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India inks Rs 900cr deal for 16,000 Israeli LMGs

Defense deals

Approx Read Time: 5 minutes

In News:

  • India has signed a Rs 880 crore deal to acquire 16,479 Israeli light machine guns (LMGs) for its frontline troops deployed on the borders with China and Pakistan.

News Summary: Defense deals

  • India has now signed a Rs 880 crore deal to acquire 16,479 7.62×51 mm Israeli light machine guns (LMGs) for its frontline troops deployed on the borders with China and Pakistan.
  • The Negev LMGs will greatly enhance the lethality and range of soldiers as compared to their existing weapons.
  • The Negev LMGs, however, will fulfil only part of the overall requirement for well over 43,000 such guns for the Army, IAF and Navy.
  • The shortfall is expected to be made through a Make in India project.

About: Negev 7.62×51 mm LMGs

  • The NEGEV NG7 7.62 mm caliber light machine gun (LMG) was developed by the Israeli Weapon Industries (IWI).
  • The NEGEV NG7 includes a semi-automatic firing mode that enables accurate fire in combat situations, including ambush, Close Quarter Battle (CQB), and when shooting via telescope.
  • In automatic mode, its rate of fire is over 700 bullets per minute. It also has the single bullet firing capability.
  • Exceptionally lightweight (weighing less than 8 kg), it can be fired from a variety of mounts, including special mounts on helicopters, land vehicles, and naval vessels.

Background:

  • Light machine guns (LMGs) have been a long-standing requirement for the Indian armed forces, first demanded by the Army over a decade ago.
  • The Army had first asked for new assault rifles and close-quarter battle carbines for its 382 infantry battalions (with 850 soldiers each) way back in 2005, while the case for the LMGs was initiated in 2009.
  • But the long-drawn procurement projects were repeatedly scrapped due to graft allegations or unrealistic technical parameters as well as the lack of indigenous options for well over a decade.
  • Then, the government in 2018 decided to procure limited quantities of assault rifles (72,400), close-quarter battle carbines (93,895) and LMGs (16,479) for frontline troops from abroad.
  • It was decided that the shortfalls will be eventually manufactured in India with lesser technical specifications and parameters at a later stage.

Assault rifles:

  • In February 2019, a contract was signed for 72,400 assault rifles from US firm SiG Sauer for Rs 638 crore.
  • Inductions of these 7.62x51mm caliber rifles are almost complete now.
  • These US-origin rifles have an “effective range” of 500-metre.

AK-203 rifles to be Made in India:

  • The Korwa ordnance factory in Uttar Pradesh is slated to progressively manufacture 7,45,000 Kalashnikov AK-203 rifles in a joint venture with Russia.
  • These 7.62×39 mm caliber rifles, a derivative of the iconic AK-47, have “an effective range” of 300-metre.
Defense deals

Also Read: Editorial Analysis: Spend money to save the poor

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