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India’s Search for Home-Made Sniper Rifle Continues; Weapon Not Fit For Firing

© AFP 2023 / RAVEENDRANAn Indian exhibition visitor takes aim with a Punj Lloyd's Gepard GM6LYNX rifle at the DefExpo 2010 in New Delhi. (File)
An Indian exhibition visitor takes aim with a Punj Lloyd's Gepard GM6LYNX rifle at the DefExpo 2010 in New Delhi. (File) - Sputnik International
The push for indigenous sniper rifles by Narendra Modi government has met with a major setback as the Indian Army has outrightly rejected the state-owned Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) manufactured ‘shoot to kill’ rifles after trials.

Garud commandos of Indian air force performs from an MI-8 helicopter during the inducting ceremony of first Medium Power Radar (MPR) named Arudhra, seen background, at the Air Force Station Naliya (File) - Sputnik International
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New Delhi (Sputnik) Excessive recoil, an incompatible sighting system, and safety mechanism not up to the desired level are major reasons behind the rejection. Trials of the 4.5 kg-fully automatic 7.62X51mm rifle were conducted last week and OFB – the maker of the rifle – reported satisfactory response from the Army after the trial.

“The weapon in its present form leaves much to be desired, is unsatisfactory and requires comprehensive design analysis,” the Army assessed after it found several faults which go beyond 20 times the maximum permissible limit.

Last year, 7.62x45mm Excalibur developed by the government-owned Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) did not fulfill the requirement of the Indian Army after conducting trials at various locations.

“Obviously, the product developed has failed to meet the qualitative requirement. OFB has structural limitations. The government should stop wasting time with OFB and throw open the competition to the private sector. The private sector can take faster decisions and has flexibility in negotiations. If it can’t develop a weapon by itself, it can certainly get a partner from outside,” Brigadier Rumel Dahiya (retired), a defense analyst, said.

India’s Ministry of Defense is pushing for indigenous equipment for the modernization of armed forces. It will soon float a tender for acquisition of 7.62X51mm rifle after more than a dozen rifle-makers responded to request for information issued by the defense ministry last year for acquisition of 185,000 assault rifles with telescopic sights attached to them. Sources told Sputnik that most of the companies, who had bid in 2011, have responded to the September 2016 request for information which seeks a 7.62mm x 51mm rifle with lethality to achieve the objective of ‘Shoot to Kill’.

The Indian Army is trying to replace 5.56x45 mm assault rifle since long but failed in such attempt as the Israel Weapon Industries ACE 1, the Beretta ARX160, the Ceská Zbrojovka CZ 805 BREN, and the Colt's Manufacturing Company did not match the Army’s requirements during trials.

Approximately $1 billion contract of 7.62mm x 51mm rifle will replace Indian Small Arms System (INSAS) 5.56x45 mm assault rifle in the Army which has been in use since 1996.

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