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Indian cos await multi-crore defence vehicle order amid delays

Discussion in 'Indian Defence Industry' started by layman, Apr 7, 2017.

  1. layman

    layman Aurignacian STAR MEMBER

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    Tata Motors, Bharat Forge, Mahindra & Mahindra, Larsen and Toubro and Reliance Defence are some of the companies that are eagerly waiting an announcement from the government on the Futuristic Infantry Combat Vehicle (FICV) project which has once again been delayed.

    According to sources, the government had committed to awarding the Rs 60,000 crore project to two companies before March 31, 2017 even as there were expectations of an announcement as early as December 2016 itself.

    However, with changes in the Ministry of Defence with the untimely exit of Manohar Parrikar, delays have once again marred the project.

    An FICV is a tracked, armoured vehicle that protects soldiers from small arms fire and artillery shrapnel while moving around the battlefield. With fully amphibious capabilities, the FICV can have automatic grenade launchers, medium machine gun and smoke grenade launchers.

    State-owned Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) will automatically make it to the final list of probables. The project will be divided 60:40 between the top two companies after initialising changes as required by the army, with the government company getting the bigger pie.

    Since the defence portfolio now rests with Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, all niggling issues, especially those related to finance, will be ironed out soon before finally awarding the contract to players, believe market watchers. Sources add that the FICV programme has been given priority over other projects, which might speed up the entire process. However, the government has not mentioned any deadline.

    The FICV programme, comprising supply of 2,600 units to the Indian Army, was approved in 2009. Its expression of interest (EoI) was first issued in 2010 only to be cancelled in 2012. The EoI was reissued to 10 Indian companies.

    Two companies are to be shortlisted, who will build a prototype of the FICV costing about Rs 3,000-4,000 crore. About 80 per cent of the cost of building these prototypes will funded by the government. These will be then tested and evaluated by the Army.

    A year ago, Tata Motors joined hands with Pune-headquartered forging company Bharat Forge and US-based General Dynamics Land Systems. In this consortium, Tata Motors will play on its strengths related to design, development and integration of mobility platforms, while Bharat Forge will bring on board its competence with fighting platforms and manufacturing strengths.

    General Dynamics’ proven expertise, as SOSI (a system of systems integrator) in various integrational programs, will bring in the required competency enabling Tata Motors, the lead integrator, to offer a truly indigenous solution for this program.

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