Tata Motors ties up with Bharat Forge, General Dynamics for FICV programme

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Mumbai: Tata Motors Ltd has tied up with Bharat Forge Ltd and US-based General Dynamics Land Systems Inc. (GDLS) for the Indian defence ministry’s Futuristic Infantry Combat Vehicle (FICV) programme.

Tata Motors will lead the consortium with Bharat Forge as a partner, while General Dynamics Land Systems will offer its expertise in combat vehicle platforms to the venture.

FICV is conceived as an armoured battle vehicle capable of carrying a crew of three and eight combat-kitted infantry men.

In July 2015, after five years of delay, the defence ministry sought expressions of interest from manufacturers for building the FICV, which will replace the Indian Army’s 2,600 infantry carriers.

Besides Tata Group, Mahindra Group, Larsen and Toubro Ltd, Punj Lloyd Ltd, Anil Ambani’s Reliance Group and Ordnance Factory Board are some of the bidders for the project.

“Tata Motors will play on its strengths related to Design, Development and 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..,” Tata Motors said in a statement on Monday.

The FICV needs to be compact, tracked and amphibious, and 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.

“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,” Ravi Pisharody, executive director, commercial vehicles, Tata Motors said in the statement.

“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,” he said.

Tata Group’s estimated revenue from aerospace and defence for FY15 is over Rs.2,500 crore or over $400 million, while the current order book size of the Tata group in the sector is in excess of Rs.10,000 crore, or over $ 1.6 billion.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s emphasis on defence equipment forming part of his ‘Make in India’ campaign to encourage manufacturing and attract foreign investment has seen a scramble among companies for licences to manufacture defence equipment.