In June last year, 12 companies supplying main battle tanks received requests for information (RFIs) from the Indian government. The RFIs related to the supply of about 1,770 new tanks for the Indian Army under a programme dubbed the Future Ready Combat Vehicle (FRCV).
In the works for over a decade, the FRCV envisages the replacement of the Indian Army’s fleet of Soviet-era T-72 tanks. The first of the new tanks are intended to enter service by 2030 and will feature advanced networking capabilities to communicate with both land and air forces. The value of the FRCV contract was earlier estimated to be around $5 billion. France’s Nexter was one of the companies to receive the RFI, along with firms in Russia, Israel, Europe, Turkey and the US.
Last week, the French government informed the National Assembly, the country’s lower house of Parliament, it would support Nexter’s industrial proposal for India. The FRCV project envisions manufacturing of the selected tank in India with a ‘strategic partner’.
The French government’s response was published on December 28 and came in response to a question from Nicolas Dupont-Aignan, a deputy in the National Assembly. Asking about India’s FRCV project, Dupont-Aignan had called for resuming production of Nexter’s existing Leclerc tank. The French Army had inducted a total of 406 Leclerc tanks by the mid-2000s. The Leclerc has also been exported to the UAE, which donated dozens of the type to Jordan.
In his question, Dupont-Aignan pointed out that France was modernising only around 200 Leclerc tanks for use until 2040.