India Army will soon get the deadly Carl Gustaf shoulder-fired anti-tank weapon which will be made in India by the Swedish defence major, Saab. After fulfilling the Indian Army’s orders, the company has plans to export these to the rest of the world.
On Tuesday, the Swedish company announced its plans to set up a fully owned production facility in India to manufacture the state of the art Carl Gustaf shoulder-fired anti-tank weapon. This according to company officials will be the first such production facility outside Sweden for this weapon system, which is the mainstay of armies globally including the Indian army.
This will be the first time that an Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) announced that a fully owned facility is being opened in India for global customers. “This facility is planned to start by 2024 and will be supporting the
production of the Carl-Gustaf M4 for the Indian Armed Forces. And also components for users of the system around the world,” Senior Vice President Gorgen Johansson told media persons in New Delhi.
The new company will be Saab FFV India, according to Mr Gorgen Johansson, currently under registration. Though he did not disclose the details about the investment the company plans to make in the facility, he said, “the Company will be partnering with Indian suppliers and systems to be manufactured in the facility will be in compliance with Make in India initiative.”
As the Indian Army is one of the foremost users of the system, it is a natural step to set up the production facility for Carl-Gustaf M4 in India,” Senior Vice President Gorgen Johansson said.
What is the Indian policy for setting up a foreign OEM?
According to the existing policy any foreign OEM has the permission to set up a production facility with 74 percent stake and this will be through the automatic route. And depending on the extent of technology the OEM is willing to transfer this can go up to 100 percent.
The senior company official said in response to questions that the company will follow all the procedures to get approvals by the Ministry of Defence and Foreign Investment Board.
More about Carl-Gustaf M4
This is a recoilless rifle and has been ordered by the Indian Armed Forces. It has a range of 1500 meters and can be used against armoured vehicles, bunkers and even infantry and it all depends on the ammunition being used.
How does that affect?
With the different ammunition the Carl Gustaf uses it can destroy vehicles, with anti-armour, or structures; it can use anti-tank and anti-structure munitions. With anti-personnel range as it bursts in air, and sends down shrapnel it has the capability to neutralise infantry in the open.
To provide additional support in the battlefield there are also illumination rounds. During night time operations these are used to light up tactical areas; also instant smoke rounds are used which act as a tool for screening and blinding targets.
Has the Indian Army used Carl Gustaf before?
Besides being deployed along the Line of Actual Control in eastern Ladakh, this anti-tank weapon system was used in 2016 at the time of surgical strikes and also been used in Kashmir.
This system has been in service with Indian armed forces since it was first introduced in 1976 and has been used with different ammunition. This Carl Gustaf has established itself as the main shoulder-launched weapon in the Indian armed forces.
The location for setting up the facility has not been firmed up yet. Once the production of the M4 version starts, the Swedish company plans to cater to 15 global customers after fulfilling India’s requirement, he said.
The Swedish company entered partnership with erstwhile Ordnance Factory Board for production back in 1976 and since then it has created partnerships with Indian companies to make parts and other components for the global market.
To another question the official said that the company would continue with its partnership with Advanced Weapons and Equipment India Limited (AWEIL) and Munitions India Limited (MIL) for manufacturing Carl Gustaf weapon system and its ammunition. The two companies were created after OFB was corpotorised.
According to Johansson the new facility when it is set up will only manufacture the M4 version. The previous generation of the weapon system will be manufactured by AWEIL.
The new version M4 comes with a specialised ammunition, and has picatinny rails. This for fixing different sights and also to adjust grips based on the height of the soldier. This new system is lighter by 30 percent as instead of steel it is using titanium linings