SP's LandForces - - SP’S EXCLUSIVES -

Para (SF) units of the In­dian Army re­quire an un­spec­i­fied num­ber of gen­eral pur­pose ma­chine guns (GPMG) on a fast-track ba­sis for which an RFI is ex­pected shortly. The new gen­eral pur­pose ma­chine guns will be for its Parachute (Spe­cial Forces) bat­tal­ions to aug­ment and later re­place the li­cence-built Bel­gian MAG-58 and Soviet-era PKM GPMGs cur­rently in use by the bat­tal­ions. The weapon needs to be fully in­ter­op­er­a­ble with the cur­rent weapons in terms of ammunition com­pat­i­bil­ity with a bar­rel life of at least 20,000 rounds. The army has stip­u­lated that it re­quires a 7.62mm x 51mm cal­i­bre weapon to serve as both a light and medium ma­chine gun. The Army is look­ing for a weapon with greater range than an LMG and lighter than an MMG, with a max­i­mum ef­fec­tive range of 1,000 me­tres. Ex­pect­edly, the Army would pre­fer par­al­lel sup­ply of tele­scopic sights by the OEM, but def­i­nitely wants stan­dard Mil 1913 pi­catinny rails on the weapon to mount dif­fer­ent types of sight­ing sys­tems. As with the two cur­rent weapons in ser­vice, the army will be look­ing to use the new GPMGs in mul­ti­ple modes: as an in­fantry weapon in dif­fer­ent pro­files, ve­hi­cle mounted and he­li­borne op­er­a­tions. In 2010 and 2014, the Army said it was also in­ter­ested in look­ing at a new 12.7 x 99mm heavy ma­chine gun for use on a light strike ve­hi­cle/in­fantry fight­ing ve­hi­cle and in a ground role while mounted on ve­hi­cle and tri­pod re­spec­tively. The fresh RFI is ex­pected to be pub­lished in March this year, with the Army look­ing to move quickly for a con­tract.

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