Indian Army’s wait for close-quarter-battle carbines continues

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New Delhi | Published: April 11, 2019 8:07:00 PM

The trials for these CQBs were carried out simultaneously with the trials for the Assault Rifles and in both cases the UAE Company had cleared the tests.

Indian Army, Ministry of Defence, Oversight Committee, Caracal, Fast Track Procurement, Indian Army Infantry, Commercial Negotiating Committee, defence newsThe trials for these CQBs were carried out simultaneously with the trials for the Assault Rifles and in both cases the UAE Company had cleared the tests. (PTI)

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) has urged the Oversight Committee to submit its report on the close-quarter-battle carbines (CQB), worth $ 553.33 million, for which UAE based Caracal, was down selected after extensive trials.

Sources have confirmed to the Financial Express Online that, the MoD which in an effort to modernise the Indian Army’s Infantry had put the procurement of the CQBs on the Fast Track Procurement (FTP) process. Under the FTP process there is no major general staff evaluation and the entire process is expected to be completed in a year, which is based on operational requirements. Within one year of inking the contract the deliveries will have to start.

No final decision has been taken for the procurement for 93,895 CQBs which has been running into delays, despite the UAE Company submitting and meeting all requirements mentioned in the request for proposal (RfP).

“The company has already been declared as L1, gone through the Commercial Negotiating Committee (CNC), the Acceptance Test Procedure report, and other related documents have already been submitted to the MoD,” said the source cited above. Also, the Company has even agreed to make them in India for which it is in advance stage of discussions with Bharat Forge.

The trials for these CQBs were carried out simultaneously with the trials for the Assault Rifles and in both cases the UAE Company had cleared the tests. While the assault rifle procurement has already been awarded to the US based SIG Sauer’s SiG 716 which was ‘L1’ for 72,000 new automatic rifles, decision for the CQB is getting delayed.

According to industry sources, it is up to the Service Headquarters if they want the CQBs from Caracal or would they prefer to wait for home made CQBs. “Whether the MoD decides to scrap the deal and go for fresh RfP or it decides to make in India, the infantry man continues to use outdated Indian National Small Arms System (INSAS) which has critical reliability issues,” a senior army officer pointed out.

As has been reported earlier, Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) has yet to receive the report from the Oversight Committee, which should have given it last month. Since the procurement has to be fast tracked, the Committee must submit within three days to a month, explain officials. With growing tensions along the borders, the lives of the soldiers are at risk as they are using the outdated INSAS.

Some companies who had failed to make the cut had raised objections with the MoD against the company. And to address these concerns, as reported earlier, the company in a letter to the MoD clarified that not only is it NATO compliant but is also a state owned company and Caracal International is part of Emirates Defense Industrial Company EDIC). And added that it has manufacturing capabilities in countries like German, Algeria in North Africa and in USA and North America.

The Infantry needs more than seven lakh CQBs, which has been urging the MoD to fast track the procurement. The trials carried out were extensive in nature both as the home base of the companies who had responded to the RfP as well as in India in different terrains with Indian ammunition.

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