NEW DELHI:The Army has invited proposals from global and Indian firms to manufacture ‘Future Ready Combat Vehicle’ (FRCV) tanks, in an attempt to replace its ageing Soviet-era main battle tanks (MBT). Interestingly, the Army’s latest move has come at a time when the Defence Research Development Organisation (DRDO), the country’s premier defence research agency, is already working on futuristic Future Main Battle Tank (FMBT).
According to sources, the Army has issued a Request for Information (RFI) inviting responses from companies by July 31 to manufacture tanks which will replace the T-72 tanks. And the Army said the best design will be chosen and given to the nominated developing agency for production of the prototypes. The selected prototype will be given to the production agency for bulk production.
The Army has earlier been at loggerheads with the DRDO over the Arjun MBT which it had developed. Defence experts are of the view that if the Army were to go in for a foreign tank, it will spoil the indigenous effort of nearly 30 years of designing and building Arjun MBT that can be used for making the next-generation tank.
DRDO officials are stunned by the Army’s RFI and are wondering why it has been issued when the premier research organisation is already working on it. They are hoping that the Ministry of Defence, which has been pushing for ‘Make in India’, will look into the issue. Meanwhile, Army sources maintained that the RFI is open to all.