There have been many turns in India’s move towards their major infantry modernization, and getting new high-quality rifles to replace the current and troublesome INSAS rifle. (INdian Small Arms System)
At last it looks like the World’s second largest Army has come to a conclusion, as the Indian Defense Minister Nirmala Sitharaman approved the procurement of the SIG Sauer SIG716-G2 rifles.
These rifles will mainly be used by troops deployed along the nearly 3 600 km long border along China.
The total amount of rifles is said to be 72 400, and the deal is worth an estimated 72 million USD.
This means that each rifle is costing 990 USD.
Volume-wise, this can be compared with the French order for around 100 000 HK416s and the recent Norwegian order for an additional 11 000 HK416s. (Source)
Earlier, we have reported that India’s government had been forced to cut its potential order for a new standard issue service rifle from 800,000 down to just 250,000.
The delivery of the new SIG Sauer 716-G2 rifles is expected to be within one year, which sounds challenging to say the least. If true, it means they have to produce about 1 400 rifles per week.
According to the current information the rifles are Made in the USA.
Note: At the moment there are no details on how the SIG 716-G2 rifle is going to be configured for India, but the specification for the SIG716 G2 DMR may give us a clue. My guess is that the military rifles are going to be fully-automatic, not semi as described in the manual:
The SIG716 G2 DMR is a medium range, magazine fed, gas operated, precision rifle chambered in 7.62x51mm NATO. The SIG716 G2 DMR fires from the closed bolt position. The 716 DMR is available in semi-automatic only versions. The operating system is a short stroke pushrod system enabling optimum function under adverse conditions. The SIG716 G2 DMR is designed to be fired with or without the SIG silencer attached. The upper KeyMod rail adapter provides a full length MIL-STD 1913 rail. The KeyMod rail adapter has interfaces for mounting of MIL-STD 1913 rail segments at the 3-6 and 9 o’clock positions. The firearm features several sling mounting points enabling the use of multiple sling configurations.
Defense Barta has done a YouTube video (with a daft computer voice), describing the deal and SIG Sauer’s rifles.
After a long long while, the Indian army on the line of control knows that modern, high-quality rifles are on the way. The defence minister, Mrs Nirmala Sitharaman, has just cleared the purchase of 72400 rifles for the Indian army, initially for soldiers in difficult conditions, fighting infiltrating terrorists in Jammu and Kashmir. These are the SIG 7 1 6-G2 rifles from Sig Sauer and delivery is likely within a year. The contract mentions delivery within a designated period. These will use 7.62 mm ammunition and they may be more effective than the indigenous INSAS rifles that use 5.56 mm ammunition. The deal was initially for rifles, carbines and light machine-guns, but so far, the rifles have been cleared and the carbines are likely to be okayed very soon. The L M G deal is likely to take more time as rebidding has happened. And buying rifles are not going to hurt the exchequer very much, 700 crore Rupees or less is all that it is likely to cost. Once the carbines also come, the humble army, the man right on the front, will have the best possible weapons. Currently, he is having to use the INSAS rifle, good but underpowered slightly and also, the A K-47, still very effective. The SIG 7 1 6-G2 will be a new generation rifle, lighter and more accurate.
As mentioned, SIG Sauer’s winning bid of 990 USD closed the deal. According to Jane’s 360, who confirmed the deal late yesterday, Abu Dhabi’s Caracal International had priced its CAR817 rifle at 1 200 USD per unit, while Israel Weapon Industries (IWI) set a price of 1 600 USD for each of its ACE1 models. (Source)
This gives a great insight in the potential “bottom price” for these firearms.
Which carbine India is going to chose is still undisclosed, but TFB promise to be back as soon as we know.