Army to modernise weapons on war footing, will give hi-tech rifles to soldiers

Source:-Army to modernise weapons on war footing, will give hi-tech rifles to soldiers

Seeking to equip its soldiers with advanced weapons to combat terrorists, the Indian Army is planning to buy more than three lakh assault rifles and close quarter carbines at a cost of around Rs 10,000 crore from global vendors.

“Two separate proposals for buying more than two lakh assault rifles and over one lakh close quarter carbines for infantrymen who will use them along the Line of Control (LoC) and in counter-terrorism operations in Jammu and Kashmir and Northeastern states are being moved before the defence ministry for clearance in the coming weeks,” a government source told MAIL TODAY

The proposal, which will be processed through the fast track procurement route by the Army, would be considered at a high level meeting of the defence ministry which will take a final call on how to proceed on the ambitious Army project, the source said.

The Army has been looking to buy these guns after several failed attempts but is hopeful that the project would finally go through in the coming times. Sources said the Army earlier had a requirement of more than eight lakh such assault rifles but due to the high cost of procurement involved, the plan was shelved and the requirement for foreign-made rifles was cut down.

“It has now been decided that more than two lakh rifles would be procured from foreign vendors while the rest would be acquired from Indian manufacturers who would build the gun based on DRDO designs,” a source said.

The logic behind curtailing the requirement is that not all troops are engaged in battle at one point of time and therefore, only the infantry and Rashtriya Rifles troops would get the imported and advanced assault rifles while other troops in the rear would get the locally-made rifles.

The new assault rifles of 7.62 mm caliber would replace the indigenously manufactured INSAS-1B1 rifles manufactured by the Ordnance Factory Board as the Army has not been happy with them. Army sources said the 5.56mm caliber INSAS rifles were not proving to be very effective against terrorists and troops fighting in Kashmir and Northeast had to rely majorly on Kalashinikovs acquired from Russia and East European countries.

Once approved, international companies manufacturing rifles, including the Israeli Weapon Industry (IWI), American Berretta, Colt, Swiss Sig Sauer and Czech Bren would be contacted. During an earlier attempt to buy the rifles, the tender had to be scrapped due to stringent requirements as it had asked vendors to submit proposals about guns with twin-barrels, including one for close combat terror and the other for carrying out duties in peaceful areas.

The procurement of close quarter carbines is also important as they will be used to equip troops for close combat scenarios with terrorists or enemy troops. The effort to buy carbines from foreign vendors have not yielded any result since 2008 as a case was scrapped by the defence ministry in 2016 due to a single vendor situation whereas the contract had started with as many as 27 vendors.

In the final round, one of the contenders was eliminated due to a very minor and inconsequential issue and the then defence minister decided against going forward with the project.

The hunt for close quarter carbines will be relaunched now with the Army already having rejected the DRDO designed and developed excalibur rifle. The Army has to replace the British-origin Sterling 1A1 submachine guns

 

 

 

 

 

SOURCE: INDIA TODAY

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