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Wither Light Machine Gun for the Indian Army?

Published Jun 06, 2019
Updated Apr 14, 2020

Wither Light Machine Gun for the Indian Army?

The Light Machine Gun (LMG) is an essential squad weapon which provides covering fire to a tactical movement by a 10 men section of the Indian Army.

The weapon is fired from a Bipod at a high rate of fire and achieves effective range of approximately 500 meters.

The Indian Army is looking at procuring modern LMGs for some years now.

The Indian Ministry of Defence (MOD) issued initial tenders or RFPs (requests for proposal) for 72,400 assault rifles, 93,895 CQB carbines and 16,479 light machine guns at an estimated cost of Rs 5,366 crore to selected foreign armament companies under Fast Track Procurement (FTP)

https://www.security-risks.com/security-trends-south-asia/india-defence/preview-of-sig-sauer-716-g-2-rifle-12637.html

Of these the Assault rifle procurement has proceeded as planned with the American Sig Sauer rifle making the grade while the carbine and the Light Machine Gun procurement appears to be in a proverbial “jam”.

The Economic Times had reported that a team from the Ministry of Defence had visited Bulgaria, “where it will meet representatives from Arsenal, a gun and ammunition manufacturer. It will then go to Israel for the Israel Weapon Industries (IWI) and then to South Korea for S&T Motiv.”

https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/defence/indian-army-begins-3-nation-hunt-for-new-lmgs-for-infantry/printarticle/69421569.cms

These companies had responded to the RFI that was issued by the Indian Army. While Sig Sauer, the US company which won the FTP order for assault rifles had also responded to the RFI, it withdrew stating lack of capacity to produce the LMGs.

The status of FTP procurement is not clear so far.

In a separate RFI the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) headed by the Defence Minister has accorded approval for procurement of Light Machine Gun (LMG) as per details given below :- (a) Quantity. 40,000 (Approx). (b) Category. ‘Buy and Make (Indian)’ with ‘Buy’ component as ‘Nil’.

These LMGs will be of  7.62x51mm as against the in service INSAS LMG that has a calibre of 5.56x45mm. Higher calibre is in line with the Indian Army’s current thinking of shoot to kill rather than shoot to injure.

The operational parameters outlined in the RFI denote  

(a) Effective Range. Not less than 800 metres.

(b) Lethality. Lethality at ranges up to minimum 800 metres in terms of wound profile, energy transferred and penetration. 

(c) Accuracy. The Light Machine Gun should be capable of achieving accuracy better than four Minutes of Angle up to a range of minimum 800 metres.

(d) Reliability. The Light Machine Gun should be reliable in its operation as per TOP 3-2-045 for reliability and withstand sustained fire.

(e) Weight. The Light Machine Gun should be as light as possible in weight.

(f) Sight. The Light Machine Gun should have integrated open sight.

(g) The Light Machine Gun should have compatibility with all modern sights and accessories and provision for mounting the same.

(h) In terms of design, metallurgy and performance parameters, the Light Machine Gun should remain relevant for its envisaged service life.

(j) The Light Machine Gun should be capable of providing the desired performance across all spectrums of employment in the Indian terrain and climatic conditions.

(k) The Light Machine Gun should comply with the laid down MIL Standards and other International Standards in vogue.