Tata Motors has signed a strategic agreement with Bharat Forge Limited and General Dynamics Land Systems (GDLS) of the US, for the Indian Ministry of Defence (MoD’s) prestigious Future Infantry Combat Vehicle (FICV) program. Tata Motors will lead the consortium, with Bharat Forge Limited as a partner, while General Dynamics Land Systems will bring in its much proven expertise in combat vehicle platforms.
Tata Motors will play on its strengths related to Design, Development & Integration of mobility platforms, while Bharat Forge’s 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 ‘Make’ program.
To be developed under the ‘Make Category’, the FICV is a high mobility armoured battle vehicle, for infantry men to keep pace with new advancements in weaponry system. The FICV needs to be compact, tracked and amphibious, no heavier than 18-20 tonnes, so that it can be air-portable and transportable by other means, onto combat zones. The vehicle must fire anti-tank guided missiles, to ranges beyond four kilometers, with a capability to carry a crew of three and eight combat-kitted infantrymen. The FICV will replace the Indian Army’s fleet of 2610 Russian-designed BMP (Sarath BMP-II) series armed vehicles, that are in operation since 1980.
Commenting on the partnership, Ravi Pisharody, Executive Director, Commercial Vehicles, Tata Motors Ltd. said, “Defence particularly needs partners with long-term commitments to see products and solutions through multiple generations of evolution, and we at Tata Motors are proud to have joined hands with Bharat Forge and General Dynamics Land Systems, for a complete FICV solution for the Indian armed forces. Through this partnership we will be better positioned to help the country realize its ‘Make in India’ vision, for the first completely indigenized combat vehicle, at the same time cater to the opportunities available right here in India.”
Pisharody further added, “Committed to the highest standards, we at Tata Motors have invested time and resources towards the indigenization of our products and solutions, and are proud to have made significant progress with a working example of a wheeled prototype of the ICV, called the ICV Kestrel, developed jointly with DRDO”
Baba N. Kalyani, Chairman & Managing Director, Bharat Forge Limited, “Our proposed partnership will constitute an important milestone, to help meet the Indian Government’s objectives to strengthen indigenous defence capabilities, and particularly in land systems, with the FICV. Working with the country’s largest automotive manufacturer, will help us develop new directions for both companies and to address future requirements of the Indian Armed Forces. We look forward to an exciting future”
Donald Kotchman, Vice President, Tracked Combat Vehicles, General Dynamics Land Systems said, “We are proud to have been selected by Tata Motors Limited as a partner in order to meet the requirements of the Indian Ministry of Defence FICV program. At General Dynamics Land Systems, we have established a track record of delivering and sustaining international programs, in a timely and cost-effective manner throughout the platform’s life. Led by Tata Motors, we look forward to working with our consortium partners in supporting the “Make in India” initiative, developing the Indian FICV.”
The FICV is mobility oriented and is established by the fact that 3 of the 5 core technologies and 19 of the 34 critical technologies are mobility related, such as engines, transmission and running gear, which are core to Tata Motors, which as a lead of this consortium, has demonstrated years of experience of integrating key technologies needed in the armoured mobility segment. With around 14 Tata companies engaged in providing cutting edge solutions in the defence and aerospace sector, the group has the capability and ability to deliver on the FICV programme
The Tata Motors-led consortium’s response to the Indian Ministry of Defence EoI (Expression of Interest) commits to indigenization, through various Tata group companies, that play a vital role in the Defence and Aerospace sector, also partnering with companies with most advanced competencies in the development of ICVs, for the global market. Some of the group companies involved in the Tata Motors led FICV program are Tata Advanced Systems, Tata Advanced Materials, Tata Consultancy Services, TAL Manufacturing Solutions, Tata Technologies Limited.
Given Tata Motors technical capabilities, R&D investments, fixed assets and relevant project experience, in the defence mobility space, has resulted in the development of an amphibious platform for a futuristic combat vehicle (The Wheeled ICV – KESTREL). Down selected as the development agency of the DRDO, the ICV Kestrel was jointly developed by Tata Motors with DRDO, in a competitive tender process, in a record period of 18 months. Both Tata Motors and DRDO are extremely pleased with results of the Wheeled ICV Kestrel, in internal trials for mobility, amphibious capability and gunnery. The Wheeled ICV Kestrel platform, will now be offered by the DRDO to the mechanized forces of the Indian army, for UATT (User assisted technical trials).