India’s Ministry of Defence (MoD) is likely to scrap its 2011 tender for 66,000 multi-calibre assault rifles after four overseas vendors failed to meet the Indian Army’s qualitative requirements (QRs) in user trials that concluded in October 2014, official sources said.
The Czech Republic’s Czeca CZ 805 BREN, Italy’s Beretta ARX 160, the Israel Weapon Industries (IWI) ACE 1 (a variant of the company’s ACR rifle), and the United States’ Colt Combat Rifle (a M16A1 specially configured for the Indian contract) are competing for the INR48.50 billion (USD782.25 million) deal.
The contract cost includes reflex, day- and night-sights, and laser designators.
Jane’s has made a couple of errors in their reporting. The Colt Combat Rifle is not an M16A1, but rather most likely a Colt Advanced Carbine or similar derivative of the Colt line. Likewise, the ACE 1 is not a derivative of an ACR, that is probably a typo.
The Indian military must find a replacement for its INSAS rifles soon – already many have been replaced by vintage (but serviceable) AKM rifles in critical areas. It’s unclear whether India will proceed with their MCIWS rifle project if this competition is cancelled, or some other indigenous development.