India Future Ready Combat Vehicle program

Windchime

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FRCV program is slowly moving forward as it acquired AIP status last April alongaide the development of 1200-1500 hp powerpack, often dubbed the "Bharat powerpack". Although it seems a bit unnoticed, it has quite an ambitious project timeline of rolling out the prototype by 2027 and inducting the operational model by 2030. Though there are some conflicting reports regarding the program so I'd like to have a chance to lay thing in order.

If we are to go by what has been reported by above sources and other sources before it that have covered this program, it seems like what was a program for licensed production of foreign make model transformed into a development program of indigenous Indian design with the help of foreign OEM.

First preliminary program RFI was issued in 2015, which was followed by a more concrete program RFI from 2017 which outlined more details, such as that 1770 tanks were planned for procurement and 11 future common vehicle variants including the original MBT were going to be procured. To my knowledge, th program was still a Make in India program of foreign model at this point.

Fast forward 2021, a new revised RFI was issued replacing the 2017 RFI. I'm not sute if this was the point where the program became the "indigenously designed, devleoped, manufactured" program as described by The Print, though it is clear that they were looking for a primary foreign contractor to partner up with an Indian manufacturer that would build and supply the FRCV MBT. RFI was sent to 12 OEMs reportedly.

Regardless of when the IDDM requirement was added, currently it seems like they are aiming to develop their own design, or at least a largely modified design based on foreign original model with the help of foreign partner. Requirements for minimum amount of indigenous components also have constantly risen, though as it stands, PSQR is still to be finalized and Indian industrial capabilities are under review to ensure they have sound idea about what can be done in India by Indian suppliers and what cannot. So that should mean that a concrete figure for indiginization would only be laid out once these reviews are finished.

What's interesting is the existence of Arjun Mk.2, which also seems to be dubbed FMBT. To my knowledge, it seems like DRDO is one of the proponents who are trying to win the FRCV requirements with a new tank based on Arjun's design and technology. So it isn't for certain that FMBT will be chosen as FRCV despite the requirements for IDDM.

We'll get to know how exactly this prpgram is going to proceed, though the outline project schedule strongly suggests that what the Indian Army wants is an "Indianized" version of a pre-existing design, be it of foreign origin or from DRDO.
 

Afif

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@Gessler what do you think? Arjun mk2 will turn out as FRCV?
 

Windchime

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No, FRCV at least as per current plans is intended to be a lighter vehicle.
From what I've read recently, I've seen claims that both of the DRDO next generation tank designs, namely Arjun Mk.2/FMBT as well as NGMBT are below 55ton threshold and would therefore meet FRCV requirements. I would like some confirmatioms on that part though.

@Gessler what do you think? Arjun mk2 will turn out as FRCV?
Even if it's not necessarily Arjun Mk.2, DRDO (and by that Indian domestic design) at least has a foot in the program as a candidate.

Though I find it again baffling that they were still opting for imported designs like T-90S and FRCV even after 2013 instead of domestic designs.
 

Windchime

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So I've revisited the armoured vehicle archive and read the 2021 RFI posted by Nilgiri back then.

It seems like the initial 2021 RFI was still more or less "Make in India" program of foreign original model. I suspect that the IDDM requirements were only added once after the 2021 RFI was issued, any time between 2021 and April of this year when API was granted.

I'd say that the addition of IDDM requirements is the right choice, and also as someone interested in military matters, I personally prefer to see new military designs, rather than license produced Leopards/Leclercs/Black Panthers in India. Their requirements and operational environments are also quite unique in that sense as well.
 

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