The Indian Ministry of Defense will hasten the upgrading of its Russian-made BMP-2 infantry combat vehicles and will issue tenders to buy 2,000 engines for the program, according to reports, while shelving its $10 billion FICV program.
The Indian Army’s more than 1,500 BMP-2s will be upgraded at a cost of more than $1.2 billion in the next three to five years, and the program last month received formal MoD clearance, Defense News reported.
Though this move doesn’t necessarily shut down the homegrown FICV project, it is less likely to see the light of day because the decision has already been delayed, an Army official was quoted as saying.
The Army requires engines able to generate 350 to 380 horsepower and are easy to maintain and operate in extreme weather conditions. The existing engine of the BMP-2 has 285 horsepower and is not suited for cross-country mobility, the report added.
With the upgrade, the Indian Army will be able to provide an improved anti-tank guided missile system and 30mm automatic grenade launcher with advances observation and surveillance, night-fighting capability and fire control.
After two years of talks, a decision has yet to be made on the FICV project that would be the first built in the “Make India” category.
Two short-listed Indian companies would be required to build an FICV prototype and the winning company would be awarded the contract to produce 2600 FICs after field trials.
The Defense Ministry had selected state-owned Bharat Earth Movers and a consortium of Larsen & Toubro, Mahindra Defense and Tata Power.