Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, June 14
The Army is planning to replace its existing fleet of Soviet-origin main battle tanks, which have been in service since the mid-80s, with a family of modular armoured-fighting vehicles that would be developed in collaboration with the industry.
“The Indian Army is planning to design and develop a new generation, state-of-the-art combat vehicle platform for populating its armoured fighting vehicle fleet in the coming decade. This vehicle, which will be called the future ready combat vehicle (FRCV), will form the base platform for the main battle tank which is planned to replace the existing T-72 tanks in the Armoured Corps,” a request for information (RFI) of the Army stated.
The army envisions to begin inducting the new platforms by 2025-27. It is also planned to subsequently develop other need-based variants like bridge-layers, anti-mine trawlers, command posts, armoured ambulances, engineer vehicles, self-propelled gun platforms and recovery vehicles on this platform.
The Army looking towards developing a new family of armoured vehicles also indicates that the main battle tank, Arjun, developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) does not meet its future requirements, even though orders have been placed to equip some regiments it. The Army and the DRDO have been at loggerheads about the performance and capability of the Arjun.
At present the T-72 and the T-90, both procured from Russia and assembled in India, are the mainstay of the Indian Armoured Corps. The T-72 has undergone several upgrades to enhance their capability. The T-90 began entering service in the last decades.
The RFI also states that a ‘future’ combat platform design must cater to ‘future’ battlefield environment and technological possibilities. To address the future scenario and the envisaged force profile, the FRCV, which would be in the “medium tank” category, needs to be developed on a modular concept with a high degree of flexibility in a manner that, as a tank platform, it can address the varying requirements of different terrain and weather configurations. At the same time it can provide the base on which a ‘family of vehicles’, catering to the operational needs of various arms of the Army.
The new tank’s firepower should be well matched to contemporary tanks in engagement ranges, all weather day/night fighting capability, depth of penetration and variety of ammunition. It should have very high all-round protection.
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