India plans to procure 1,700 Future Ready Combat Vehicles to replace T-72M Ajeya tanks

According to a Request for Information (RFI) published by the Indian MoD (Ministry of Defense) on June 1, 2021, India would like to procure 1,700 Future Ready Combat Vehicles (FRCVs) that would replace the old Russian designed T-72M/M1 Ajeya MBTs (Main Battle Tanks).
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Improved version of T-72M1 Ajeya main battle tank. (Picture source India MoD)

According to the technical requirements published by the Indian MoD (Ministry of Defense), the Future Ready Combat Vehicle (FRCV) must have the capabilities to operate in a wide range of terrains in road and off-road conditions such as high altitude areas, plains as well as deserts.

The main armament of the FRCV will be able to destroy different types of land targets including MBTs (Main Battle Tanks), armored vehicles, unmanned aerial vehicles, and helicopters. The new vehicle must be fitted with a remotely operated weapon station and anti-aircraft combat equipment to counter UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles).

Standard onboard equipment of the FRCV must include new modern technologies as artificial intelligence, stealth features and can operate in a network-centric and electronic warfare environment.

According to Indian military sources, the FRCV will replace the T-72M1 Ajeya MBTs, but T-90S and Arjun MBTs will remain in service.

According to the military balance 2020, the Indian army operates around 3,565 MBTs including 122 Arjun, 2,418 T-72M/M1 Ajeya, 1,025 T-90S, and 1,100 tanks of various models in store.

The T-72M1 Ajeya is a Soviet-made upgraded version of T-72 MBT produced under license in India since 1978. The tank is an export variant of the Russian T-72 which is armed with one 125 mm 2A46M cannon using a carousel automatic loading system with 24 rounds ready to fire.

As well as firing standard 125 mm ammunition such as Armor-Piercing Fin Stabilized Discarding Sabot - Tracer (APFSDS-T) and high-explosive fragmentation, it can also fire a laser-guided High Explosive Anti-Tank (HEAT) missile at a maximum range of 5,000 m. The latest version of the missile has a tandem HEAT warhead to defeat targets with explosive reactive armor.