Army’s RFI for tanks not in conflict with DRDO project: Parrikar

New Delhi, Aug 4 (IANS) The army’s invitation of proposals for buy tanks from international market is not in conflict with DRDO’s programme of making Arjun tanks, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar told parliament on Tuesday.

The army had recently floated a Request for Indent (RFI) for “Future Ready Combat Vehicles” (FRCV), while Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) is working on a project to develop the next generation of Arjun tanks, a similar project.

Parrikar, in a written reply to Rajya Sabha, said the proposals invited by the army are “for a design competition to identify innovative design options which will form the base for a combat vehicle platform”.

He also said that there are plans to subsequently develop other need-based variants on this platform, if found suitable.

“These platforms (FRCVs) are to meet the futuristic requirements of the services beyond 2027 and are not in conflict with the current MBT Arjun Programme and its future orders,” he clarified.

The minister also said that the DRDO has “successfully completed” project for development of Main Battle Tank (MBT) Arjun in March 1995, with delivery of 12 prototypes and 15 pre-production series (PPS) tanks.

Giving further details, the minister said initial sanctioned cost of the Arjun tanks project was Rs.15.50 crore in 1974, which was revised to Rs.56.55 crore in 1980.

A realistic estimate could be done in 1987 at Rs.280.80 crore and accordingly DRDO obtained a sanction based on firmed up General Staff Qualitative Requirement (GSQR-467) and revised scope of the project.

Finally, the project was completed in March 1995 at a total revised cost of Rs.305.60 Crore.

He also said that two regiments of MBT Arjun Mk-I have been raised and operationalised.

“Out of total indented quantity of 124 numbers, 122 MBT Arjun Mk-I have been produced and inducted into army,” he said.

“Acceptance of Necessity (AoN) for quantity 118 for MBT Arjun Mk-II is in place,” the minister added.

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