Defence Ministry plans to buy 17,000 machine guns, 6,500 sniper rifles

At a time terrorists have increased attacks on the Army and security forces, the defence ministry will consider proposals worth over Rs 2,000 crore to provide over 17,000 light machine guns (LMGs) and 6,500 sniper rifles for the armed forces on Tuesday.

A high level meeting headed by the defence minister is scheduled to consider buying 17,000 LMGs and 6,500 sniper rifles under the fast-track procedure of the defence procurement procedure, a government source said.

The need for these weapons has been long pending as the LMG contract had to be scrapped due to a single vendor situation in the procurement. That is why, the LMGs are being procured through the fast-track procedure, the source said.

LMGs provide heavy firepower to infantry troops in both counter-insurgency and conventional war operations, sources said.

To be fast-tracked, the Army will have the option of going in for government-to-government contract to fulfill the requirement in the earliest possible timeframe.

The existing LMGs with the infantry units are quite heavy, which is why the force is looking at lighter versions of the gun that can be easily shifted from one position to another in case of an ongoing encounter.

The sniper rifles would replace the Russian Dragunov rifles which have been in service for decades now with the Infantry and Special Forces.

To ensure that sniper rifles are always available for training and operational use, the users have demanded that the supplier also provide one crore rounds of ammunition.

During the last meeting of the defence acquisition council, headed by defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman, the ministry cleared procurement of 72,000 assault rifles and 93,895 carbines. The procurement is expected to address the shortage of small arms for the forces.




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