Sig Sauer SG Carbine

The Indian Army has initiated a bid to procure 360,000 carbines by issuing a ‘supplementary request for information’, in the wake of the finalisation of a contract for 94,000 units of the close quarter battle (CQB) CAR 816 carbine initiated last year, reports Livefist Defence.

Interestingly, the army intends to pre-condition the purchase of the 360,000 new carbines with a clause that they be manufactured in India. These carbines will replace the Sterling 9mm gun which is being currently used by the army.

The previous order for 94,000 carbines will be delivered over 12 months, as it is a fast-track procurement. The weapon is produced at the Tawazun Industrial Park in Al Ajban close to Abu Dhabi by UAE-based manufacturer Caracal.

The latest contest for the 360,000 carbines will see Caracal having to compete with other notable models like the Thales F90, among others.

During last year’s contest, some major vendors like Beretta backed out from the selection process and others such as Heckler & Koch didn’t even participate, in what is seen as a response to the Ministry of Defence’s “erratic and ad hoc” approach to arms acquisition. The army intends to rectify previous errors and wants maximum possible participation during this round.

Fast-track efforts to procure modern firearms to replace the Indian Army’s ageing weaponry have been initiated under the leadership of current chief General Bipin Rawat. The initiative has also seen the selection of the Sauer SIG 716 for the supply of 72,000 assault rifles which will replace INSAS rifles currently in use.

Moreover, India and Russia are looking to conclude an arrangement for the joint manufacture of around 650,000 AK-103 assault rifles to meet the Infantry’s requirements.