Indian Army Issues RFI for 1,750 Request for Information

The Indian Army on 24 June issued the Request for Information (RFI) to finalise the specifications for acquiring 1,750 Futuristic Infantry Combat Vehicles (FICV) to destroy enemy tanks and carry troops.

FICVs are armoured vehicles are the main means of transport for the mechanised infantry. These vehicles can carry five to 10 soldiers to the battlefield, while also being capable of engaging targets on the ground using guns and anti-tank missiles. The Army wants to procure these vehicles in three versions—gun version, command version and command and surveillance version. The RFI says that the gun version of the FICV should be capable of housing a crew of three and carrying at least eight soldiers. The remaining two versions, the RFI states, should have a crew of three and should be able to carry four soldiers.

The Indian Army RFI specifies that the FICV should be equipped with at least a 30mm main gun and anti-tank missiles. The Indian Army has specified that the command and command and surveillance versions of the FICV be capable of carrying drones for surveillance and also suicide strike missions (known as loitering munitions).

In addition to loitering munitions, the RFI specifies the command and surveillance version of the FICV carry one mini UAV that is capable of vertical take-off and landing, like a helicopter. The RFI specifies the mini-UAV be capable of an endurance of at least 60 minutes and a range of 10km. The Indian Army has specified the UAV provide real-time colour, high-definition imagery and video back to the FICV to enable engagement by other weapon systems like Mortars, Loiter Munition, Artillery, Attack Helicopters among other things.

The Army wants to deploy the vehicles in places like Eastern Ladakh along with desert and amphibious terrain. The FICV project has been in plans for a long time and the need for a modern troops carrier equipped with tank-busting capabilities was felt during the recent Ladakh conflict.

After the China-India standoff at Ladakh, the Indian Army is also looking at the prospect of acquiring 350 light tanks in a phased manner, along with performance-based logistics, niche technologies, engineering support package, and other maintenance and training requirements.

The Indian Army intends to use the FICV to replace the 1980s-vintage BMP-2, which is a Soviet-designed infantry combat vehicle.

The Indian Army intends to deploy the FICV on the “plain and desert terrain as occurring along Western Borders of India and High Altitude (up to 5000 meters altitude)/Mountain terrain as occurring along Northern Borders (Eastern Ladakh/ Central Sector / North Sikkim) of India”.

“The advancement in technology also facilitates that the ‘Light Tank’ is having weapon systems and protection of adequate capacity and is equipped suitably to operate in current/future threat spectrum, to support combat operations as a weapon system,” the RFI issued on April 23 said.




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