NEW DELHI --- The Indian Ministry of Defense has launched a slew of new procurement programs aimed at outfitting the country's Army with light machine guns, assault rifles and sniper rifles, as well as advanced torpedo decoy systems for the Navy's warships. The MoD particularly seeks to fast-track the acquisition of light machine guns under a procedure estimated at $285 million.
The Defense Acquisition Council (DAC), which sits atop the military procurement hierarchy, gave its approval for the procurement of 740,000 assault rifles. These are to be produced by the state-owned Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) and private defense companies under the Buy & Make (India) procurement category focusing on domestic design and production. This procurement is estimated at $1.91 billion.
The purchase of 5,719 sniper rifles for both the Army and Air Force is estimated at $153.43 million. India is looking outside its own domestic sector at an off-the-shelf solution via foreign vendors such as the U.S. firm Colt, Beretta of Italy, Czeska Zbrojovka of the Czech Republic, Rosoboronexport of Russia, and Israel Weapons Industries (IWI) from Israel.
The crucial acquisition in all of these is for new assault rifles. The Indian Army utilizes the homemade INSAS (Indian Small Arms System) 5.56mm rifle, the Russian Kalashnikov 7.62mm AK-47, and the IWI 5.56mm Tavor. The Indian Army is seeking new rifles of 7.62x51mm caliber.