturers in the private sector, to compete with the DPSUs and Ordnance Factories that have historically dominated defence manufacture in India. The policy requires private firms chosen as strategic partners to enter technology partnerships with nominated global original equipment manufacturers and jointly bid for contracts to build aircraft, helicopters, submarines, and armoured vehicles for the military.

Back in January 2016, the defence ministry had announced that while the private sector companies would compete to develop the FICV, the OFBwould be nominated without competing as a third development agency.

The ministry's EoI, which invited ten companies on July 16, 2015, to submit proposals to develop the FICVunder the "Make" procedure, specified that two development agencies would be chosen. However, even as that competitive selection was underway, the OFBwas given a free pass.

A welcome signal?
This development may come as a welcome signal for domestic private defence players, especially those aiming to build and sell land defence systems.
As reported in January this year, the ministry of defence was back then planning to kill competitive tendering for a Rs 5,000 crore project to upgrade the Army’s 1,500 BMP-2 infantry combat vehicles, in a move that defence expert Ajai Shukla had described as "a negative signal that will resonate discouragingly through India’s private defence industry". Instead, the project was slated to be gifted to the OFBwithout competition.

Capable private firms like L&T, Tata Motors, the Mahindras, Reliance Defence, and Alpha Design Technology Ltd, which were entrusted with designing, developing, and manufacturing an FICVfor the Army under a "Make in India" contract, were eliminated, without explanation, from the relatively simple task of upgrading the BMP-2 to grant it a lease of life until the FICVenters service.

Back then, private defence firms had decided to fight to remain in the fray. Industry chamber Ficcihad written to the MoD requesting permission for industry to present its case at a crucial meeting of the Services Capital Acquisition Plan Categorization Higher Committee, which would rule on who would upgrade the BMP-2.
However, in July this year, defence publication Janes reported that the MoD had approved a Rs 2,400 crore upgrade project for 693 of the Army's BMP-2/2K Sarath infantry combat vehicles.

According to the report, the Defence Acquisition Council, headed by then defence minister Arun Jaitley, awarded the contract to Bharat Electronics Limitedand the OFB, in a move that industry sources said contravened the MoD's own defence procurement policies that mandate competitive bidding for the acquisition process.

Sitharaman gives Army's delayed future combat vehicle project a push
 
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Parthu

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The Kestrel WhAP is not actually a competitor for the FICV requirement. This is developed by Tata for a separate requirement (with also an aim for international sales). The FICV specifically calls for tracked vehicles - not wheeled.

For the tracked variant, Tata has teamed with General Dynamics & Bharat Forge.

TATA%2BMotors-General%2BDynamics%2BLand%2BSystems%2BProposal%2Bfor%2BTracked%2BFICV.jpg
 

Himanshu

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No dedicated thread for BMP so i'm gonna post it here

Indian Army planning to buy 150 armoured combat vehicles
"A proposal to acquire 150 infantry combat vehicles expected to be worth over Rs 2,200 crore is going to be placed before a high-level meeting of the defence ministry headed by Nirmala Sitharaman next week for approval," government sources told Mail Today.

While earlier:
MoD handing Rs 5,000 cr BMP-2 upgrade to Ordnance Factory Board
India’s Ashok Leyland, Russia Tie Up For $Billion BMP-2 Upgrade Project
 
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Ashwin

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Indian Army: Army's combat vehicle project gets green signal

NEW DELHI: The Future Infantry Combat Vehicle (FICV) project worth about Rs 60,000 crore which began nearly a decade ago could finally progress this month. A panel of independent expert monitors (IEMs), appointed by the defence ministry , has found that the evaluation process for selecting firms to produce prototypes of the FICV is correct and the project should move forward.

The panel also said that a complaint filed by Mahindra is unfounded and was lodged to stall the procurement procedure, a top ministry source said. A MoD department dealing with the project had questioned the evaluation process at a late stage delaying the project. In addition, the complain from Mahindra, one of the contenders, added to this delay.

Experts say that it is ultimately the Army which has been adversely affected with the delays. It desperately wants to replace its Soviet-era BMP-2 infantry combat vehicle fleet. So, the FICV program has to progress because it will not just be a lethal platform, but also be the base for other defence R&D programs and a test of the Make-in-India initiative.

Explaining what led to the delays, sources said that the second expression of interest (EoI) in the project was issued to 10 vendors on July 16, 2015. An EoI seeks a firm’s proposal, capital expenditure and other details. The MoD had approved that government DPSU, Ordnance Factory Board (OFB), with two private firms would make the prototype. On February 15, 2016, the MOD received responses to the EoI from L&T, Mahindra, Reliance Defence,

Consortium of Tata Motors and Bharat Forge, OFB and Consortium of Tata Power SED and Titagarh Wagons Limited.



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A MoD Integrated Project Management Team (IPMT) evaluated the responses on a few criteria such as commercial viability and technical capabilities of the firm. The IPMT submitted its report containing the shortlisted firms to the acquisition wing for approval in November 2016.
“The Department of Defence Production (DDP) mulled recommendations it received to either start the project afresh or select the five private industries to submit the detailed project report (DPR),” explained sources.

However, the 2008 version of the defence procurement procedure, according to which the procurement is being done, states that the Defence Procurement Board (DPB) would select the two best development agencies (DAs) out of the shortlisted companies for the design and development of the prototype.

Only then will these two agencies prepare the DPR and go on to make the prototype. Following this delay, the MoD’s higher authorities overruled the recommendations and instructed the DPB to approve the DAs. Two DPB meetings were held on September 19 and November 24 last year, but the decision on approval of the DAs is still awaited, explained sources.

Meanwhile, Mahindra had lodged a complaint, questioning the empanelment of three other vendors by the DDP for issuing the second EoI, said sources. ET had sent a questionnaire to Mahindra on its complaint, but it didn’t elicit a response. It had also sent a similar questionnaire on the matter and the project’s status to the MoD, but didn’t receive an official response. Sources, however, said that in November 2017, the complaint was referred to the panel of IEMs.

A senior MOD official on condition of anonymity said, “the complaint received by Mahindra has been examined by an external monitoring agency and found to be lodged with the intention of stalling the process. The complaint has been closed. The FICV program is on track.”

Sources added that the panel had submitted its report earlier this month, which also indicates that the evaluation process for selecting DAs is correct. “A decision for selecting DAs is likely to be taken this month,” said the official. The project had also faced delays prior to the development of the two main issues. The first EoI for procuring, the 2610 FICVs, was issued on May 25, 2010.

“It was retracted on December 4, 2012 due to perceived inconsistencies in the evaluation of the EoI responses,” said sources. It took close to three more years for issuing the second EoI in 2015, following prolonged discussions between the MoD’s concerned departments over the EoI evaluation method. Sources added that the FICV production was to start in 2017.
 

Ashwin

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Future shock: Futuristic Infantry Combat Vehicle still seems a distant dream

For more than a decade now, the project to build an armoured vehicle for Indian soldiers has pinballed through South Block's bureaucratic maze like a driverless car. Since 2009, the Rs 60,000 crore Futuristic Infantry Combat Vehicle (FICV) project has been launched twice, each time with great promise, but sputtered and stalled even before the steel to build the first prototype had been cut.
The ICVs are tracked armoured vehicles which carry mechanised infantry into the battle. They are not only armour-protected but also equipped with a cannon, anti-tank missiles and a heavy machine gun to support the dismounted infantry.
The FICV project, however, hasn't crossed its first battlefield yet: the bureaucracy. The project was started in 2009, scrapped in 2012, resurrected in 2015, and, as of March 2018, awaits a nod from the MoD's Defence Production Board (DPB). The DPB is yet to decide development agencies (DAs) or select two from the five private sector firms that have submitted bids and are eligible to build two separate FICV prototypes in collaboration with the state-owned Ordnance Factory Board (OFB).
The MoD invited 10 firms, six companies responded to the ministry's expression of interest (EoI) in 2015: L and T, Mahindra and Mahindra, Pipavav Defence, OFB and consortiums of Tata Power SED-Titagarh Wagons and Tata Motors Ltd, and Bharat Forge Ltd. Last November, the MoD shortlisted five firms. Three meetings of the DPB have taken place since then-in September, November and March this year-but the two firms are yet to be finalised. The project remains where it was: yet to start.
There are at least three major steps to be taken before the FICV order can be placed-identifying the private sector development agencies, preparing a detailed project report and, finally, choosing the winning prototype from three competitors - two private sector and one OFB - and placing an order. This process can last for seven years. The earlier FICV acquisition, which started in 2009, was to start production by 2017. The present three-year delay means an FICV order can now be placed only around 2024.
What seems to have spooked the system into a stall this time around, top defence officials say, is a complaint from one of the five shortlisted private firms. Last year, Mahindra Defence Systems complained to the MoD, asking for the disqualification of three competitors on grounds of financial inconsistencies. The case was referred to a panel of Independent Expert Monitors (IEMs) in November 2017, who, apparently, found no merit in the complaint. The project, however, hasn't moved ahead.
Private sector firms in the race are distraught. They describe the delay as an example of the ministry paying only lip service to private participation in the defence industry. "You load DPSUs with current orders and show the private sector a futuristic order which takes decades to materialise," they say.
The army, meanwhile, says ICVs are critical to its strategy to fight against Pakistan and China. The armoured vehicles are to form part of armoured thrusts across the deserts and plains of the western front and into Pakistan, on the Himalayan frontiers and the Tibetan plateau against China. The army has 49 mechanised infantry battalions, each with 51 BMP-2s. These Soviet-designed ICVs began to be acquired in 1980, 38 years ago, and produced under licence at the Ordnance Factory Medak. This year, the army will start phasing out its first BMP-2s without any replacements in sight.
The existing BMP-2 fleet is not equipped to fight at night, a huge lacunae which the army red-flagged when it became evident that the FICV was years away. In 2017, the MoD awarded a Rs 2,400 crore contract to upgrade 693 BMP-2s with night fighting capabilities and new fire control systems. The upgraded BMP-2 prototypes have passed internal trials but the army is yet to receive the first vehicles.
The FICV is nowhere in sight, nor are the funds to develop it-crucial because the MoD was supposed to fund 90 per cent of the project costs with the private sector paying the balance. Only Rs 142.85 crore was allotted for 'Make Prototypes' in this year's defence budget, putting another question mark on indigenous projects.
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"In the army, we are looking forward to manufacturing the Future Ready Combat Vehicles (FRCVs), and FICVs through these schemes. However, with the kind of budget that has been allocated, this may get delayed by a few years. I am not sure what is going to be their future?" Vice Chief of Army Staff Lt General Sarath Chand was quoted in a report of the parliamentary standing committee on defence tabled in the Lok Sabha on March 13.
Bureaucratic delays are endemic to all three (high tech) 'Make' projects offered to private players over a decade ago. Incidentally, 'Make' projects go a step beyond even the government's Make in India flagship mission because here the MoD funds research and creates proprietary defence systems. The Rs 70,000 crore Battlefield Management System (BMS)-meant to seamlessly link all of the army's formations; armour, artillery and infantry-has been shelved because of lack of funds. The Rs 18,000 crore Tactical Communication Systems (TCS)-which will provide communication links for offensive formations when they are in enemy territory-has been pending a decision at the last stage, the Cabinet Committee on Security, since last year. And the FICV is yet to get to even the project development phase. The first attempt failed in 2012 because of what the army terms 'perceived inconsistencies in the evaluation of EoI responses between the IPMT and Acquisition Wing'. The MoD scrapped the process saying it would restart it in nine months. It was three years before the project was restarted in 2015. The current impasse will delay the project by another three years.
The FICV project was conceived over a decade ago as a silver bullet to attack a convergence of multiple concerns. The armed forces wanted to replace vast quantities of their Soviet-era military hardware, India Inc wanted a greater share of military hardware production in what was and still remains a DPSU monopoly, and the political establishment wanted to deflect embarrassing headlines of India becoming the world's largest arms importer. Nothing, it would seem, has changed over the years except the estimated project costs-from an estimated Rs 26,000 crore in 2009, to over Rs 60,000 crore today. It is one of the single largest defence contracts but not headed in any particular direction. On March 13, the Stockholm Institute of Peace Research International in its annual report said that India was the world's largest weapons importer, accounting for 12 per cent of all global arms transfers between 2007 and 2017.
The government's Make in India initiative for the defence industry has not taken off for a variety of reasons-the biggest of which is the inability to launch high-profile indigenous projects like the FICV, BMS and TCS.
The downstream effect of this project on Indian industry is enormous-one private sector manufacturer compares its potential to what Maruti did for the automotive industry in the 1980s-create an ecosystem which resulted in the Indian automobile boom. Based on the rough parameters indicated by the army, each FICV is to cost between Rs 20 and 30 crore. Close to 60 per cent of this value will be sourced from the local industry, project developers say. Even major imported components like the engine and transmission, which account for the 40 per cent import component, can eventually be produced within the country. So far, however, this paperbound FICV is a test case of the premise that in India, sometimes, the challenges to make arms indigenously are bureaucratic rather than financial or technological.
 

Himanshu

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Dec 3, 2017
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indopacfront.blogspot.com
Future shock: Futuristic Infantry Combat Vehicle still seems a distant dream

For more than a decade now, the project to build an armoured vehicle for Indian soldiers has pinballed through South Block's bureaucratic maze like a driverless car. Since 2009, the Rs 60,000 crore Futuristic Infantry Combat Vehicle (FICV) project has been launched twice, each time with great promise, but sputtered and stalled even before the steel to build the first prototype had been cut.
The ICVs are tracked armoured vehicles which carry mechanised infantry into the battle. They are not only armour-protected but also equipped with a cannon, anti-tank missiles and a heavy machine gun to support the dismounted infantry.
The FICV project, however, hasn't crossed its first battlefield yet: the bureaucracy. The project was started in 2009, scrapped in 2012, resurrected in 2015, and, as of March 2018, awaits a nod from the MoD's Defence Production Board (DPB). The DPB is yet to decide development agencies (DAs) or select two from the five private sector firms that have submitted bids and are eligible to build two separate FICV prototypes in collaboration with the state-owned Ordnance Factory Board (OFB).
The MoD invited 10 firms, six companies responded to the ministry's expression of interest (EoI) in 2015: L and T, Mahindra and Mahindra, Pipavav Defence, OFB and consortiums of Tata Power SED-Titagarh Wagons and Tata Motors Ltd, and Bharat Forge Ltd. Last November, the MoD shortlisted five firms. Three meetings of the DPB have taken place since then-in September, November and March this year-but the two firms are yet to be finalised. The project remains where it was: yet to start.
There are at least three major steps to be taken before the FICV order can be placed-identifying the private sector development agencies, preparing a detailed project report and, finally, choosing the winning prototype from three competitors - two private sector and one OFB - and placing an order. This process can last for seven years. The earlier FICV acquisition, which started in 2009, was to start production by 2017. The present three-year delay means an FICV order can now be placed only around 2024.
What seems to have spooked the system into a stall this time around, top defence officials say, is a complaint from one of the five shortlisted private firms. Last year, Mahindra Defence Systems complained to the MoD, asking for the disqualification of three competitors on grounds of financial inconsistencies. The case was referred to a panel of Independent Expert Monitors (IEMs) in November 2017, who, apparently, found no merit in the complaint. The project, however, hasn't moved ahead.
Private sector firms in the race are distraught. They describe the delay as an example of the ministry paying only lip service to private participation in the defence industry. "You load DPSUs with current orders and show the private sector a futuristic order which takes decades to materialise," they say.
The army, meanwhile, says ICVs are critical to its strategy to fight against Pakistan and China. The armoured vehicles are to form part of armoured thrusts across the deserts and plains of the western front and into Pakistan, on the Himalayan frontiers and the Tibetan plateau against China. The army has 49 mechanised infantry battalions, each with 51 BMP-2s. These Soviet-designed ICVs began to be acquired in 1980, 38 years ago, and produced under licence at the Ordnance Factory Medak. This year, the army will start phasing out its first BMP-2s without any replacements in sight.
The existing BMP-2 fleet is not equipped to fight at night, a huge lacunae which the army red-flagged when it became evident that the FICV was years away. In 2017, the MoD awarded a Rs 2,400 crore contract to upgrade 693 BMP-2s with night fighting capabilities and new fire control systems. The upgraded BMP-2 prototypes have passed internal trials but the army is yet to receive the first vehicles.
The FICV is nowhere in sight, nor are the funds to develop it-crucial because the MoD was supposed to fund 90 per cent of the project costs with the private sector paying the balance. Only Rs 142.85 crore was allotted for 'Make Prototypes' in this year's defence budget, putting another question mark on indigenous projects.
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"In the army, we are looking forward to manufacturing the Future Ready Combat Vehicles (FRCVs), and FICVs through these schemes. However, with the kind of budget that has been allocated, this may get delayed by a few years. I am not sure what is going to be their future?" Vice Chief of Army Staff Lt General Sarath Chand was quoted in a report of the parliamentary standing committee on defence tabled in the Lok Sabha on March 13.
Bureaucratic delays are endemic to all three (high tech) 'Make' projects offered to private players over a decade ago. Incidentally, 'Make' projects go a step beyond even the government's Make in India flagship mission because here the MoD funds research and creates proprietary defence systems. The Rs 70,000 crore Battlefield Management System (BMS)-meant to seamlessly link all of the army's formations; armour, artillery and infantry-has been shelved because of lack of funds. The Rs 18,000 crore Tactical Communication Systems (TCS)-which will provide communication links for offensive formations when they are in enemy territory-has been pending a decision at the last stage, the Cabinet Committee on Security, since last year. And the FICV is yet to get to even the project development phase. The first attempt failed in 2012 because of what the army terms 'perceived inconsistencies in the evaluation of EoI responses between the IPMT and Acquisition Wing'. The MoD scrapped the process saying it would restart it in nine months. It was three years before the project was restarted in 2015. The current impasse will delay the project by another three years.
The FICV project was conceived over a decade ago as a silver bullet to attack a convergence of multiple concerns. The armed forces wanted to replace vast quantities of their Soviet-era military hardware, India Inc wanted a greater share of military hardware production in what was and still remains a DPSU monopoly, and the political establishment wanted to deflect embarrassing headlines of India becoming the world's largest arms importer. Nothing, it would seem, has changed over the years except the estimated project costs-from an estimated Rs 26,000 crore in 2009, to over Rs 60,000 crore today. It is one of the single largest defence contracts but not headed in any particular direction. On March 13, the Stockholm Institute of Peace Research International in its annual report said that India was the world's largest weapons importer, accounting for 12 per cent of all global arms transfers between 2007 and 2017.
The government's Make in India initiative for the defence industry has not taken off for a variety of reasons-the biggest of which is the inability to launch high-profile indigenous projects like the FICV, BMS and TCS.
The downstream effect of this project on Indian industry is enormous-one private sector manufacturer compares its potential to what Maruti did for the automotive industry in the 1980s-create an ecosystem which resulted in the Indian automobile boom. Based on the rough parameters indicated by the army, each FICV is to cost between Rs 20 and 30 crore. Close to 60 per cent of this value will be sourced from the local industry, project developers say. Even major imported components like the engine and transmission, which account for the 40 per cent import component, can eventually be produced within the country. So far, however, this paperbound FICV is a test case of the premise that in India, sometimes, the challenges to make arms indigenously are bureaucratic rather than financial or technological.

OFB has gone ahead with the development of this ‘Complex High Technology’ item after Integrated Project Management Team/ MoD conveyed that OFB to start Design & Development of FICV. Preliminary design has been completed. Development of sub-systems will be completed within a year and 1st prototype for internal evaluation is scheduled to be manufactured by December, 2019.

http://164.100.47.193/lsscommittee/Defence/16_Defence_43.pdf
 
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Indian Army's Rs 60,000-crore FICV project stuck in procedural delays: Official sources

NEW DELHI: A 10-year-old plan to acquire 2,600 future infantry combat vehicles for the Indian Army at a cost of around Rs 60,000 crore is staring at an uncertain future as it is stuck due "divergent views" among the stakeholders on its implementation, official sources said.

They said another ambitious programme to indigenously manufacture a fleet of modern battle tanks, christened as future ready combat vehicle, is also not moving forward due to procedural delays.

The sources said a scheduled meeting among top brass of the defence ministry and the Army to discuss ways to take forward the future infantry combat vehicles (FICV) project last month was postponed due to certain differences over the programme.

The FICV was first envisaged in October 2009 and the initial process was started months later. However, the process of selection of private companies, which could indigenously manufacture the combat vehicles, was withdrawn in 2012 and a fresh start was made in 2014.

Infantry combat vehicles are used to carry infantry into battle field and are usually equipped with anti-tank missiles and heavy guns. The Army wants the FICVs to replace its Russian-origin BMP-2 infantry combat vehicles.

"The original plan is to induct the FICVs by 2025. The way things are moving, it is unlikely that we will be able to induct them before 2050," said a military official involved in the project.

The project is witnessing inordinate delays when China and Pakistan are fast enhancing their military prowess along the borders with India.

Military sources said while China has enhanced strength of armoured resources by seven to eight times in the Tibet Autonomous Region bordering India in the last couple of years, Pakistan was bolstering its forces by quick modernisation of its tank fleet.

It is learnt that there have been serious differences between the Army headquarters and the defence ministry on implementation of the FICV project.

The private sector defence firms which evinced interests in the ambitious FICV project included Mahindra and Mahindra, Reliance Defence, L and T, Tata Motors and Bharat ForgeNSE -0.53 % Ltd.

According to the original proposal, the FICV were to be manufactured under the 'Make (high tech) category' of the Defence Procurement Procedure (DPP).

Under this plan, the government was to select state-run Ordnance Factory Board and two other private firms for separately developing prototypes of the FICVs. A total of around Rs 3,000 crore was to be spent on developing the prototypes by each of the three firms, the sources said.

They said the plan was that the government would bear 80 per cent of the total cost of developing the prototypes and the individual firms would contribute the remaining 20 per cent.

The then Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar was also favouring the model, the sources said.

However, last year a major defence manufacturer offered to develop the prototypes under the Make II category of the DPP in which no government funding is required for developing the prototype, said the sources.

They said the offer has made certain sections in the defence ministry to examine the option as it will result in saving of huge amount of financial resources.

The sources said there has been another view in the military establishment that if the company was interested in making the prototype under Make II category, then why did it not make the offer earlier.

"At the moment, the project is going nowhere. The Army does not want it under Make II category as it will further delay the project," said another official involved in the project.

The delay in the decision making process has also been attributed to a complaint filed with the defence ministry by one of the short-listed private firms.

The sources said the Army wants the FICVs as soon as possible as both China and Pakistan were significantly enhancing their border infrastructure.

They said the Army was particularly concerned over China deploying light tanks along certain sensitive sectors along the nearly 4,000 km border.

Last year, the Army invited proposals from domestic and foreign firms for designing a future ready combat vehicle (FRCV), ostensibly to replace the existing T-72 tanks in the Armoured Corps.
 
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Bharath

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"At the moment, the project is going nowhere. The Army does not want it under Make II category as it will further delay the project," said another official involved in the project.
why would the Make II category delay the project? the funds are coming from private entities vs govt - apart from that, everything else should be same?

The delay in the decision making process has also been attributed to a complaint filed with the defence ministry by one of the short-listed private firms.
this needs to be fixed ASAP in our defence procurement process - they are stuck for decades because the losers find it was not given a fair treatment. and I fully agree with that as well - but we need to fix that process to not affect the armed forces requirements as well.
 

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this needs to be fixed ASAP in our defence procurement process - they are stuck for decades because the losers find it was not given a fair treatment. and I fully agree with that as well - but we need to fix that process to not affect the armed forces requirements as well.

Except Tata which is a partner of DRDO WhAP, no other company has much experience. The point of FICV was to create the ecosystem, so it will be unfair to choose the second company thats why it didn't progress cuz MoD wanted everyone to participate.

why would the Make II category delay the project? the funds are coming from private entities vs govt - apart from that, everything else should be same?

Earlier MoD was to fund 80% of the project and the prototype also. OFB with L&T, Tata, M&M etc were to build the prototype in teams but now MoD has rejected the funding. So companies don't have the funds to develop the prototype, so far only OFB is doing so. I guess no one wants to take the risk and army can't wait anymore.
 

Bharath

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So companies don't have the funds to develop the prototype, so far only OFB is doing so. I guess no one wants to take the risk and army can't wait anymore.

the quote below says exactly opposite:

However, last year a major defence manufacturer offered to develop the prototypes under the Make II category of the DPP in which no government funding is required for developing the prototype, said the sources.
 

Himanshu

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the quote below says exactly opposite:

OFB have both funds and capability to build the FICV alone, i was specific to pvt. players. Army don't trust OFB, now pvt players are trying to partner with foreign firms i guess. You should read the article below.

The fate of Future Infantry Combat Vehicle for Indian Army to be decided next week: Sources

“The main issue, where there is divergence of views, is that the MoD wants the Indian Army to pay for this project,” said a senior officer on condition of anonymity.

As has been reported by the Financial Express Online, three companies including Mahindra and Mahindra, Reliance Defence and Engineering and Titagarh Wagons have sent their proposals to the MoD. The potential Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM) includes US-based General Dynamic, Russian companies under the umbrella of Rosoboronexport, and German Rheinmetall – subject to approval – among others.
 
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Bharath

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OFB have both funds and capability to build the FICV alone, i was specific to pvt. players. Army don't trust OFB, now pvt players are trying to partner with foreign firms i guess. You should read the article below.
got it - I was assuming "a major defence manufacturer" to be a private player. this makes a lot of sense - thank you for explaining.