Company Eyeing Major FICV Competition
Tata Motors announced on 23 December it is likely to sign a contract for 3,192 SAFARI STORME SUVs for the Indian army in the near future. The vehicles are destined to replace the ubiquitous Maruti GYPSY that has been in service for decades; observers assume this is an initial order only, since over 35,000 GYPSY vehicles will need to be replaced.
Vernon Noronha, Vice President, Defence Business at Tata, was quoted in local press reports as saying that an initial draft contract is being exchanged. Tata’s proposal seems to have offered the army a better deal than Mahindra, the only other down-selected contender. The army requirement is for a diesel-powered hardtop vehicle with air conditioning; possible variants for future procurement have not as yet been discussed.
Earlier in 2016 Tata won a RS1,300 crore (U$190 million) contract to supply the Indian army with high-mobility trucks.
The company also has its eyes firmly set on the army’s Future Infantry Combat Vehicle (FICV), an almost Rs70,000 crore ($10.3 billion) project for which the government will fund 80% of the development cost. Two of the five contenders (plus, it seems, the Ordnance Factory Board), will be selected to build a prototype. The contenders are L&T, Mahindra, Pipavav Defence & Offshore Engineering, a Tata Motors/Bharat Forge consortium, and another formed by Tata Power SED and Titagarh Wagons.