Tata Motors has set aside 16 acres exclusively for its Futuristic Infantry Combat Vehicles (FICV) project at Dharwad, Karnataka.

The combat vehicles, leveraged from the strength in design and development of a wide range of commercial vehicles, has enabled the company to cover the entire defence mobility spectrum.

The new unit is to have a capacity of 200 vehicles a year.

The company is to invest around Rs 600 crore for the development of the combat vehicles and to set up the manufacturing plant.

“Though a lot of work has already gone into developmental activities for the FICV at Pune, we are hopeful to commence project development at our Dharwad facility soon.

“We have dedicated funds for the FICV project,” said a spokesperson of Tata Motors.

Revenue from the defence business was about Rs 1,000 crore in 2011-12, up 50 per cent over the last year.

Tata Motors is looking at 25-35 per cent growth in the current fiscal.

The knowledge and experience gained through the developmental projects has inspired Tata Motors to become a full-fledged Defence OEM in Land Systems with ‘System and System Integration’ (SOSI) capability.

“This was one of the reasons for Tata Motors to bid for the FICV project.

“We are one among four companies to have received expression of interest (EOI) to supply around 2,000 units of indigenous infantry combat vehicles,” the official added.

With defence requirements on the rise in several States, especially in Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Bihar, MP and Maharashtra, the need for armoured vehicles by the CRPF and other Central paramilitary forces has also precipitated.

Demand from J&K and North Eastern States has also increased.

Tata Motors is striving to serve the need through the supply of Light Armoured Troop Carriers, Light Bullet Proof Vehicles and Mine Protected Vehicles.

Tata Motors current market share in the wheeled military segment is approximately 40 per cent, and in the internal security is 75 per cent.

“We work very closely with the DRDO (Defence Research and Development Organisation) on the potential needs of the forces,” said the spokesperson.

The company is also in the exploratory stage of entering the West Asian market for its defence vehicles.

amritanair.ghaswalla@thehindu.co.in

(This article was published on August 27, 2012)
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