NEW DELHI: India signed the long pending contract for important Assault Rifles on Tuesday. The contract for 72, 400 rifles has been signed with the US firm Sig Sauer US under fast track procurement (FTP).
The entire quantity of rifle would be delivered within 12 months of the date of signing of the contract. These new assault Rifles will come at a cost of 647 crore.
The Indian Armed Forces are currently using INSAS 5.56 mm rifle. An urgent requirement was felt to replace the current rifle with a reliable and more lethal 7.62mm calibre rifles.
Acceptance of Necessity (AON) for these was accorded by the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) in January 2018. Out of the 72, 400 rifles, Army will get 66, 400, Indian Navy will be given 2000 rifles and Air Force will be given 4000 rifles.
Defence Analyst Major General SB Asthana (Retd) considers it as a welcome step. He says, “It is world class, reliable rifle. These are being acquired as a priority to the soldiers actively involved anti-terror operations and for those serving at the Line of Control in eyeball confrontation with adversary.” Talking about the other requirement of the infantry weapons General Asthana added: “I am sure government will also look into the state of the art LMG and Carbine requirement also in due course.”
Army has been working to acquire about 7 lakh rifles, 44, 000 Light Machine Guns (LMGs) and nearly 44,600 carbines since 2017.