In a continuing stride towards bolstering its defense capabilities, the Indian Ministry of Defense (MoD) has recently given the green light for the development and production of more than 500 indigenously-built Future Ready Combat Vehicles (FRCVs). This significant decision underscores the country’s commitment to its pursuit of self-reliance in defense manufacturing and signals a remarkable leap in India’s evolving technological prowess.

Under the ambitious initiative, India seeks to obtain approximately 590 FRCVs in line with the project’s Make-I category. This category entails substantial government funding, ensuring up to 70 percent financial backing for prototype development, allowing for the realization of cutting-edge combat vehicle technologies.

Notably, the MoD has emphasized the significance of indigenous content, stipulating that the design and development of these FRCVs should incorporate a minimum of 50 percent of homegrown components. This strategic directive exemplifies the government’s unwavering commitment to nurturing indigenous defense capabilities and fostering technological independence.

T-72 Ajeya tank of the Indian Army, 2010 (Image source: Wikimedia Commons)

With this monumental endeavor, India establishes itself as a formidable force in the global defense landscape, seeking to reduce its reliance on imported military equipment and replace the aging Russian T-72 main battle tanks (MBTs) currently in service. The project aims to empower its armed forces with state-of-the-art combat vehicles meticulously tailored to meet modern warfare’s unique challenges by emphasizing self-sufficiency and harnessing indigenous expertise. This strategic move not only reinforces India’s position on the global stage but also paves the way for a more robust and secure future.

A Glimpse on India’s FRCV Project

India’s Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) spearheads the FRCV program as part of its “Make in India” modernization efforts to develop its next-generation MBTs for the Indian Army. The program aims to replace the aging Russian-built T-72s and T-90s fleet, incorporating cutting-edge advancements in armor, firepower, and mobility technology.

As reported by The Diplomat in 2017, the now-approved FRCV system will utilize a modular concept, serving as a foundational platform for a range of tracked vehicles. These vehicles encompass light-tracked, wheeled, bridge layer and trawl tanks, self-propelled howitzers (SPH), air defense guns, artillery observation post and engineering reconnaissance vehicles, as well as armored ambulances and most importantly, India’s next generation MBT.

With the primary objective of replacing the aging four-decade-old T-72 tanks starting in 2030, the FRCV program aims to provide a next-generation armored solution that will remain in service for approximately 35 or so years. The Indian defense ministry anticipates that the FRCV tanks will possess unparalleled “lethality, survivability, and agility,” enabling it to counter emerging threats across diverse terrains effectively. Additionally, it is expected to address the various threat and equipment profiles of potential adversaries, ensuring its adaptability to a wide range of combat scenarios.