Interview: India plans future infantry combat vehicle induction in 2027, says Gen. Naravane

Photo: India’s Chief of Army Staff General Manoj Mukund Naravane.

New Delhi: Indian Army is readying for the modernisation of its armoured and mechanised forces, with the induction of Future Ready Combat Vehicle (FRCV), Future Infantry Combat Vehicle (FICV) and Arjun MkII Main Battle Tank slated for the coming decade.

Especially, the FICV’s induction is scheduled for the 2027 fiscal, India’s Chief of Army Staff General Manoj Mukund Naravane said in an exclusive interview with Defence.Capital earlier this month.

The General said for inductin of the FICV, the army will soon issue a Request for Information (RFI), which stand prepared already, to the industry to develop and manufacture the vehicle for the Mechanised Forces.

With regard to the FICV, there have been interactions with the stakeholders on progressing the procurement case expeditiously, Gen. Naravane said. “We have considered various models for this process, such as issuing a fresh Request for Information for the project.

“Keeping with the pace of the phasing out of the existing platforms, the Indian Army is making efforts to achieve the FICV induction by 2026-27,” he said.

Regarding the FRCV, the Army chief said the Request for Information was uploaded on the Ministry of Defence website on Nov. 8, 2017 with the date of response submission as Jun. 30, 2018.

“The process for ratification of the Services Qualitative Requirements for the FRCV is currently under progress. The FRCV project is progressing as per laid down guideline of the Strategic Partnership model.”

Giving a thumbs up to the Arjun MBT project, the General said it had met the operational requirements as laid out by the Indian Army. “The DRDO (Defence Research and Development Organisation) has further upgraded the tank and the new Arjun Mk1A tanks being inducted into the Indian Army will come with these upgrades incorporated.”

Some of the upgrades include the Commander’s Panoramic Sight, Mine Ploughs for mobility, ERA panels and a Laser Warning and Counter Measure system.

An interesting development is that the user trials for the Armour Piercing Fin Stabilised Discarding Sabot MkII have been successfully concluded in Nov. 2019, enabling induction of this ammunition for the Arjun tanks soon.

Asked if he though tank battles are now part of folklore, the General disagreed. “The world over, tanks and infantry combat vehicles are being employed innovatively in conflict zones to achieve decisive victory,” he said.

“Notwithstanding our thrust on development of niche technologies, our emphasis on capability development with reference to the Mechanised Forces remains a focus.”

Gen. Naravane said undoubtedly, futuristic warfare is evolving with advancement in technology. “Cyber, Space and Information are emerging as new domains of modern warfare.

“In our context, we have disputed borders on both the western and northern front. To maintain punitive deterrence, especially against our western adversary, the Indian Army’s capability including Mechanised Forces must maintain an edge over them.”

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