Israel Weapons Industries (IWI), an SK Group company specialising in the manufacture of small arms for law enforcement, government agencies, and armed forces around the world, had launched in Sept 2019, the ARAD, a multi-calibre assault rifle based on the AR-15 platform. IWI is one of the world's leading small arms manufacturers in the world

New Delhi: The Israeli assault rifles will be manufactured under Make in India initiative in Madhya Pradesh by joint venture PLR Systems, which is already producing arms like Tavor. In a boost to the fledgling domestic small arms industry, two latest Israeli assault rifles — the Arad and the Carmel — are set to be manufactured in India.

According to ThePrint, The assault weapons are to be produced under the ‘Make in India’ initiative in Madhya Pradesh, where a plant had been set up in 2017 by Israel Weapons System (IWI) in a joint venture called PLR Systems.

While Punj Llyod originally held 51 per cent shares in the joint venture, it was bought over by a company called Fouraces System India Private Limited with the Indian conglomerate facing debt issues.

The joint venture is aiming for contracts from the Special Forces of the Army, Navy and Air Force besides the central armed police forces and the state police, sources said.

Interestingly, PLR systems, now run by Col Ajay Soni, already manufactures number of small arms like the Tavor series, the mainstay of the special forces, in India along with others like the Galil sniper rifle, Uzi Pro submachine gun, Masada pistol and the Negev Light Machine Gun (LMG) with indigenous content ranging from 40-60 per cent.

Incidentally, the Army had last year contracted American SIG Sauer 7.62x51mm assault rifle, SIG 716, under a Fast Track Process (FTP) for 72,400 units after a long quest to change its INSAS rifles.

These rifles are to be used by the frontline troops while it has selected AK 203, a 7.62x39mm rifle, to be built in India under a joint venture between state-run OFB and Russian Kalashnikov Rifles, for the rest of the force.

“The plan is now to manufacture the Arad and Carmel, which are the latest offering from the IWI, in India through the joint venture,” a source in the know of the development said.

The sources said unlike in other cases where Make in India happens based on orders from the country, the PLR Systems are manufacturing the arms in India and then offering them for trials.

The company has already delivered various units to forces under the Home Ministry and the plan is now to offer Carmel and Arad.

About ARAD Assault Rifle

The new lightweight, modular assault rifle is offered in two variants: 5.56X45mm and .300 AAC Blackout.

The ARAD AR was designed to address the needs of specialist units and infantry forces. It offers several cutting-edge features that enhance operational flexibility. Fully ambidextrous, the rifle employs a short-stroke gas piston firing mechanism with a regulator in two positions, which guarantees smooth operation under all environmental conditions.

A two-step enhanced trigger ensures both comfort and shooting accuracy. Additional features include a hard-anodised monolithic aluminium MIL-STD 1913 accessory rail in the upper receiver. The lightweight ARAD AR, weighing only 2.85 kg, is available with barrel lengths of 292mm (11.5”) and 368mm (14.5”) and will soon be offered with barrel lengths of 419 mm (16.5") and 508 mm (20") as well. IWI plans to offer additional calibres in the future.

About CARMEL Assault Rifle

The Carmel in 5.56x45mm calibre is a conventional configuration rifle, unlike the two previous assault rifles developed and manufactured by the company, the Tavor and the X95, which are both in a bull-pup configuration. The Micro Tavor (X95) is one of the best weapons in the world in the bull-pup configuration which is used by India's special forces. The company constantly adjusts and changes weapons, and in order to meet the demands of modern warfare and to meet the needs of existing and potential customers, we have developed a new weapon in a conventional configuration."

Suited for extended combat duration, the Carmel features special steels, aviation-grade aluminium and high-impact polymers for high-performance in small unit operations across a wide range of environments and different combat scenarios. The rifle has a rotating bolt system that ensures maximum safety for the user, and is fully ambidextrous, equipped with "Picatinny" rails on all sides to allow 100% compatibility with any available sights, devices or accessories. According to the company, the rifle was designed for minimum maintenance and thus reduces operational costs and allows the use of any NATO / MIL-STD 5.56 Steel, aluminium or polymer magazines.

Our Bureau