The Indian Army is on the verge of taking a big leap for its armoured formations and mechanised forces, even as it is faced with a huge responsibility on deciding on the course of action on the Future Infantry Combat Vehicle (FICV) and the Future Ready Combat Vehicle (FRCV) projects. While the FICV is an infantry combat vehicle, the FRCV will meet India's futuristic battle tank needs, though it is not to be misconstrued as the now abandoned Future Main Battle Tank (FMBT) project.
Let's first look at what's going on with the FICV programme. The project has been mired in controversies and delays since it was kick-started as a major modernisation project of the Indian Army's mechanised forces way back in October 2009 when it was accorded the Acceptance of Necessity by the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC). After over eight years in the works –with on-a-and-off rumours of the project being shelved – the FICV programme is now back on the drawing board, according to officers with direct knowledge of the development.
Soon after Nirmala Sitharaman took over as India's first full-time Defence Minister, the project proposal had gone up to the DAC headed by her and it has decided to return the proposal to the Indian Army headquarters for further clarification on involving around five Indian private sector firms in the project under the 'Make in India' initiative of the present central government.
The FICV is to equip India'