On May 30, the Indian Army issued a Request for Information (RFI) for the procurement of a General Purpose Machine Gun (GPMG) to be utilised by its Special Forces. The GPMG is intended to serve as a multipurpose weapon, providing sustained fire and serving as an ideal "Squad Automatic Weapon" for the Special Forces. A squad automatic weapon is a weapon designed to be used on the frontline, providing crucial support at the infantry squad level.

The GPMG is required to have a calibre of 7.62mm x 51mm and a maximum effective range of not less than 1000 metres, with adequate accuracy and lethality to be able to take down up to three human targets. This weapon needs to be able to fire at least 120 rounds per minute in short bursts and at least 800 rounds per minute continuously. The vendor should provide a spare barrel that can be quickly changed in field conditions, and the gun should have a barrel life of not less than 20,000 rounds.

RFI Specifications For The General Purpose Machine Gun (GPMG)

The RFI specifies a range of features and requirements for the design of the GPMG. These specifications aim to enhance the gun's functionality, versatility, and adaptability in various operational scenarios. The key features can be grouped as follows:

Firearm Features

According to the RFI, the gun should have a flash hider to minimise the flash level during firing. It should also have a weight limit of 10 kilograms when equipped with a bipod and an overall length not exceeding 1.2 meters with the butt extended. The feeding mechanism can be either drum-fed or belt-fed. Additionally, the butt of the weapon should be retractable or folding, providing convenience and adaptability in different operational situations.

Attachments And Accessories

To ensure versatility, the GPMG should be compatible with different mounts, including an extendable and foldable bipod, a tripod for sustained firing, and the ability to be mounted on vehicles. It should also be provided with a suppressor to reduce flash and noise signatures, as well as a blank firing attachment for training purposes. The GPMG should feature a standard Picatinny Rail to accommodate various sighting systems, allowing for easy customisation.

Materials and Ammunition Compatibility

The GPMG should be constructed using high-impact plastic or composite materials, designed to be ergonomic in finish and appearance, as stated in the RFI. It should be capable of firing various types of ammunition, such as ball, tracer, steel core, blank, armor-piercing, and incendiary rounds, offering flexibility in different mission requirements.

Durability And Maintenance

It should be robust enough to function reliably in different terrain conditions, including plains, deserts, and mountains. It should also be suitable for airborne operations and able to sustain impact during landing when carried underslung by paratroopers during parachute jumps. The weapon and its accessories should conform to army (JSS 55555) Standards, demonstrating resistance to moisture, humidity, rain, and saltwater. Furthermore, the GPMG should be easy to field strip and assemble without special tools, requiring minimal lubrication for proper functioning. It should have a service life of at least 10 years.

By incorporating these specifications, the GPMG will possess the necessary features and capabilities to meet the demands of modern combat scenarios. Its design will enable efficient and reliable performance in diverse environments while offering flexibility, adaptability, and ease of maintenance for military personnel. Additionally, the army plans to acquire thermal imaging night vision sights to enhance the night fighting capabilities of the army's special forces.

The Indian government has established parameters for the acquisition by the Armed Forces to ensure transparency and objectivity. Eligibility is limited to Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM) or Authorized Vendors. Financial requirements include a minimum turnover of 30 percent of the project cost and a net worth of five percent. Insolvency and a good credit rating are also taken into account. Vendors must hold a valid defence industrial license and be registered for a minimum duration. Stipulations allow reliance on holding companies or group entities to meet parameters. Start-ups and MSMEs may be considered for projects within specified cost limits, with criteria assessed on a case-by-case basis.