South Korean Ready To Build FRCV armoured vehicle under Make in India
South Korea based Hyundai Rotem is ready to produce $ 5 billion Future Ready Combat Vehicle (FRCV) for the Mechanised Forces in compliance with `Make in India’ policy, if it is awarded the contract to build more than 2000 units.
An FRCV, not to be confused with Future Infantry Combat Vehicle (FICV) is an armoured platform that will be used primarily for the Main Battle Tank (MBT). The Indian Army as part of its modernisation plans is keen on replacing its old fleet of 2,414 Soviet-origin T-72 tanks. If all goes as per the schedule, the FRCVs are expected to enter service between 2025-27.
According to top company executives, “The Company is now waiting to have second round of meeting with the Directorate General Mechanised Forces (DGMF), which is expected to take place next month in New Delhi.”
The company has already responded to the RFI (Request for Information) issued by the DGMF in November 2017, which specified the Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) should offer technology transfer, the platform should have 40 percent indigenous content, and create ecosystems, life cycle costs and upgrade plans to build.
The South Korean Company attended its first meeting in New Delhi last August. The OEM has to tie up with a Strategic Partner to produce the units in India.
The RFI for the FRCV issued in 2017 is under the ‘Make’ category and the provisions of the Armoured Fighting Vehicle segment of ‘Strategic Partnership’ model route as per Chapter – VII as per the Defence Procurement Procedure—2016.
The vehicle is supposed to be medium weight (45-50 ton) and with a platform which can operate in various terrains including developed, desert terrain and in high altitude areas across the wide spectrum of conflict. “Keeping in mind the changing scenarios of the battlefield which will be technology driven, the FRCV platform must not only be fit for future wars but should have the capability to be used on other specialised fighting vehicles,” explained a senior officer.
Indian Army is keen on a FRCV which is similar to the Russian T-14 Armata, Ukrainian Oplot, French LeClerc and South Korean K2 Black Panther main battle tanks. Since the German Leopard and the American M1 Abrams are weighing heavy, they don’t fit the specifications laid down in the RFI for the FRCV.
Besides South Korean company, there are other global companies who responded to RFI include, UK based BAE Systems of the UK., General Dynamics of the US, Krauss-Maffei Wegmann of Germany, Nexter of France, Polski Holding Obronny of Poland, Rosoboronexport of Russia, and Ukrainexport of Ukraine.
Major Indian private companies ― including Mahindra Group, Bharat Forge, Punj Lloyd, Tata Power SED, Tata Motors, Reliance Defence and Engineering Limited, Titagarh Wagons, and Tractors India ― are keen on participating in the manufacturing of FRCVs in a joint venture with foreign OEMs.
The contest for the programme includes a design competition in which major defence companies involved in tank building will be participating through RFP and the best design will be chosen and given to an appointed developing agency for production of the prototypes.
The FRCVs will have multiple variants: The primary variant of tracked main battle tank; tracked light tank; wheeled version; bridge layer tank; trawl tank; mine ploughs; armoured recovery vehicle; self-propelled artillery gun/howitzer; air-defense gun/missile system; artillery observation post vehicle; engineer reconnaissance vehicle; and armoured ambulance role.