Chennai, Sep 28: The Combat Vehicles Research and Development Establishment (CVRDE) at Avadi near here has started developing unmanned infantry combat vehicle for carrying troops as a precursor to developing unmanned Future Main Battle Tank (FMBT) by 2020.
Talking to mediapersons on the sidelines of SAE India Students Convention, organised by the SRM University at its campus in suburban Kattankulathur, here last evening, CVRDE Director S Sundaresh said robotic technology was being incorporated in the Russian Infantry Combat Vehicles (BMP Vehicles), which was being manufactured at Medak Plant using Russian technology.
A man base vehicle would control three unmanned vehicles to be used for surveillance, to detect Nuclear, Biological and Chemical weapons and mines.
The manned BMP vehicles being used by the Army would be converted into unmanned teleoperated autonomous vehicle, the prototype of which was demonstrated to the participants of the convention.
''We have undertaken the project last year and a full-fledged vehicle will be handed over to Army in four years' time. We are planning to hand it over to Army by 2011 for field tests, after which we will take up full scale production,'' he added.
''The total project cost for this project is Rs 60 crore and we are hopeful that the tanks will be inducted in Army by 2011,'' Mr Sundaresh said. Explaining the advantages of the vehicle, the CVRDE director said these vehicles could be used in any kind of terrain and in the future these vehicles would decide its own combat strategy.
The number of orders would be more as the Army plans to replace all the manned vehicles with the unmanned ones,'' he added.
The unmanned vehicles would be a precursor to CVRDE's plan to work on an unmanned battle tank, which was expected to be realised in 2020, Mr Sundaresh said.
''This is only a first step towards achieving that goal.
We will be incorporating various technology, including robotics, in the existing BMP vehicles used by Army. The field tests using robotics will be carried out at CVRDE, Avadi, by the end of next year,'' he said and added that such 90-tonne class vehicles, suitable for all terrains, were at present being developed only by Israel.
Mr Sundaresh said CVRDE has also initiated the process of developing Future Main Battle Tanks (FMBTs) taking into account the future requirements of the Army. ''It will be a much advanced version which will have sophisticated technology, including tank-to-tank combat and can also be deployed for counter-insurgency operations to handle terrorism,'' he added.
''It is being developed keeping in mind the future scenario.
The initial work has started. We are yet to get the specifications from the Army. The FMBT, a manned one, would be ready by 2020,'' he said.
In this context, Mr Sundaresh said the Research and Development Establishment (Engineers), Pune was developing a small size combat vehicle which would break in buildings and places where big tanks could not enter. This vehicle could be used during counter insurgency measures to counter terrorism.
SRM University Vice-Chancellor Prof P Sathyanarayanan presented the awards to meritorious students and said students from several colleges and Universities in the country participated in various events of the Convention and demonstrated their skills.