Project Alert: Future Ready Combat Vehicle (FRCV)

Program: Future Ready Combat Vehicle (FRCV) for Indian Army

RFI Issued: May 2021

Category: ‘Buy (Indian-IDDM)’

Quantity: 1770 Nos.

Estimated Cost: $5-6 Billion Approx.

Current Status: A RFP is still awaited

Brief Details

The Indian Army requires state-of-the-art ‘technology enabled’ Main Battle Tank (MBT) to replace the existing aging fleet of (four-decade old) Soviet-origin T-72 ‘Ajeya’ Main Battle Tanks.

To meet this requirement, the MoD has issued a fresh Request for Information (RFI) to procure over 1,770 Future Ready Combat Vehicles (FRCVs) for the Indian Army in May 2021 in a phased manner, along with Performance Based Logistics, Transfer of Technology, Engineering Support Package and other Maintenance and Training requirements.

For the first phase, the Ministry of Defence intends to procure quantity 590 FRCV. The expected induction is by 2030.

To download the RFI click:

This is the second attempt with the previous RFI being issued on 8th Nov 2017 which was ultimately shelved.

To be noted that the project is under ‘Make-I’ category, which provides for up to 70 percent of government funding for prototype development. Successful development under ‘Make-I’ would result in acquisition, from successful Development Agency (DA), through the ‘Buy (Indian-IDDM)’ category with indigenous design and Development and a minimum of 50% Indigenous Content (IC).

Also, the FRCV platform is planned to be procured under the ‘Strategic Partnership’ route within the provision of Chapter-VII of Defence Acquisition Procedure – 2020’.

RFI Details

The RFI stipulates that the MBT required by Indian Army should offer multiple options for rapid operational employment enabling the Indian Army to execute operations across the entire continuum of conflict against diverse threat and equipment profile of the adversaries.

Further, it will be a technologically enabled futuristic tank to cater for current and future operational requirements and would be in-service for the next 35-45 years. Therefore, it should be designed to deliver the highest lethality survivability and agility on the battlefield combined with a fully digitised data backbone architecture to enable Next-generation operational capabilities and automation.

The Indian Army wants FRCV with capability to act as a multiple weapon platform along with infusion of niche technology will cater for the future capability requirements and enhance overall operational effectiveness index of the Indian Army by catering for emerging threats in varied terrain – High Altitude Areas, Plains/Riverine, Deserts/Semi-Deserts) across the current and future spectrum of conflict.

Further to the RFI uploaded on the MoD Website in June 2021, the Project for Procurement of FRCV has now been accorded ‘Approval in Principle’ to be progressed under the Make-I Category.

As of now, an RFP / tender is still awaited and seems to be stalled owing to procedural delays.

Likely Contenders

As reported in the Financial Express in June 2021, the OEMs that have received the RFI includes of:

  • France based Nexter – Leclerc
  • Russia’s Uralvagonzavod – T-90 & T-14 Armata
  • South Korea’s Rotem – K1 Hyundai
  • US based General Dynamics – M1AX (Abrams)
  • Germany’s Rheinmetall – Leopard KMW
  • Ukraine’s Malyshev Plant – T – 84
  • Italy based Consortium Iveco – ARIETE MBT
  • Oto Melara – Leonardo
  • Serbia’s Yugoimport – M – 84
  • Israel Ordnance Corps – Merkava Mantak
  • United Kingdom based BAE Systems Land & Armaments – Challenger 2
  • Turkey’s Otokar – Altay

On the other hand, the Indian companies that are likely to be in fray include

  • Tata Motors
  • Reliance Defence and Engineering Limited
  • Mahindra Group, Bharat Forge
  • Punj Lloyd, Tata Power SED
  • Titagarh Wagons
  • Tractors India
  • Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO)

These companies have previously also had expressed interest in forming a joint venture with the OEMs.

Also, worth mentioning that Russia in Jan 2023 has pitched its ‘Cutting Edge’ T-14 Armata Tank technology to India to co-develop Army’s Main Battle Tank.

Broad Technical Parameters: The broad technical parameters are as given below. The same would be further elaborated in the Project Definition Document (PDD).

Basic Configuration

(i) Combat Weight not to exceed 25+10% Tons

(ii) Transportable by in service aircraft, ships, rail and road infrastructure

(iii) Crew – three (03)

Fire Power & Lethality

(i) Main Gun. 105mm and above calibre.

(ii) Elevation Depression. Elevation minimum 20°and Depression minimum 10° through the Traverse of 360°.

(iii) Anti-Tank Guided Missile (ATGM). Capable of firing a 3rd or higher generation ATGM preferably a Gun Tube Launched ATGM.

(iv) Lethality.

(aa) KE Ammunition. Defeat 500mm RHA target at 2000m at 60° angle of attack.

(ab) CE Ammunition. Defeat 800mm RHA target at 2000m at 60° angle of attack.

(ac) ATGM. Defeat 800mm RHA target at 5000m.


(i) P/W Ratio. Not less than 30 HP/Ton.

(ii) Nominal Ground Pressure (NGP). Not exceeding 0.7 Kg/Cm².

(iii) Operational Range. 300Km in cross country and 450 Km on road.

For more details for the specifications:

Undoubtedly, the project for FRCV will provide a unique opportunity to the Indigenous Defence Industry to come together and realise an ‘Indigenously Designed and Developed in India’ battle system as a national effort. It will enable India to join the league of select nations possessing this capability. It will also help to build research and manufacturing capabilities to foster technological spinoffs benefitting a host of civil/ dual use applications.

2 thoughts on “Project Alert: Future Ready Combat Vehicle (FRCV)

  1. I don’t mean to be obtuse, but I strongly believe it would be more appropriate to have a vehicle which weighs about the same as a B-Double truck – so 40-50 tonnes. There would be a significant number of roads & bridges designed to take that amount of weight.

    Given most modern Western MBTs weigh over 70 tonnes, achieving a weight of 40-50 tonnes (whilst retaining the lethality, mobility & protection capabilities) would be quite an achievement. Believe the General Dynamics M10 Booker & Japanese Type 10 Tanks can meet these requirements. There is a fire support vehicle based on Rheinmetall’s KF41 which also meets these requirements.

    Recommend you add the above three vehicles to your tender process.

Comments are closed.