The Indian Army has decided to arm its infantry with new Light Machine Guns (LMG), assault rifles and battle carbines. The total upgrade cost is reportedly estimated to be around Rs 40,000cr and this procurement would eventually replace all the ageing weapons.
The plan is to acquire over 40,000 LMG's, 7 lakh assault rifles and nearly 44,600 carbines, PTI reported quoting official sources.
Army's ambitious weapon replacement project with latest light weight automated combat machine guns comes in the wake of threats from the neighbouring countries.
The Indian government has reportedly asked Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) to expedite its work on various small arms, specifically on LMGs.
Earlier the defence ministry had scrapped the tender for 7.62 calibre guns as only one vendor was left after a series of field trials. Following this, a Right For Information (RFI) will be issued soon to trace the number of vendors who can possibly fulfil the Indian Army's need of automated light weight ammunition, the agency reported.
The army has also finalised the specifications for the 7.62 mm assault rifles to be procured to which the defence ministry is most likely to give a go ahead soon. Meanwhile, the initial plan is to procure around 10,000 light weight machine guns.
A senior official who is a part of the procurement process said, "The General Service Quality Requirements (GSQR) for the new assault rifle has been finalized. The procurement plan will soon be placed before the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) for approval."
The procurement process has long been pending as the army failed to finalise its requirements in terms of assault weapons.
The Army reportedly requires around 7 lakh 7.62x51 mm assault guns to replace its Indian New Small Arms System (INSAS) rifles.
"The infantry modernisation plan is a major initiative of the Army and it will significantly bolster the overall capability of the foot soldiers," said a senior Army official.