Future Ready Combat Vehicle 2016
Next-Gen Fire Power, Protection and Mobility
• Users' concept of employment
• Design philosophy
• Mobility, Protection and Firepower
• Emerging technologies
• Industry's capabilities
• Project execution
• Repairs & maintenance
The Indian Army issued a Request for Information (RFI) on 8 June 2015 for designs for a FRCV, which states that the 'future' combat platform design must cater to 'future' battlefield environment and technological possibilities. The FRCV, which would be in the "medium tank" category, needs to be developed on a modular concept with a high degree of flexibility in a manner that, as a tank platform, it can address the varying requirements of different terrain and weather configurations, whose physical dimensions should facilitate transportability over existing terrain, in-service military bridges and major civilian infrastructure (including bridges) in the border areas (on either side of the Western border).
With the Indian Army making plans for the replacement of the BMP-2 infantry combat vehicle and the T-72 main battle tanks in the next 10-15 years, through domestic development and manufacture, there is a need for users and industry to understand the thinking behind the users requirements and the latter's capabilities to delivers.
Keeping in perspective the vintage and upgrades planned for operating the existing fleet of T-72s and T-90s, the FMBT is likely to see induction by 2025-27. The FMBT will be a fighting vehicle platform that will be required to conduct sustained continuous operations by day and night in all weather conditions in terrain and temperature ranges obtaining from the developed to dessert terrains as existing in the country.
Currently the T-72, T-90M /SK and MBT Arjun Mark 1 are the main stay of the Armoured Corps. Most of the T-72 tanks have lived their life and are under the process of being upgraded to extend their life till 2022. A replacement of the existing inventory of Upgraded T-72 after will be required 10 years from now. Considering the vintage of the existing fleet as also the discard policy in vogue there is a requirement of a new tank, which will fill the equipment void up to the next 30–40 yrs. The future MBT (FMBT), therefore, needs to have comparable capabilities with the existing fleet as also have certain futuristic capabilities that can be ungraded on its platform when required to meet the current as well as the future battlefield challenges.
The critical balance between Fire Power, Protection and Mobility needs optimization by adopting modern technology on one hand and soft kill measures, which are available with designers today, to offset the weight penalty for further enhancing mobility and firepower.
The design needs to be modular, compact to enable strategic, operational and battlefield mobility. It should also facilitate up-gradation, easy replacement and repair of assemblies in a short time. It should enable creation of variants like BLT, Trawl tank, Mine Ploughs, ARV, Self Propelled Artillery, Anti Aircraft Tank, Observation Post Vehicle, Engineer Reconnaissance Vehicle, Armoured Ambulance by varying its configuration and/or weight/ armour envelopes.
Hence, the Futuristic Main Battle Tank (FMBT) was projected in 2010 because of long lead time required. Its time to debate the basic features of the FMBT and the Staff Qualitative Requirements (SQRs).
The FMBT now renamed as Future Ready Combat Vehicle (FRCV), will be a new generation, state-of-the-art modular combat vehicle platform FRCV and will form the base platform for the main battle tank and its variants. It may be inducted by 2025-27. The Arjun Mk 2 MBT may or may not meet the future requirements of IA.
FRCV will also provide the base on which a 'family of vehicles', catering to the operational needs of various arms of the Army. The new tank's firepower should be well matched to contemporary tanks in engagement ranges, all weather day/night fighting capability, depth of penetration and variety of ammunition. It should have very high all-round protection.
The seminar will review the users' concept of employment of the FRCV, the interplay between and importance of Mobility, Protection and Firepower, the emerging technologies as the users see them and understanding industry's capabilities, strengths and limitations in executing projects of such a large magnitude for the first time in the country.