The DRDO is developing futuristic infantry combat vehicle (ICV) Abhay ("Fearlessā" in Sanskrit) as a technology demonstrator for replacement of BMP-II vehicle, which are presently in service. Abhay ICV has taken best of BMP and western equipment and will be designed for more firepower. Various systems of this vehicle are in advanced stage of development.
It will be capable of carrying a complement of 3 + 7, with a 40mm AGL, a 30mm or 40mm cannon, an ATGW launcher with 4 Nag ATGM rounds and the same kanchan armour as Arjun. Other sources suggest that the missiles on the Abhay wont be Nags. The Nag is a heavy ATGM designed for the Namica. The ATGM's for the Abhay will be FLAME compatible- ie Milan2T's /Konkurs M. The Abhay will have limited amphibious ability, like the PT76.
The Abhay seems to have a good chance because it is low tech, doesn't seem to have any competitors, might have a bit more political and military backing, and seems to have gotten of to a good start. Abhay has good chance because the MOD and government have categorically ruled out importing the BMP-3. A lot of R&D effort and lessoned learned from the Arjun MBT is being utilized in Abhay ICV. The first prototype of futuristic infantry combat vehicle (ICV)- Abhay, as a technology demonstrator, has been realised with indigenous automotive systems including state-of-the-art hydro-pneumatic suspension system. Indigenously developed composite, titanium and high hardened armour steel have been used for desired protection levels. The turret incorporates a mix of weapon systems backed up by indigenous fire control and gun control systems to destroy potential targets.
An all-electric type weapon control system with independent stabilisation has been developed indigenously by DRDO in association with private sector industry for the turret of Infantry Combat Vehicle (ICV), Abhay. The purpose of all-electric drive (AED) is to position the 40 mm main gun of Abhay on to the target in azimuth and elevation and to provide twin-axis stabilisation to the weapon platform against external disturbances.
It is an electromechanical system, which uses brush-less drives with especially designed backlash free elevation and traverse gearboxes coupled to turret ring for rotation in azimuth, and to sector gear for elevation/depression of gun, respectively. The system employs vector control technology implemented through digital controllers and insulated gate bipolar transistor (IGBT)-based power amplifiers for control of brush-less drives. It uses state-of-the-art fibre optic gyros as feedback elements for the purpose of stabilisation. AED has a provision for MIL 1553 and RS 422 interface for real-time connectivity with Fire Control System and Battlefield Management System. It has been interfaced with a combined day-cum-night sight integrated to Laser Range Finder for the purpose of aiming at targets. The system has excellent accuracy levels comparable with contemporary systems.
The system has been tested on board vehicle on cross-country and has been successfully test fired on static targets. Being an indigenous development, AED can be suitably configured to drive and stabilise similar weapons/allied platforms.
The first trials of the Indian-developed Abhay ICV started at the end of 2000. By 2001 the design work for the technology demonstrator of Abhay had been completed and the fabrication of hull and turret for the first mild steel prototype is under progress. By 2004 the Light Combat Aircraft development program, Kaveri engine development program, Electronic Warfare program for Army and Navy and Futuristic infantry Combat Vehicle (ICV- Abhay) were some important projects/programs of Defence Research and Development Organisation suffered delay due to the imposition of sanctions.
The set back was overcome through indigenous effort by pooling national talents, third country source development initiative and design adaptation. As part of the national effort thrust for research, indigenous development of components, materials and sub-systems, as national effort in on. The sanctions still remained in force partially at the end of 2004.
The father of the Army's Arjun tank, Mr. M Natarajan, appointed chief of the DRDO in August 2004, is working on the Abhay, the ICV. Speaking after being formally appointed, he saaid: "The Abhay is under development. We see it as the future infantry combat vehicle for the Army. It will be a replacement for the Russian made BMPs that the Army has. It should be ready in two years." he said. The ICV provides the infantry with protection and helps it move quickly in battle, keeping in step with the tanks.
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