The long-awaited decision on the close-quarter-battle carbines (CQB), worth $130 million, will be taken by the new government. Sources confirmed to the Financial Express Online that, “The Oversight Committee has already submitted its report to the Ministry of Defence (MoD) urging a re-look at the requirement for the CQBs.” After a series of representations from the Ministry of Defence of UAE and the Caracal Company, there was a series of meetings in New Delhi last week between Company officials and senior Indian MoD officials, added sources who wished to remain anonymous.
Explaining the break-up for the CQB deal, a senior officer clarified that the actual deal is for $130 million and if the life cycle costs for fifteen years is included as well spares it totals to $530 million almost a lakh plus CQBs. The procurement of the CQBs for the modernization of the Infantry arm of the Indian Army was put on the Fast Track Procurement (FTP) process. This means that there is no step involving the general staff evaluation, and after critical trials based on operational requirements, within one year the signing of the contract deliveries will start. It’s already been one year of the UAE based company being declared L1.
From the start, questions have been raised on the UAE-based Caracal Company despite its meeting all requirements as indicated in the request for proposal (RfP). It was declared L1 after it cleared the commercial negotiating committee (CNC), Acceptance Test Procedure report, and other documents which are required by the MoD. The company it seems has also agreed to make the carbines in India under Make in India initiative and is in discussions with Bharat Forge Company. The trials for both the assault rifles and the CQBs were carried out simultaneously in different terrains in and home bases of the companies which had responded to the RfP. The trials were carried out with Indian ammunition. The Assault Rifle contract has been awarded to the US-based SIG Sauer’s SiG 716 for 72,000 new automatic rifles.”
There is urgency in the Indian Army to replace the outdated Indian National Small Arms System (INSAS) which has critical reliability issues and is putting at risk the lives of the soldiers. Some companies which were competing along with the UAE company had at the initial stage raised their objections to the MoD.
Only very recently, as has been reported earlier by the Financial Express Online, the Company through its New Delhi based embassy had addressed the concerns raised and clarified that it is a state-owned and is part of Emirates Defense Industrial Company (EDIC) and is also a NATO compliant company with facilities available in countries including Germany, Algeria in North Africa and in the USA. The Indian Army has a critical requirement of close to nine lakh CQBs, trials for which were carried in different terrains both in and outside India and with Indian ammunition