In a major boost to the anti-terror operations in Jammu and Kashmir and along the Line of Control (LoC), the Indian Army has started inducting the US-made SiG Sauer assault rifle. Moreover, the Army has also received the first batch of supplies of the ammunition for its sniper rifles as more than 21 lakh rounds have been ordered from vendors. SiG Sauer assault rifles are expected to fulfil India's long-pending need for assault rifles. As quoted by news agency ANI, "the first lot of 10,000 SiG 716 assault rifles has arrived in India and has been sent to the Northern Command".
In order to increase the lethality of its Army, India signed a contract of acquiring 72,400 new assault rifles at a cost of Rs 700 crore with the United States. The Indian side has specifically requested for these new guns under fast-track procurement (FTP) and was promised to be supplied within one year of the signing of the contract.
SiG Sauer Assault rifles: Features
The SIG516 is a semi-automatic multi-calibre rifle which was initially manufactured for civilian use and law enforcement agencies. In the later stages, the assault rifle has been developed into selective-fired modes including single shot, 3 shot burst, full automatic modes. Further, the other variants were also developed including SIG 716 G2 which has also been ordered by India. One of the major upgrades that the SIG 716 G2 has from its earlier variants is that the latest rifle is loaded with a more powerful 7.62x51mm round in comparison to smaller, 5.56×45mm and 7.62×39mm rounds. Moreover, it is also equipped with a short-stroke pushrod gas system which helps reducing carbon fouling, excessive heat and unburned powder in the action ensures further improved reliability and function.
Why India is replacing existing INSAS assault rifles with SiG Sauer 716 G2?
Currently, India is extensively using its homemade INSAS assault rifles but there have been major issues with the functionality of the rifles. There have been multiple reports of jamming while in action. In fact, during the Kargil war, the Indian Army reported about the leakage of INSAS and the constant breaking of its safety switch. Further, the defence forces have complained about these rifles of being too noisy. Similarly, the Kalashnikov rifles, mostly the AK-47 has limited effective range, compromised accuracy as it lacks aiming capability.