India might likely use Russia’s new Armata tank as a prototype for its own armored vehicle, Gazeta.ru reported. Earlier this month, defense expert Samir Patil from India’s Gateway House analytical center said his country was willing to buy the Armata platform or some of its elements for future development of their own tank.
Soviet and Russian military hardware makes up around 40 percent of all hardware in the Indian ground forces. The proportion is even higher in India’s Air Force (80 percent), and Navy (75 percent). In total, there are around 600 T-55 tanks, almost 2,000 T-72M1 and 640 T-90C tanks.
While no Ministry of Defence official would comment on the fate of the decade-old Futuristic Main Battle Tank (FMBT) project to be developed by DRDO, an Army official said FRCV has “surely killed” the FMBT. The Indian Army this month floated a global request for information to seek partners to design the new tank under a program called Future Ready Combat Vehicle (FRCV). As a medium-weight platform it would weigh 40-plus tons, compared with the locally developed Arjun, which weighs 60 tons.
The Army plans to begin induction of the basic FRCV by 2025-27, which would be the platform on which numerous variants would be developed to serve different functions. These variants will include a tracked light tank, a wheeled version, a bridge layer tank, a trawl tank and mine plows, armored recovery vehicle, self-propelled gun, anti-aircraft tank, artillery observation vehicle, engineer reconnaissance vehicle, and armored ambulance.
Russian Armata tank
India’s army actually wants better tanks if they ever go into combat. However, there is lot of local politics that are driving them to immature domestic weapons makers.
India will likely buy significant numbers of foreign tanks. The Russians have the inside track because India has primarily bought Russian equipment. Russia will likely work with India to develop a new tank over the next 10-15 years and upgrade the existing gear. India and Russia are working together on fighter jets.
India having target dates of 2025-27 indicates that their domestic tank program will not be the focus of their true defence.
SOURCES – Sputnick , New Indian Express, Defense News, The Diplomat