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Indian Army issues tender for multirole assault rifles

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NEW DELHI (PTI): Seeking to boost the firepower of troops to undertake conventional and counter-insurgency operations, the Army has issued a tender for procuring over 60,000 multi-role assault rifles.

In the global Request for Proposal (RFP) issued to 34 vendors, the Army has stated requirement for a gun which has two barrels that can be used in different types of operations, army sources said here.

For counter-insurgency operations, we want the guns to be equipped with barrels of 7.62mm calibre bullets, and for conventional warfare, we want the gun to fire 5.56mm bullets, they said.

The multi-role assault rifles are being procured to replace the existing INSAS series of rifles from the Infantry battalions, they said.

The sources said such a rifle would also help in saving cost for procuring two different types of guns for the troops and would require only three parts, including the barrel and the magazine, to be changed which would be possible at the unit level only.

The Army wants the new guns not to be heavier than 3.6 kilograms, almost half kilogram lighter than the INSAS rifles.

The Army has sought complete transfer of technology from the vendors so that the guns can be license produced at Indian ordnance factories.

The force also wants the rifles to be equipped with under barrel grenade launchers and capable of firing indigenously- produced ammunition.

The INSAS rifles, designed by the DRDO, were inducted into the armed forces in the 90s and have been used in the Kargil war and counter-insurgency operations also.

In its early days with the force, the rifles had faced reliability problems in cold climate in places such as Kashmir Valley and Siachen glacier.

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