DRDO seeks industrial partners to develop advanced wheeled and tracked armoured vehicles


Vijay Mohan

Chandigarh, February 2

The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has sought Indian industrial partners to develop and manufacture wheeled and tracked variants of an advanced armoured platform (AAP) for the Army.

The AAPs will have all modern war-fighting features in tune with the Army’s futuristic battlefield requirements according to separate requests for proposals (RFP) issued by DRDO on January 28.

The wheeled variant will be a 24-tonne class of vehicle based on an 8×8 chassis. For comparison, the Russian BMP-2 tracked infantry combat vehicle in service with the mechanised formation at present weights around 15 tonnes.

Both variants will have compact integrated power pack with fully automatic transmission, modular ballistic and blast protection, NBC detection and protection, provisions for integration of advanced laser warning, detection and counter-measure system, add-on armour and interface arrangement for loiter munitions and mini UAV.

They will also be fully amphibious and equipped with various thermal and optical sights for the crew and fire control systems. The wheeled version will feature a crewless turret with a 30 mm cannon along with run flat inserts for the tyres, according to the RPF.

In December 2022, the Defence Acquisition Council (DCA) had accorded an acceptance of necessity (AoN) for the procurement of futuristic infantry combat vehicle (tracked) for the Mechanised Infantry.

Amphibious capability, manned turret with fire control system, fire and forget top-attack anti-tank guided missiles, automatic cannon of at least 30 mm calibre, co-axial machine gun and a stabilised radar-controlled weapon system with 12.7mm machine gun, modern warning and protection measures and a crew of three along with capacity for carrying a stick of eight soldiers were among the specifications listed by the DAC.

The Army had earlier projected a requirement for 1,750 futuristic infantry combat vehicles (FICV). This includes different variants such as fully armed versions, command and control versions, and surveillance and recce versions.

The industrial partners for the AAP project will be required to design, develop, integrate and test the vehicle’s chassis, hull, engine, transmission and electrical systems, protection apparatus, weapons and combat systems and other components and sub-systems according to technical specifications issued by DRDO’s Vehicle Research and Development Establishment (VRDE), Ahmednagar.

According to some reports, a few years ago Russia had offered the BMP-3, a follow-on variant of the BMP-2 to India for its FICV requirements, but the offer was rejected in favour of indigenous development. The Indian Army had also initiated a project to upgrade its existing fleet of BMP-2s.