Weeks after the Army rejected an indigenously-built assault rifle, the government has decided to speed up the procurement procedure for over 1.85 lakh high calibre guns to replace ageing INSAS rifles. The Army has been pressing for fast tracking the supply of the 7.62×51 mm guns and particularly sought immediate procurement of at least 65,000 rifles to enhance its fire power in border areas and in counter-terror operations. Already nearly 20 gun manufacturers including a number of foreign entities have responded to the request for information (RFI) for the assault guns and steps are being taken to move the procurement process speedily, official sources said.
Last month, the Army had rejected the 7.62×51 mm guns built by the state-run Rifle Factory, Ishaapore, citing poor quality and ineffective fire power. The Army is badly in need of the assault rifles and the contract for the guns is likely to be finalised in the next few months. Official sources said there were “excessive number of faults” in the guns manufactured by the rifle factory and “complete redesigning of the magazine” was needed to consider the guns to be used by the Army.
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The Army last year had rejected another indigenously- built assault rifle called the 5.56 mm Excalibur guns as it did not meet the required standards. In its RFI, the Army had specified effective range of the 7.62×51 mm guns at 500 metres, adding they should be as light as possible in weight. It had also mentioned that the guns should be capable of “fitting and firing” under barrel grenade launcher manufactured by Ordnance Factory, Trichy.