Indian Army will not drop its modular design concept for the next generation main battle tanks, notwithstanding the criticism from the industry.
The modular design, claims the Army, would allow subsequent development of 10 different variants of the tanks including light weight tanks, armoured recovery vehicles and trawls among others.
The Directorate-General of Mechanised Forces recently issued a request for information to the tank designers from all over the world to participate in designing the future ready combat vehicle that seeks to replace the ageing T-72 fleet.
Though the concept received criticism within the industry, the army defended the proposal. “The FRCV will be a combat vehicle platform which will form the base for developing a family of vehicles,” said a statement issued by the Army.
The RFI does not give out the detailed parameters of the FRCV. These will be given to the agencies shortlisted for the design competition. The brief description of the FRCV, given out as part of the RFI, is only to give a very rough idea of what the product is likely to be, it adds.
Indian Army began inducting the Russian origin T-72 tanks in the late 1970s. Since most of these tanks don’t have night vision and is based on outdated technology, a search is on for advanced main battle tanks as DRDO’s Arjun is not up to the mark.
The Indian Army currently relies on the modern T-90 tanks that came from Russia in the 1990s. The FRCV for a design competition to identify innovative design options, which will form the base for a combat vehicle platform. It is planned to subsequently develop other need-based variants on this platform, if found suitable.
“These platforms are to meet the futuristic requirements of the services beyond 2027 and are not in conflict with the current MBT Arjun Programme and its future orders,” Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar said in the Parliament.
Two armoured regiments of MBT Arjun Mk-I have been raised and operationalised. Out of total indented quantity of 124 Arjun Mk-I tanks, as many as 122 indigenous tanks have been produced and inducted into Army. However, these tanks are used mostly in the desert regions as the terrain in Punjab and Jammu are not suitable for using the Arjuns in an operational role.
The defence ministry has also agreed to procure 118 Arjun Mk-II, when it is finally ready.
DH News Service