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Mechanised Infantry modernisation drive: Indian Army to issue RFP for over 500 Infantry combat vehicles

The Indian Army is set to issue a Request for Proposal (RFP) for more than 500 Infantry Combat Vehicles (ICVs) to bolster its modernization efforts. These advanced vehicles will enhance operational capabilities across diverse terrains. Concurrently, discussions with the US on co-producing Stryker vehicles continue, despite concerns, while domestic alternatives like DRDO's Wheeled Armoured Platforms are also being considered.

Mechanised Infantry modernisation drive Indian Army to issue RFP for over five hundred Infantry combat vehicles
First Published Jul 5, 2024, 9:37 AM IST

The Indian Army is poised to release a Request for Proposal (RFP) for the procurement of more than 500 Infantry Combat Vehicles (ICVs) as part of its extensive modernisation plan. This significant move comes as the preparations are in their final stages.

The new ICVs are intended for deployment across various challenging terrains, including high-altitude regions, deserts, and amphibious zones. The Indian Army aims to upgrade nearly 10 of its battalions with these advanced ICVs.

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The RFP follows the Request for Information (RFI) process, wherein the army collects information from potential suppliers. According to defence sources, responses from 15 Indian vendors have been received, along with certain clarifications sought by these vendors. "We are actively working on it," the sources said.

In addition to ICVs, the Indian Army is considering the acquisition of 105-wheeled armoured personnel carriers (APCs) for reconnaissance and support roles, with an RFI for these vehicles expected to be issued soon.

Parallel to these efforts, New Delhi and Washington are in talks regarding the co-production of Stryker armoured infantry combat vehicles. The US Army plans to showcase the Stryker’s capabilities to the Indian Army in both desert and high-altitude conditions. The Stryker, developed by General Dynamics Land Systems, is an 8-wheel-drive combat vehicle.

Despite some reservations from defence officials about the Stryker, it remains under consideration due to the inability of Indian vendors to meet the Qualitative Requirements (QR). Modifications will be made to the Stryker to meet India's specific needs, particularly for high-altitude areas like Ladakh, where India and China have been in a standoff along the Line of Actual Control since April-May 2020.

However, it is noteworthy that the Stryker does not have an amphibious variant. In contrast, the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) in India has developed Wheeled Armoured Platforms (WhAP) for the Indian Army. 

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Sources have highlighted some limitations of the WhAP, noting that it can only carry troops. "It lacks firepower, a sight system, and a fire control system, which are essential for providing commanders with situational awareness during combat."

The Indian Army operates a total of 50 mechanised infantry battalions, which are planned to be replaced with both wheeled and tracked ICVs. Of these, over 10 battalions are designated for reconnaissance and support, while around 40 are standard mechanised infantry battalions, each comprising approximately 50 vehicles.

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