New Delhi: The Indian Defence Forces will be equipped with more advanced rifles. India’s Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) cleared procurement of 72,400 assault rifles and 93,895 carbines on fast track basis for US$ 555 million to enable the defence Forces to meet their immediate requirement for the troops deployed on the borders. Both deals had been repeatedly cancelled in the past.
With the new assault rifle considered, the Indian army will abandon the 5,56 mm calibre of the local-made INSAS to go back to the 7,62 mm calibre that left so positive memories at the time the FN FAL was in service.
The primary weapon for the army is the assault rifle and the army in the request for proposal (RFP) has specified that it should have an effective range of 500 m. Experts said that this is a perfect range for such a weapon because anything beyond this changes the trajectory of the bullet due to the wind effect.
The rifle will fire 7.62x41mm rounds and should weigh less than 4kg. This caliber is more lethal than the 5.56mm caliber INSAS rifle being currently used by the army. The 7.62mm ammunition has longer range and better accuracy. Let’s recall that the Indian army used the Belgian-designed FN FAL during decades, a weapon firing 7.62mm rounds.
The Indian defense ministry stated that, to encourage participation of the private sector in defense design and production, and to give a boost to the ‘Make in India’ programme, the Council also introduced significant changes in the ‘Make II’ category of the Defense Procurement Procedure.
Considering that no government funding is involved in ‘Make II’ project, the revised procedure will now allow the Ministry of Defence to accept suo-motu proposals (meaning act of its own motion) from the industry and also allows start-ups to develop equipment for Indian Armed Forces.
The minimum qualification criteria to participate in ‘Make II’ projects has also been relaxed by removing conditions related to credit rating etc. As per the earlier ‘Make II’ procedure, only two vendors were shortlisted to develop prototype equipment. Now, all vendors meeting the relaxed eligibility criteria will be allowed to participate in the prototype development process.