IAF floats ten­der for 32,000 as­sault ri­fles


The In­dian Air Force (IAF) has floated a ten­der for the pro­cure­ment of 32,000 as­sault ri­fles un­der the ‘Buy & Make (In­dian)’ route us­ing an In­dian part­ner. The IAF has stip­u­lated that the as­sault ri­fles should be com­pact, fold­able, easy to carry, han­dle, op­er­ate, sim­ple to main­tain and with high ef­fec­tive range. The new RFI is only the lat­est in a spate of ef­forts by the IAF to arm its Garud com­mando units as well as other per­son­nel with new mod­u­lar weapons as part of a more ex­ten­sive mod­erni­sa­tion thrust. The new weapons will be for units guard­ing air­fields and other as­sets round the year, and es­pe­cially in hos­tile en­vi­ron­ments, the new weapons will be re­quired for units that may op­er­ate in hos­tile ter­ri­tory as part of cover op­er­a­tions in con­junc­tion with the spe­cial forces of the Army and Navy. The Army spe­cial forces and cer­tain in­fantry units are armed with the Is­raeli TAR-21 as­sault ri­fle that would pre­sum­ably fit the bill for the IAF too, though the process will be a com­pet­i­tive bid. The quan­tity of ri­fles re­quired by the IAF alone, when tagged to the num­bers still re­quired by the Army make it a test case for the ‘Buy & Make (In­dian)’ pro­cure­ment route. The Min­istry of De­fence sources sug­gest the new as­sault ri­fle pro­cure­ment could be test­ing ground for man­u­fac­ture of in­fantry weapons by pri­vate sec­tor firms too in a shift beyond the Ord­nance Fac­tory Board.

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