This LMG will greatly enhance the lethality and range of a soldier vis-a-vis the presently used weapon

Indian Army soldiers will soon be armed with Negev 7.62X51mm Light Machine Guns (LMG) built by the Israel Weapons Industries (IWI) with the Ministry of Defence on Thursday (March 19, 2020) signing a Rs 880 crore deal with the defence company to supply 16,479 state-of-the-art rifles.

The capital acquisition contract with IWI for 16,479 Negev 7.62X51 mm LMGs was signed by the Acquisition Wing of Ministry of Defence with the approval of Defence Minister Rajnath Singh. "The contracted Negev 7.62X51 mm LMG is a combat-proven weapon and currently used by several countries around the globe.

This LMG will greatly enhance the lethality and range of a soldier vis-a-vis the presently used weapon. The provisioning of this operationally urgent and very critically needed weapon will boost the confidence of the frontline troops and provide much-needed combat power to the Armed Forces." the Defence Ministry stated in a press release.

First introduced by IWI in 2012, the Negev NG-7 7.62×51mm is in service with the Israel Defence Forces and several other militaries around the world. With a barrel length of 508 mm, the LMG can be fired in the semi-automatic and fully automatic modes as well be used to lob grenades.

Weighing 7.95 kg without the magazine and accessories, the Negev 7.62X51 mm LMG's total length is 1,100 mm while the retracted length is 1,030 mm. In the semi-automatic mode, the Negev 7.62×51mm can fire 600 rounds in a minute while the rate of firing goes up to 750 in the fully automatic mode. The magazines can be either the 100 or 125-round assault drum or an ammunition belt.

The gun can be fitted with several optical sights on its Picatinny rail like a day/night self-illuminated reflex sight, multi-purpose reflex sight with two laser pointers (Visible and Infra-Red), red dot weapon sight, x3 magnifying scope with TAVOR adaptor, day scope with x4 magnification, multi-functional night vision mini-monocular, self-illuminated reflex sight for 40mm grenade launcher and laser pointer.

These guns are being procured under the Fast Track Procedure (FTP). The FTP is to ensure expeditious procurement for urgent operational requirements of the regular and special forces. It is applied for cases where there has been an unforeseen delay, which is adversely affecting the capacity of the forces.

The Defence Acquisition Council had cleared the procurement of these LMGs for the army, air force and navy in February 2018. An army led team had visited Bulgaria to meet representatives of Arsenal, a gun and ammunition manufacturer of that country, besides Israel Weapons Industries in Israel and S&T Motiv in South Korea for procuring the LMGs in May last year. These manufacturers had responded with their bids to the army’s request for procuring the LMGs.

The FTP route was also taken for the procurement of 72,400 assault rifles and 93,895 carbines for frontline troops. In July 2018, an army led team visited Israel (IWI), South Korea (S&T Motiv), US (Sig Sauer), Australia (Thales) and UAE (Caracal). Sig Sauer won the contract for the assault rifles.