In September the Indian Army launched a fresh search for a ‘5.56MM X 45 MM CQB CARBINE’. Initially, there had been a desire to procure these close quarters carbines internationally, just as with the purchase of 716i rifles from SIG Sauer. However, the Indian Government has expanded the requirement significantly with the new request for information (RFI) seeking 4 lakh or 400,000 rifles from a domestic Indian manufacturer, via India’s ‘atmanirbharta’ (self-sufficiency) program.
Indian Small Arms News @ TFB:
- Rosoboronexport To Discuss AK-203 Production At India’s Defexpo 22
- India Looks To Manufacture 400,000 5.56x45mm Indigenous Carbines
- India Seeks .338 Sniper Rifles, Night Optics for SIG 716 Rifles and Radios
- Indian Army Receives First Negev Light Machine Guns
- Making Sense of India’s Small Arms Procurement Nightmare
In 2017-18 UAE based Caracal had been selected to produce around 94,000 5.56×45mm carbines but the deal fell through as India shifted to produce more defense materiel indigenously. In response, in September 2020, Caracal committed to producing the carbines in India. The company has since spoken about how as many as half the components they use to manufacture carbines in UAE are already imported from India.
— EDGE (@_edgegroup) October 21, 2022
At this month’s DEFEXPO in Gandhinagar, Gujarat, Caracal have announced a partnership with India’s ICOMM, a company that has previously specialised in military communications systems. ICOMM’s move into small arms with Caracal is the latest in a series of interesting partnerships which have seen international companies partner with those based in India to address the Modi government’s desire to ‘make in India’.
Caracal CEO Hamad Salem Alameri told Indian media outlet ThePrint that: “We are very optimistic about the Indian market which is large if you consider the armed forces and the police. Over the last year and half, we have been sourcing multiple components of our rifles from India.”
In a statement, Al Ameri also said at DEFEXPO that “We are looking forward to a positive partnership and to go for the contracts in the Indian Market with the ‘make in India’ initiative.”
ICOMM CEO Sumanth P explained that “India’s Defence industry is constantly evolving, in-line with India’s Make in India and Atmanirbhar Bharat initiatives.”
ICOMM and Caracal’s memorandum of understanding will see the full range of Caracal’s small arms line produced at ICOMM’s Hyderabad factory.
Caracal and ICOMM face stiff competition from an energised Indian small arms sector with companies including SSS Defence, the state-owned Ordnance Factory Board, PLR, the Jindal Group, the Kalyani Group and Neco-Desert Tech.