Infantry Combat Vehicles Are, But Soviet-Era BMP-2 Is Out: How Army Plans To Modernise Mechanised Infantry

As part of modernising its Mechanized Infantry arm, the Army is in the process of getting a number of niche technologies that were made in India, sources in the defence sector said Thursday.

Sources say that the Army wants to buy about 480 Futuristic Infantry Combat Vehicles (FICV) to replace its old BMP-2, an amphibious infantry fighting vehicle from the Soviet era that the Army bought in the 1980s. At the next meeting of the Defense Acquisition Council (DAC), the platform is likely to get an Acceptance of Necessity (AoN).

Sources also said that plans are being made to buy Nag Missile Systems (NAMIS) for the Recce & Support (Tracked) Battalions and Infantry Combat Vehicle, Command (ICV Comd), which will be used as the Command & Control platform. The DAC changed the AoN for 13 NAMICA and 293 Nag missiles last month. The DAC had also given AoN for 177 ICV Comd at that time.

As part of the modernization plans, the Army also wants to buy 105 new Wheeled Armoured Fighting Vehicles (Wh AFV) to replace the BRDMs, which are combat reconnaissance patrol vehicles. The DAC gave the AoN for 105 Wh AFVs and 1,080 ATGMs in June.

Other plans include getting new Wheeled Infantry Combat Vehicles (Wh ICV) for Standard Mechanised Infantry Battalions (Wheeled) and Light Armoured Multi-Purpose Vehicles (LAMV) with more mobility and protection for Recce Platoon, which will replace the existing modified Maruti Gypsy. Last month, the RFI for this was sent out.

Also, the existing equipment of the Mechanised Infantry is getting a lot of modern technology upgrades. For example, the BMP-2 is being upgraded to make it better at fighting at night. This will give the driver and commander of the BMP-2 a Thermal Imager-based Driver Night Sight and Commander Thermal Imaging (TI) Sight.

The Army is also looking at different options that are made in India. It plans to buy a variety of modern third-generation Fire and Forget ATGMs to improve its firepower, and it is in the process of getting Canister Launched Loiter Munition System to put on BMP-2/Carrier Mortar Tracked (CMT) chassis so that it can hit targets that are out of sight.

Other planned upgrades include getting anti-drone technology to attack aerial targets, mini UAVs, See-Through Armor, an Autonomous Combat Vehicle, and AI-based Integrated Surveillance to improve its ISR capabilities.

The Armoured Corps and the Mechanised Infantry are working together on a project to put the Integrated Surveillance and Targeting System (ISAT-S) on BMP and Tank chassis.

Sources say that a number of projects are also in the works to “improve the ability of Mechanised Infantry on the battlefield to survive, provide modern navigational aids, improve communication, and meet critical operational logistics requirements.”

A defence source said, “The Mechanized Infantry has taken a two-pronged approach, which includes replacing old equipment with platforms from the future and upgrading existing equipment to make it better.”

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