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Army finalises mega procurement plan to replace ageing weapons

New Delhi: The Army has finalised one of its most significant procurement plans for infantry modernisation under which a large number of light machine guns, battle carbines and assault rifles are being purchased at the cost of nearly Rs 40,000 crore to replace its ageing and obsolete weapons.
The broad process to acquire around 7 lakh rifles, 44,000 light machine guns (LMGs) and nearly 44,600 carbines has been finalised, and the defence ministry is on the same page with the Army in moving ahead with the procurement, official sources said.
The world's second largest standing Army has been pressing for fast-tracking the procurement of various weapons systems considering the evolving security threats including along India's borders with Pakistan and China.
Apart from kick-starting the procurement process, the government has also sent a message to the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) to expedite its work on various small arms, particularly on an LMG.
The sources said a fresh RFI (request for information) to procure the LMGs will be issued in the next few days, months after the defence ministry scrapped the tender for the 7.62 calibre guns as there was only one vendor left after a series of field trials. 10,000 LMGs. will be procured initially.
The Army has also finalised the specifications for a new 7.62 mm assault rifle and the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC), the defence ministry's highest decision making body on procurement, is expected to give the go-ahead for the much- needed procurement soon.
"The General Service Quality Requirements (GSQR) for the new assault rifle has been finalised. The procurement plan will soon be placed before the DAC for approval," said a senior official, who is part of the acquisition process.
In June, the Army had rejected an assault rifle built by the state-run Rifle Factory, Ishapore, after the guns miserably failed the firing tests. PTI
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