The Indian Army is looking for immediate purchase of thousands of light machine guns, assault rifles, and carbines. The Indian government intends to make these purchases under the ‘Make in India’ route involving transfer of technology to local firms by global vendors.
As part of its plan for a major overhaul of its infantry weapons, the Indian Army has issued a request for information (RFI) for the purchase of 45000 light machine gun (LMG) having an effective range of more than 800 meters. The Indian Army is particularly interested in 7.62mm x 51mm LMGs capable of achieving an accuracy of over three minutes of angle up to a range of minimum 800 meters.
“The total quantity required is approximately 45000 LMG out of which the immediate requirement is of approximate quantity 9,000. The 9,000 LMG should be delivered within four months to twenty-eight months from the day of the signing of the contract,” an Indian Army official said.
The tender of the requirement is expected to be issued in May next year. The Indian government intends to ensure local production of the LMG and has therefore asked global manufacturers to indicate the minimum quantity of weapons with which, ‘Transfer of Technology’ can be offered.
Experts are of the opinion that local production of small arms is yet to pick up the pace in India as the state-owned Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO) lacks adequate support from the services. “DRDO lacks adequate support from the services and is also not accountable for the commitments made. Thus, while it has promised much and also produced equipment for trials, this has not fulfilled the General Staff Qualitative Requirement (GSQR). There should be intimate cooperation between the DRDO and the Indian Army to design and develop small arms to overcome this anomaly, which hopefully, the new Army Design Bureau may be able to overcome,” Rahul Bhonsle, Brigadier (Retd.) of the Indian Army told Sputnik.
Apart from the LMG, the Indian Army is also expected to soon issue the global tender for 770000 assault rifles and 44618 carbines. Industry people indicate that all these procurement would cost approximately $6 billion to the Indian government.
Sputnik had reported in August this year that an earlier tender floated by the Indian government for procurement of LMG was withdrawn due to a single vendor situation. This was the third major tender the Indian government had to cancel after the cancellation of tenders for close quarter battle carbine and assault rifles.