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By Bulbul Singh

13 May 08. After successful development of the Infantry Combat Vehicle Abhay, India has decided to develop a Future Infantry Combat Vehicle (FICV) that it will replace the Russian-made BMP-2 combat vehicles with the Indian Army.

The FICV is being developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation, DRDO. A senior DRDO scientist said that the broad specifications of the FICA 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 Anti-Tank Guided Missile (ATGM), Main gun firing (Armored Piercing Fin-Stabilized Discarding Sabot) APFSDS and HE ammunition, directed energy weapon, Automatic Grenade Launcher and co-axial machine gun.
In addition the FICV will also have an IFDSS (Integrated fire detection and suppression system), Stealth features, Battle Field Management System and IFF and Defensive Aids Suite to protect against laser/thermal/radar guided munitions.

The FICV will also perform target acquisition, tracking, data, computation, and engagement control functions, primarily using electronic means assisted by electromechanical devices. Besides, it will provide fire-on-the-move, operate in various modes and will have dual-control through gunner and commander joysticks with override facility to commander.

The FICV will eventually replace the BMP-2 fleet. The Indian Army is presently equipped with around 1600 BMP-2 ICVs of Russian origin of 1980s Vintage.

To fill the technological gap of new generation the Programme ‘ABHAY’ was launched, to develop an Infantry Combat Vehicle as a technology demonstrator, incorporating a blend of state-of-the-art technologies with impressive fire power, excellent mobility and high degree of protection.

The programme commenced in 1998 and the Infantry Combat Vehicle has completed all tests as a technology demonstrator. Following the success of the Abhay technology demonstrator, DRDO has embarked upon a program to produce the FICV, still unnamed, adding that the FICV will eventually be based on the Abhay technical parameters.

The Abhay vehicle has a 550hp power pack with fully automatic transmission. Better ride comfort, exceptional cross country ride performance has been achieved by advance running gear system with hydrogas suspension. The composite armored hull and turret provides all round protection against small arms and frontal protection against 30 mm cannon. Abhay is equipped with 40mm cannon with twin missile launcher system.

The Indian army has already decided to procure the FICV engines from overseas. The new engine should be able to generate 350 to 380hp in object condition, easy to maintain and have long life. The new engine should be able to operate up to an ambient temperature of –30 degree Celsius to+ 55 degree Celsius. The engine life should not be below 600 hours or 2250 kilometres and it should be able to operate in all types of terrain and weather conditions. Its weight should be less than 900 kilograms, said an Indian Army official.

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