The Indian Army is proceeding with another attempt to procure much-needed new generation assault rifles and carbines, following approval by the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) in January for the purchase of 72,400 assault rifles and 93,895 carbines. The DAC, which is led by Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, approved the procurement of the weapons on fast track basis for ₹3,547 crore to meet an immediate requirement for the infantry.
According to the Ministry of Defence, the Army had finalised the General Staff Qualitative Requirements (GSQRs) for new assault rifles in July, 2017. Approximately 1,85,000 assault rifles, with an initial requirement for 65,000 of them, increased to 72,400 by the DAC. The assault rifles being sought by the army must have the ability to integrate the Indian in-service Under Barrel Grenade Launcher (UBGL) manufactured by Indian Ordnance Factory. The new assault rifles will have to remain in service for at least 25-30 years.
The Army requires 4,00,000 5.56 mm carbines. While the immediate requirement was for 83,000 carbines, the DAC has approved the purchase of almost 94,000. Close Quarter Battle (CQB) carbines must weigh less than 3kg and be of modular design.
A Request for Information (RFI) has also been issued for 7.62mm x 51mm light machine guns (LMGs), sniper rifles and anti-material rifles. The RFP for the LMG requirement is slated to be issued in May 2018 and the total requirement is for 45,000 LMGs. T