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OFB, DRDO working on futuristic infantry combat vehicle

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KOLKATA (PTI): The Ordnance Factory Board (OFB), in collaboration with DRDO, is developing a futuristic infantry combat vehicle (FICV) for the Army, which may see the light of day in three to five years.

The Army at present has the infantry personnel carrier with a 30 mm gun - the BMP II.

The FICV will have advanced features that were in the drawing board stage a few years back, OFB Chairman Hari Mohan told reporters at a press conference here.

Mohan said the OFB and Defence Research and Development Organisation, which were earlier working separately on the FICV, are now joining hands to develop it.

"It is an evolving product; features will keep developing for the FICV," he said.

"Depending upon interaction with Army officials...when the product comes to an acceptable stage and the Army gives its nod, production will start. It will be tentatively named Mark I," Mohan said.

While Mark I of FICV is expected in three to five years, Mark II may be visible in the horizon in five to 10 years, the OFB chairman said.

He said the biggest advantage of the FICV is almost everything is being developed within the country.

"There may be some very small sub-systems which we will be importing now...," Mohan said.

An OFB official said the new FICV will have enhanced firepower, including an auto grenade launcher with a range of 1,500 metres and anti-tank guided missile capability, which launches missiles at a range of 4,000 metres with automated command.

It will also have a gun control system integrated with a thermal imager fire control system, the official said.

Mohan said with the Union government focusing on export of defence products, the OFB is aiming at Rs 500-crore worth of exports in the next two to three years.

"Defence exports stood at Rs 15 crore-20 crore two to three years back. It rose to Rs 240 crore last year," he added.

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