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Tata Motors, Bharat Forge, GDLS team up for Rs50,000-cr Army project

08 March 2016

Tata Motors has entered into a partnership with Bharat Forge and US-based General Dynamics Land Systems (GDLS) to bid for India's Rs50,000-crore future infantry combat vehicle (FICV) project.

Tata Motors will lead the consortium with Bharat Forge as a partner while GDLS will bring in its much-proven expertise in combat vehicle platforms, Tata Motors said in a statement on Monday.

Tata Motors will leverage its strengths in design, development and integration of mobility platforms. With Bharat Forge's competence with fighting platforms and manufacturing strengths, General Dynamics' proven expertise as a system of systems integrator (SOSI ) in various integrational programmes, Tata Motors hopes to offer truly indigenous solution for this 'Make' programme.

Tata Motors executive director (commercial vehicle) Ravi Pisharody said, "Through this partnership, we will be better-positioned to help the country realise its 'Make in India' vision for the first completely indigenised combat vehicle and at the same time cater for the opportunities available right here in India."

To be developed under the 'Make in India' category, the FICV is a high mobility armoured battle vehicle, for infantry men to keep pace with new advancements in weaponry system.

''The FICV needs to be compact, tracked and amphibious, 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, with a capability to carry a crew of three and eight combat-kitted infantrymen.''

The FICV will replace the Indian Army's fleet of 2,610 Russian-designed BMP (Sarath BMP-II) series armed vehicles that are in operation since 1980.

''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. 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,'' Ravi Pisharody, executive director, commercial vehicles, Tata Motors, said.

Pisharody further said Tata Motors has already made significant progress with a working example of the ICV called the ICV Kestrel jointly developed with DRDO.

''Both Tata Motors and DRDO are extremely pleased with results of the Wheeled ICV Kestrel, in internal trials for mobility, amphibious capability and gunnery. The Wheeled ICV Kestrel platform, will now be offered by the DRDO to the mechanised forces of the Indian Army, for user assisted technical trials,'' Tata Motors stated in its release.

''Our proposed partnership will constitute an important milestone, to help meet the Indian government's objectives to strengthen indigenous defence capabilities, and particularly in land systems, with the FICV. Working with the country's largest automotive manufacturer, will help us develop new directions for both companies and to address future requirements of the Indian armed forces. We look forward to an exciting future,'' Baba N Kalyani, chairman and managing director, Bharat Forge Limited, said.

''We are proud to have been selected by Tata Motors Limited as a partner in order to meet the requirements of the Indian ministry of defence FICV programme. At General Dynamics Land Systems, we have established a track record of delivering and sustaining international programmes, in a timely and cost-effective manner throughout the platform's life. Led by Tata Motors, we look forward to working with our consortium partners in supporting the ''Make in India'' initiative, developing the Indian FICV,'' Donald Kotchman, vice president, Tracked Combat Vehicles, General Dynamics Land Systems. Said.

The FICV is mobility oriented and is established by the fact that three of the five core technologies and 19 of the 34 critical technologies are mobility related, such as engines, transmission and running gear, and, with around 14 Tata companies engaged in providing cutting edge solutions in the defence and aerospace sector, the group has the capability and ability to deliver on the FICV programme, the company stated in a release

The Tata Motors-led consortium's response to the ministry of defence expression of interest commits to indigenisation, through various Tata group companies, that play a vital role in the defence and aerospace sector, also partnering with companies with most advanced competencies in the development of ICVs, for the global market.

Some of the group companies involved in the Tata Motors led FICV program are Tata Advanced Systems, Tata Advanced Materials, Tata Consultancy Services, TAL Manufacturing Solutions, Tata Technologies Limited.

Tata Motors already offers its defence customers with a wide range of vehicles, in the light, medium and heavy category, as also security forces across the world.

Tata Motors has designed and developed indigenously, the Wheeled Armored Platform (WHAP), an armoured personnel carrier, designed for optimised survivability, all terrain performance and increased lethality. Tata Motors has also developed a Light Armoured Multi-role Vehicle (LAMV), a reconnaissance vehicle, combining vital operational pre requisites of mobility, protection and firepower.

Bharat Forge Limited (BFL), part of Kalyani Group a $2.5 billion conglomerate with 10,000 global work force, is a Pune based Indian multinational. It is a technology driven global leader in metal forming having transcontinental presence across nine manufacturing locations, serving several sectors, including defence, automotive, power, oil and gas, construction and mining, rail, marine and aerospace.

The company has created its niche in Indian aerospace and defence manufacturing ecosystem by creating one-of-a-kind competence in the area of artillery platforms, howitzers and firepower systems.

General Dynamics Land Systems is a business unit of General Dynamics headquartered in Falls Church, Virginia, United States, is a global leader in the design, development, production, support and enhancement of tracked and wheeled military vehicles.

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