Indian Army Sniper Rifle–Simultaneous RFI for Munitions Speed up Acquisition
The Print reports on 18 June that the Indian Army’s process of acquisition of over 5000 sniper rifles for the Infantry is likely to be delayed as the Request for Information (RFI) floated has seen response from 20 firms but none have the capability for manufacturing ammunition.
The Indian Army RFI for acquisition of sniper rifles indicated the following operational characteristics
(a) Calibre. 8.6mm (0.338 inches), (b) Effective Range. Not less than 1200 meters, (c) Accuracy. Less than equal to one MoA, (d) Muzzle Velocity. Not more than 800 m/s (e) Operating Mechanism. Bolt Action. (f) Safety. Inbuilt and Applied Safety mechanism. (g) Picatinny Rails. MIL-STD 1913 compliant picatinny rails. (h) Reliability. In firing of 100 rounds, it should not suffer from more than one ‘Class-I’ or ‘Class-II’ and NO ‘Class-III’ stoppages as per ITOP 3-2-045 specifications. (j) Sighting System. The Sniper Rifle must be provided with an Open Sight as well as Telescopic Sight. The Telescopic sight shall have variable magnification suited for maximum effective range, illuminated cross hair reticule pattern for aiming and range estimation not less than 1300m.
The other characteristics desired were light weight Bipod and Empty Magazine for easy carriage and use in varied Indian terrain, reasonable length and ease of operation.
The service life was expected to be over 15 years.
While the tentative date of issue of RFP was June 2017, this appears to have been delayed.
Importantly the RFI did not seek information of ammunition.
While proceeding with the process of issuing RFP based on the response to the RFI’s received the Indian Army must now issue an RFI after short listing the manufacturers for ammunition separately.
Manufacturers of sniper rifles and munitions are separate.
The Army has issued separate RFI for 7.62X51mm Subsonic Ammunition for 7.62mm Sniper Rifle (Galil) in the past. Thus precedence exists for the same.
Given the delays in the procurement of sniper rifles Indian Army Northern Command has undertaken spot purchase of weapons under the financial powers of the Army Commander to meet a cross LOC challenge.
This will provide an advantage to the troops deployed on the Line of Control.