INDIA SEEKS OVERSEAS HELP TO UPGRADE ITS BMP INFANTRY VEHICLES
By Bulbul Singh
18 Dec 09. India has entered the global market to upgrade its entire fleet of BMP infantry combat vehicles. The BMP with the Indian Army of erstwhile Soviet era need to be upgraded with better observation, surveillance, and night fighting capability.
Initially Request for Information (RFI) has been sent to nearly half a dozen overseas defence companies, including BAE Systems of United Kingdom, Rheinmettal of Germany, Thales of France, Rosoboronoexport of Russia.
Based on the RFI, the Indian Army will draw the Qualitative Requirements and thereafter a formal Request for Proposal is likely to be issued in mid-2010 to overseas defence companies interested in undertaking the upgrade of nearly 1200 BMP-2K infantry combat vehicles to BMP-2M infantry combat vehicles.
The thrust of the upgrades will be to provide better observation and surveillance, night fighting capability, fire control system, improved new generation fire-and-forget Anti-Tank Guided Missile (ATGM) system and 30mm automatic grenade launcher, said a senior Indian Army official.
The upgraded BMP-2M will be an all-weather all-terrain vehicle capable of operation in temperatures varying between -10 degrees and +48 degrees Celsius. The day and night gunner’s sight with a day optical and thermal imaging channel and laser range finders to the gunner. The thermal imager will have a detection range of minimum 5 kilometers and recognition range at 3 kilometers. The Fire Control System will have ballistic control with adequate sensors to monitor wind, temperature.
The upgraded vehicle will have a capability of having two missiles loaded in ready-to-fire mode with selection control for the gunner to fire.
The upgrade of BMP-2K to BMP-2M is being planned even the DRDO is developing a home-developed Futuristic Infantry Combat Vehicle (FICV) to replace the BMP parallel to the existing upgrade plan.
The physical features of the FICV include Combat weight less than 20 tones, power-to-weight ratio 25:1 hp/t, amphibious capability, potent fire power including, 3rd Gen fire & forget ATGM, main armament firing (Armored Piercing Fin-Stabilized Discarding Sabot) APFSDS and HE ammunition, directed energy weapon, AGL and co-axial machine gun
In addition, the FICV will also have an IFDSS (Integrated fire detection and suppression system), stealth features, Battlefield Management System, IFF and Defensive Aids Suite to protect against laser/thermal/radar guided munitions.
The FICV will also perform the functions of target acquisition, tracking, data, computation, and engagement control, primarily using electronic means assisted by electromechanical devices. Besides, it will provide fire on move, operate in various modes and will have a dual control through gunner and commander joysticks with override facility to commander.