With India’s Futuristic Infantry Combat Vehicle program gone cold and no word on the status of the project, contender TATA Motors will be unveiling for the first time a brand new specialty vehicle, the Wheeled Armoured Platform (WhAP) at Defexpo 2014.
The vehicle platform, developed jointly with the DRDO’s Vehicle Research & Development Establishment (VRDE), is a mobility platform featuring a Norwegian-built Kongsberg MCT-30-R medium-calibre remote turret sporting a US-built ATK 30mm/40mm Mk44 Bushmaster automatic cannon as a primary weapon and a secondary FN Herstal M240 7.62mm general purpose machine gun.
The vehicle also comes integrated with the Raytheon-Lockheed Martin JAVELIN anti-tank guided missile system and a commander’s independent weapon station fitted with a General Dynamics M2HB 12.7mm machine gun.
India still intends to pursue the FICV project under the “Make” procedure of the Defence Procurement Procedure of 2008 (DPP-2008), under which Indian vendors develop major defence platforms. Which means the MoD will fund 80% of the cost of developing a prototype that must be at least 30% indigenous; the Indian DAs pays the remaining 20%.
Four contenders have submitted their proposals to the MoD including Tata Motors; the Mahindra Group; L&T; and the MoD-owned Ordnance Factory Board (OFB).
The upgrade worth $1.2 billion received formal clearance this year and will begin over the next three to five years.
The Army wants to replace the existing engine of the BMP-2 which has 285 horsepower and is ill-suited for cross-country mobility. The new engine requirements include them to be able to generate 350 to 380 horsepower, are easy to maintain and operate in extreme weather conditions.
The upgrade will improve observation and surveillance, night-fighting capability and fire control, and will provide an improved anti-tank guided missile system and 30mm automatic grenade launcher.