The Indian Army is seeking to procure 1,770 multipurpose future ready combat vehicles (FRCV) to replace its force of T-72 main battle tanks (MBTs). According to a report by the Indian Times, Russian T-14 Armata FRCV is one of the key contenders for the deal that will possibly have a value of more than $4.5 billion.
The global request for information, issued by the Indian Ministry of Defense was issued in November 2017. This is all part of a plan to induct hundreds of armored vehicles similar to the Russian T-14 Armata, Ukrainian Oplot, and South Korean K2 Black Panther main battle tanks. According to the proposed procurement plan, the FRCVs will be manufactured in India by a private company in collaboration with the overseas original equipment manufacturer. Currently, Russian-made equipment forms the backbone of the Indian army’s armored and mechanized infantry units.
On October 1st, Indian Army Chief General Bipin Rawat started his six-day visit to Russia in an attempt to improve the bilateral strategic partnership. The General’s visit includes tours of the Mikhailovskaya Artillery Military Academy, the Headquarters of Western Military District in St. Petersburg and General Staff Academy. “The visit is yet another milestone in giving impetus to the strategic partnership between India and Russia and taking forward the military to military cooperation to the next level,” the Indian Ministry of Defense said in a statement.
According to Indian defense sources, bilateral meetings between the Indian and Russian top brasses will also include discussions of Russia’s “Armata” universal chassis system, which serves as a platform for over a dozen different tracked vehicles. These vehicles include a self-propelled artillery howitzer, an armored military engineering vehicle, as well as the T-15 heavy infantry fighting vehicle and the T-14 Armata MBT.
The Indian general is also likely to discuss the maintenance and lifecycle support of Russian-made military platforms in India.
The Army Chief’s visit coincides with an annual bilateral summit scheduled for October 5th in New Delhi, during which defense deals worth over $10 billion are likely to be signed, according to Sputnik.
The US has threatened to impose economic sanctions on India under the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) should New Delhi proceed with the induction of the Russian-made S-400 air defense systems. In September, the US imposed sanctions on the People’s Liberation Army Equipment Development Department for the procurement of S-400 systems and Sukhoi Su-35S fourth generation fighter jet.
Nevertheless, there is the possibility that India will be issued a waiver as the U.S. National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) grants the incumbent U.S. administration authority to waive mandatory sanctions under CAATSA in certain circumstances pertaining to Russian legacy systems that costs less than $15 million. However, neither the S-400 nor the “Armata” chassis system, including the T-14MBT, can be classified as such.