Indian Army wants 36,000 Thermal Optics for GPMGs

The Indian Army has issued an RFI for 36,000 thermal optics to mount on the services Indian Ordnance Factory licensed production of 7.62x51mm NATO MAG 2A1 General Purpose Machine Guns (GPMG). Pictured is a MAG-58 6-1, lacking the picatinny rail top cover that the 2A1 would have.

From Jane’s

A request for information (RFI) issued on 9 December asks companies to submit data by 16 February about available designs for 26,000 night sights – based on uncooled thermal imaging technology – that enable a 700 m human target recognition range and a 1,000 m detection range, and provide a reticle suitable for 7.62×51 mm calibre from 100 to 800 m.

The sights are to be mounted on MIL-STD-1913 Picatinny rail systems and weigh no more than 1.8 kg.

Bolstering border security on the Pakistani border, escalations in Kashmir, and the added capability of thermal optics must have all been contributing factors to this recent RFI request from industry. More militaries the world over are starting to transition to thermal optics and image intensifiers, from previous IR only capabilities. The advantages are very obvious, with the ability for an infantryman to track a human or vehicle out several hundred meters in pitch black darkness.

This is a photograph of the 2A1 from the IOF website. Unfortunately photographs of the 2A1 are somewhat hard to come by, in addition to many of the pictures of the IOF made MAG on tripods lead me to believe that all the 2A1s are in border security roles where the added weight of the thermal optics wouldn’t be an issue at all. Currently the majority of Indian troops appear to be using IOF produced 7.62x51mm Bren LMGs while engaging insurgents in the Kashmir, the Indian Army’s most volatile area of operations.




MAG 2A1 Specifications-

Calibre 7.62 mm
Weight of Gun 11 Kgs
Overall length 1048 mm
Rate of Fire Adjustable 600 to 1000 rounds /Minute
Max Range 1800 M
Belt Disintegrating Link
Total No of Components 219
Sight Rear Aperture Graduated Steps of 100 M
Folded Down 200 to 800 M
Extender 800 to 1800 M
Barrel :
i) Length of Barrel 545 mm
ii) Bore Dia H 7.655/L 7.61mm
iii) Number of Grooves 4
iv) Pitch of Rifling 1 Turn in 305 mm
v) Twist of Rifling Right Hand


Infantry Marine, based in the Midwest. Specifically interested in small arms history, development, and usage within the MENA region and Central Asia. To that end, I run Silah Report, a website dedicated to analyzing small arms history and news out of MENA and Central Asia.

Please feel free to get in touch with me about something I can add to a post, an error I’ve made, or if you just want to talk guns. I can be reached at


  • BattleshipGrey

    While they’re at it, just make it 36,001 units and send one to me. 🙂

    • TVOrZ6dw

      I’m sure they won’t mind if you just sneak up and take one…

      • BattleshipGrey

        As long as I don’t get there from Pakistan

    • PK

      They can keep the thermal optics, I want one of the MAG-58s!

    • TheNotoriousIUD

      Ill pass on anything made in India.

      • Fantastic Journey

        60% generic pharmaceuticals sold here are made in India. Oops

  • Warren Ellis

    What’s the difference between a thermal optic and an IR-only scope? Or do you mean that these new scopes are both IR & image intensifiers?

    • lostintranslation

      IR (thermal) and low light image intensifiers have, typically, been two different units. Typically the IR spectrum stretches from 700nm up to 1mm.
      My understanding (which may be wrong), is that most thermal imagers range from 700nm to 2500nm.
      The detector spectral sensitivity range depends on the substrate used. The detector sensitivity and thermal noise (S/N) also depends on the substrate, the ambient temperature and if cooling is used.
      The new wave is, I believe, to electronically superimpose thermal and low light images, from two sources, onto a single display. The down side is complexity, weight and power consumption.
      I have appended below an excerpt from a Web site that gives some indication of relatively lightweight ‘uncooled’ thermal utility. I’m slightly concerned, as this (possibly) caused a previous post to be deleted by TFB. What this highlights is that thermal, with basic optical magnification, can enable vision of ‘heat emitting objects’ out to 2200M. The lightweight unit (rifle scope) enables vision out to 1200M. The range implications for small arms are self evident.

      “One of the biggest improvements in the weapon sight is the distance it can make out a target. Objects can be clearly seen more than 1,000 meters away – beyond the distance of a carbine’s effective range, but good for use on more powerful rifles.
      Soldiers already using the weapons sights in the field have positive reports on how far and how clear the images are. In one case, a soldier reported being able to see two individuals digging a hole for an IED at 600 meters out. “I don’t think we would have seen those people – at that distance – with just night vision goggles,” according to the soldier.”

  • leonidas

    Because of the new optics, 5.56 cartridge will die soon.

    Long live 7.62×51…

    • SP mclaughlin


    • john huscio


    • iksnilol

      I done reckon you meant 6.5×55 but hit the wrong keys.

  • Saumya Supratik

    The third/last photo is of the 1B, the Bren based 7.62x51mm magazine fed LMG.

    • The magazine catch and the lack of a feed tray should have been a dead giveaway.

    • Yes I know, I posted the picture there to give some form of reference to the LMGs currently in use.

  • James Young

    Sounds expensive

  • bdbabd

    Coming to the blackmarket near you!