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.
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-
|Weight of Gun||11 Kgs|
|Overall length||1048 mm|
|Rate of Fire||Adjustable 600 to 1000 rounds /Minute|
|Max Range||1800 M|
|Total No of Components||219|
|Sight Rear Aperture Graduated||Steps of 100 M|
|Folded Down||200 to 800 M|
|Extender||800 to 1800 M|
|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|