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Tata Motors has signed a strategic agreement with Bharat Forge and US-based General Dynamics Land Systems (GDLS), for the Indian ministry of defence’s (MoD) prestigious Future Infantry Combat Vehicle (FICV) program.

Tata Motors will lead the consortium, with Bharat Forge as a partner, while General Dynamics Land Systems will bring in its much-proven expertise in combat vehicle platforms.

Tata Motors will play on its strengths related to design, development & integration of mobility platforms, while Bharat Forge will bring on board its competence with fighting platforms and manufacturing strengths. General Dynamics’ proven expertise, as SOSI (a system of systems integrator) in various integrational programs, will bring in the required competency enabling Tata Motors, the lead integrator, to offer a truly indigenous solution for this ‘Make’ program. 

Ravi Pisharody, executive director, commercial vehicles, Tata Motors said, “Defence particularly needs partners with long-term commitments to see products and solutions through multiple generations of evolution, and we at Tata Motors are proud to have joined hands with Bharat Forge and General Dynamics Land Systems, for a complete FICV solution for the Indian armed forces. Through this partnership, we will be better positioned to help the country realize its ‘Make in India’ vision, for the first completely indigenized combat vehicle, at the same time cater to the opportunities available right here in India.”

To be developed under the ‘make category’, the FICV is a high mobility armoured battle vehicle for infantry men to keep pace with new advancements in weaponry system. The FICV needs to be compact, tracked and amphibious, no heavier than 18-20 tonnes, so that it can be air-portable and transportable by other means, onto combat zones. The vehicle must fire anti-tank guided missiles, to ranges beyond four kilometers, with a capability to carry a crew of three and eight combat-kitted infantrymen. The FICV will replace the Indian Army's fleet of 2610 Russian-designed BMP (Sarath BMP-II) series armed vehicles, that are in operation since 1980.

Baba N Kalyani, chairman & managing director, Bharat Forge, “Our proposed partnership will constitute an important milestone, to help meet the Indian government’s objectives to strengthen indigenous defence capabilities, and particularly in land systems, with the FICV. Working with the country’s largest automotive manufacturer, will help us develop new directions for both companies and to address future requirements of the Indian Armed Forces. We look forward to an exciting future”

Donald Kotchman, vice-president, tracked combat vehicles, General Dynamics Land Systems said, “We are proud to have been selected by Tata Motors Limited as a partner in order to meet the requirements of the Indian Ministry of Defence FICV program. At General Dynamics Land Systems, we have established a track record of delivering and sustaining international programs, in a timely and cost-effective manner throughout the platform’s life.  Led by Tata Motors, we look forward to working with our consortium partners in supporting the “Make in India” initiative, developing the Indian FICV.” 

The FICV is mobility-oriented and is established by the fact that 3 of the 5 core technologies and 19 of the 34 critical technologies are mobility related, such as engines, transmission and running gear, which are core to Tata Motors.  As a lead of this consortium, has demonstrated years of experience of integrating key technologies needed in the armoured mobility segment. With around 14 Tata companies engaged in providing cutting edge solutions in the defence and aerospace sector, the group has the capability and ability to deliver on the FICV programme.