New Assault Rifles for Indian Army

Which Contender`s Rifle has more chances of winning than others?


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WolfPack86

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UAE pushes for long-pending carbine deal under Make in India during Jaishankar visit
The United Arab Emirates has pushed for the long-pending contract for 93,895 Close Quarter Battle (CQB) Carbines for Indian Army won by its state-owned firm, Caracal, during the recent visit of External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar, ThePrint has learnt.

Sources in the know said the matter came up during the talks held with the Indian delegation led by Jaishankar, and the UAE has pitched the deal under the ‘Make in India’ initiative.

“The issue of the pending deal for carbines did come up. The deal is in progress,” a source said.

Officials in the External Affairs Ministry, however, remained tight-lipped when ThePrint reached for a formal comment on the matter.

The CQB Carbines, with short barrel, are meant for operations in urban environment and room interventions, especially in counter-terrorism operations like in Jammu and Kashmir.

The UAE has been pushing hard for the deal in which Caracal had emerged as the lowest bidder in 2018 for a contract that was supposed to be fast-tracked.

ThePrint had reported on 15 September that the Defence Ministry had decided to scrap this deal and proceed under the ‘Make in India’ initiative.
 

Hari Sud

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As WolfPack86 says above the key hitch is “Make in India initiative”. That is delaying the induction of key personal weapon in the Indian Army.

Call it a bureaucratic mess or political policy indecision, it is already many years delay in the process.
 

ezsasa

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As WolfPack86 says above the key hitch is “Make in India initiative”. That is delaying the induction of key personal weapon in the Indian Army.

Call it a bureaucratic mess or political policy indecision, it is already many years delay in the process.
have to bite the bullet at the beginning of the process, no choice. Delay is fine as long as they are made locally.

if not, we are forever dependent on global politics for war preparations.
 

Hari Sud

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have to bite the bullet at the beginning of the process, no choice. Delay is fine as long as they are made locally.

if not, we are forever dependent on global politics for war preparations.
Makes sense.....
 

WolfPack86

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UAE firm Caracal to bring small arms portfolio under Make in India, looks to salvage Army deal
New Delhi: UAE’s state-owned small arms firm Caracal said it is bringing its entire portfolio of products under the ‘Make in India’ initiative as the country stepped up diplomatic efforts to salvage an Army contract for over 93,000 close quarter battle rifles (carbines).

Although the Army contract won was under Fast Track Procurement (FTP), the deal is yet to be inked. The defence ministry had in September taken an in-principle decision to scrap the contract in favour of making such rifles in India rather than procuring them from abroad.

“After being declared as the lowest bidder (L1) in 2018, we remain committed towards this contract. We have seen that this is not the first time that Indian Defence Ministry is taking time to finalise the contract after an L1 has been declared,” CEO of Caracal, Hamad Salem Al Ameri told ThePrint in an interview.

He added that Caracal is “counting on the relationship between two governments”.

Underlining that the contract was “still alive”, Al Ameri said, “So far we feel very positive about the contract. Yes, this is our first entry into the Indian market. We knew it would take time to get this through, The offer and contract is still alive. Officially, everything is still on in the right direction”.

He added that relations between the UAE and India is much much bigger than this contract and that “a lot of defence and security cooperation is on”.

Diplomatic push
In September, the UAE ambassador to India met with Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat to discuss the contract just days after ThePrint reported India’s in-principle decision to cancel it.

The UAE also pushed for the deal during the recent visit of External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar to the country.

Meanwhile, the delivery of 72,400 American SiG 716 G2 battle rifles, which was agreed upon at the same time that Caracal won the bid in 2018, has been completed and the Indian Army has moved ahead with a follow-up order.

“The Indian government knows how seriously we are committed to ‘Make in India’. While we have won the FTP contract because we were L1, we were also the L2 in the other contract (battle rifles). We are the only company that passed the testing of both calibers. They got one contract but they failed in the other one even when it is coming from the same family of small arms,” Al Ameri said.

Talking about future plans, the Caracal CEO said the Indian Army has an overall demand of 3.5 lakh carbines and hence the firm has already identified a local partner and is pushing ahead with ‘Make in India’.

“We did not wait for the contract. We have believed in ‘Make in India’ from the start itself because the size of the Indian market deserves a proper ‘Make in India’. We are steps ahead and (have) identified suppliers who can at present make 60 per cent of the rifle parts locally,” he said.

This 60 per cent covers a lot of parts, said Al Ameri. “There are more than 108 parts to the rifle. Some are polymer, some are steel, and different kinds of steel. You will also have accessories, like sights, bayonets and cleaning kits. We have identified local suppliers.”

The CEO said that the company will soon announce its main Indian partner “which is one of the biggest defence groups in India with reputation and history”.

A ‘Make in India’ portfolio
Al Ameri said Caracal was part of UAE’s Edge group that has 25 plus companies in the defence sector.

“We have sister companies that can provide full solutions as a defence group. This is what Caracal brings to table. This is an important relationship. Caracal International has more than 17 products. We are looking for other proposals in the Indian market,” he said, adding that they will be participating in the home ministry’s upcoming contract for 9mm pistols and for the Army’s tender for sniper rifles.

“The potential is really high. We will be bringing a full portfolio of small arms under Make in India,” he said, adding that the company will also set up a maintenance facility.

“As we are a government company, we have a strategic vision. We don’t sell parts and disappear. We sell equipment and maintenance plans which is very important.”

The Caracal CEO said the idea was to not just supply but export from India. “We want to get Caracal India to have lots of parts of good quality and cheaper. This will enrich Caracal International. We are definitely looking into that. We are looking at Caracal India to supply to Caracal International and that will make Caracal more competitive. That is why we have identified local suppliers.”

Underlining that today Caracal has subsidiaries in five continents and is one of the most spread small arms companies in the world, Al Ameri said, “One usually has a partner which makes pistols, sniper or assault rifles. We bring the full package, that will be Make in India.”
.
 

Hari Sud

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UAE firm Caracal to bring small arms portfolio under Make in India, looks to salvage Army deal
New Delhi: UAE’s state-owned small arms firm Caracal said it is bringing its entire portfolio of products under the ‘Make in India’ initiative as the country stepped up diplomatic efforts to salvage an Army contract for over 93,000 close quarter battle rifles (carbines).

Although the Army contract won was under Fast Track Procurement (FTP), the deal is yet to be inked. The defence ministry had in September taken an in-principle decision to scrap the contract in favour of making such rifles in India rather than procuring them from abroad.

“After being declared as the lowest bidder (L1) in 2018, we remain committed towards this contract. We have seen that this is not the first time that Indian Defence Ministry is taking time to finalise the contract after an L1 has been declared,” CEO of Caracal, Hamad Salem Al Ameri told ThePrint in an interview.

He added that Caracal is “counting on the relationship between two governments”.

Underlining that the contract was “still alive”, Al Ameri said, “So far we feel very positive about the contract. Yes, this is our first entry into the Indian market. We knew it would take time to get this through, The offer and contract is still alive. Officially, everything is still on in the right direction”.

He added that relations between the UAE and India is much much bigger than this contract and that “a lot of defence and security cooperation is on”.

Diplomatic push
In September, the UAE ambassador to India met with Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat to discuss the contract just days after ThePrint reported India’s in-principle decision to cancel it.

The UAE also pushed for the deal during the recent visit of External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar to the country.

Meanwhile, the delivery of 72,400 American SiG 716 G2 battle rifles, which was agreed upon at the same time that Caracal won the bid in 2018, has been completed and the Indian Army has moved ahead with a follow-up order.

“The Indian government knows how seriously we are committed to ‘Make in India’. While we have won the FTP contract because we were L1, we were also the L2 in the other contract (battle rifles). We are the only company that passed the testing of both calibers. They got one contract but they failed in the other one even when it is coming from the same family of small arms,” Al Ameri said.

Talking about future plans, the Caracal CEO said the Indian Army has an overall demand of 3.5 lakh carbines and hence the firm has already identified a local partner and is pushing ahead with ‘Make in India’.

“We did not wait for the contract. We have believed in ‘Make in India’ from the start itself because the size of the Indian market deserves a proper ‘Make in India’. We are steps ahead and (have) identified suppliers who can at present make 60 per cent of the rifle parts locally,” he said.

This 60 per cent covers a lot of parts, said Al Ameri. “There are more than 108 parts to the rifle. Some are polymer, some are steel, and different kinds of steel. You will also have accessories, like sights, bayonets and cleaning kits. We have identified local suppliers.”

The CEO said that the company will soon announce its main Indian partner “which is one of the biggest defence groups in India with reputation and history”.

A ‘Make in India’ portfolio
Al Ameri said Caracal was part of UAE’s Edge group that has 25 plus companies in the defence sector.

“We have sister companies that can provide full solutions as a defence group. This is what Caracal brings to table. This is an important relationship. Caracal International has more than 17 products. We are looking for other proposals in the Indian market,” he said, adding that they will be participating in the home ministry’s upcoming contract for 9mm pistols and for the Army’s tender for sniper rifles.

“The potential is really high. We will be bringing a full portfolio of small arms under Make in India,” he said, adding that the company will also set up a maintenance facility.

“As we are a government company, we have a strategic vision. We don’t sell parts and disappear. We sell equipment and maintenance plans which is very important.”

The Caracal CEO said the idea was to not just supply but export from India. “We want to get Caracal India to have lots of parts of good quality and cheaper. This will enrich Caracal International. We are definitely looking into that. We are looking at Caracal India to supply to Caracal International and that will make Caracal more competitive. That is why we have identified local suppliers.”

Underlining that today Caracal has subsidiaries in five continents and is one of the most spread small arms companies in the world, Al Ameri said, “One usually has a partner which makes pistols, sniper or assault rifles. We bring the full package, that will be Make in India.”
.
‘To salvage the deal, UAE has to sweeten it including financial and political changes after its reversal of policy on Kashmir at the OIC meet at Pakistani behest. It can repudiate the OIC stand on Kashmir.
 

FalconSlayers

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‘To salvage the deal, UAE has to sweeten it including financial and political changes after its reversal of policy on Kashmir at the OIC meet at Pakistani behest. It can repudiate the OIC stand on Kashmir.
UAE doesn’t care of OIC, it cares of International peace and trade only as other countries, it doesn’t believe in Ummah politics like Porkistanis.
 

WolfPack86

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ARMY CHIEF'S GULF VISIT: CARACAL CQB DEAL AND DEEPENING MILITARY TIES TO BE THE FOCUS
The army chief in his first-ever visit to the Kingdom would address Saudi Arabia’s National Defence University too


The Indian Army chief Gen MM Naravane on Monday (December 7, 2020) reaches the Gulf Region and the focus of his visit is on deepening of military ties between Saudi Arabia and the UAE. His first stop is Saudi Arabia, where during his two-day visit he will be meeting his counterpart as well as other top military brass as well as other senior officers. From there the Indian Army Chief will leave for the UAE on a two day visit.

As has been reported by Financial Express Online, the army chief in his first-ever visit to the Kingdom would address Saudi Arabia’s National Defence University too.

Deepening Military Engagement

India and Saudi Arabia in 2019 has inked a Memorandum of Understanding for joint collaboration of defence industries. Saudi Arabia is looking to grow its defence industry which is in nascent stages.

The two sides are also seeking deeper engagement in maritime security, and more joint bilateral military exercises.

Both Gulf countries are also keen on buying the Indo-Russian BrahMos Missile, as well as other indigenously developed and designed missiles from India.

In the UAE, besides his meeting with his counterparts and other military brass. Though the official agenda has not been shared, sources have indicated that the UAE based Caracal Company will raise the issue of reconsidering its deal for selling 93,895 Close Quarter Carbines with the Indian Army Chief.

Caracal Deal

During the recently concluded visit of external affairs minister S Jaishankar, the issue was raised by the UAE side.

As has been reported by Financial Express Online earlier, the UAE based company was shortlisted almost two years ago and the CQBs were to be procured through the Fast Track Procurement (FTP) route. However, as reported earlier, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) had taken in-principle decision to cancel the deal and to take the domestic route for procuring the CQB. The UAE Company has been in touch with the Indian Mission as well as the Ministry of Defence (MoD) to reconsider its decision.

Is There A Procedure To Go Back On What Has Been Decided?

“Though no formal announcement has been made, it will probably be an unprecedented procedural novelty to restart a procurement proposal from the stage at which the Request for Proposal is retracted after the final decision is taken to do so,” explained a senior officer on condition of anonymity.

Why?

The case goes to square one. But it does not prevent the vendors unless someone is barred by the MoD, to make a pitch for being considered as a potential supplier on a single vendor basis or through an inter-governmental agreement if it’s a foreign vendor.

Background

The UAE based company after clearing all trials and procedural requirements was supposed to supply 93,895 carbines to the Indian Army. This deal was in the works since 2018.

The UAE based company has been pitching aggressively through the media and in a statement had issued a statement earlier expressing its commitment to the `Make in India’ initiative. It had stated that the company has already identified the local partners, land and facility and start the local production immediately.

It had also mentioned in the statement shared with the media that more than 20 per cent of the components fitted on the CAR 816 are already made in India and has offered to transfer of technology for manufacturing them here.
 

WolfPack86

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India's Russian Deals To Build Assault Rifles and Light Utility Helicopters in Jeopardy
India’s two much-hyped joint ventures (JVs) with Russia are floundering over costs, flawed planning and overreach on achieving 'atmanirbharta' in the military sector.

Chandigarh: India’s two much-hyped joint ventures (JVs) with Russia to licence-build assault rifles and light utility helicopters (LUH) are floundering over costs, flawed planning and overreach on achieving atmanirbharta or domestic self-sufficiency in the military sector.

Industry officials said the collaborative Indo-Russian Private Limited (IRPL) to supply India’s military 750,000 Kalashnikov Ak-203 rifles and India-Russia Helicopters (IRHL) established to deliver 200 Kamov Ka-226T ‘Hoodlum’ LUHs to the Indian Air Force (IAF) and the Army Aviation Corps (AAC) stand jeopardised for broadly analogous reasons.

Both the rifles and the LUHs are badly-needed to fill operational voids, presently being managed either through emergency imports, or via creative jugaad or innovation, at a time when all three services, especially the Indian Army, faces enduring challenges in a volatile neighbourhood. The requirement for LUHs is even more dire, as they are badly-needed to replace the IAF’s and the AACs obsolete and accident-prone licence-built Chetak (Aerospatiale Alouette III) and Cheetah (Aerospatiale SA-315B) helicopters dating back to the mid-1960s.

“The responsibility for these continuing setbacks lies equally with the services for their flawed planning and the Ministry of Defence (MoD) for its rigid and byzantine procedures that few can comprehend and even fewer implement” admitted a former defence ministry official. Instead of following a practical and realistic approach to military capability development, the services and the MoD are forever engaged in a tussle that obviates its attainment he added, declining to be identified as he was fearful of repercussions, despite having retired.

The Ak-203 saga began after the Army’s wholly impractical multi-calibre assault rifle tender was eventually terminated in 2015 after five fruitless years of trials and evaluations following a flawed qualitative requirement (QR) formulated by the Infantry Directorate for the weapon system. The proposed rifles were intended to replace the indigenously developed Indian Small Arms System (INSAS) 5.56x45mm assault rifles that entered IA service in the mid-1990s, but were seriously flawed and ultimately declared ‘operationally’ inadequate by the force in 2010.

After the disastrous multi-calibre procurement was rescinded the Army, yet again amazingly re-ignited deliberations over which calibre rifle – 5.56mm or 7.62mm – it operationally required. Its ponderings were interspersed with attempts to source an assault rifle from the state-run Ordnance Factory Board (OFB), however, failed. But four years later, in March 2019, just ahead of the general elections a few weeks later, Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated an OFB facility at Korwa near Amethi to licence build 750,000 Russian Kalashnikov Ak-203 7.62x39mm assault rifles with collapsible stocks.

The JV to implement the project followed an Inter-Governmental Agreement (IGA) that was signed soon after in which the OFB had a 50.5% stake in IRPL, the Kalashnikov Group 42% and Russia’s state-owned arms export agency Rosonboronexport, the remaining 7.5%.

The intent was for IRPL to import some 100,000 AK-203’s for around $ 1,100 (Rs 81,000) apiece to meet the army’s urgent operational needs, followed by the licensed production of the remaining 650,000-odd units. Almost immediately, un-reconcilable price differences and technology transfer issues emerged, which industry sources said could not be resolved even during defence minister Rajnath Singh’s recent Moscow visit in September. This, in turn, led to the MoD instituting a ‘Costing Committee’ in September to try and resolve the ‘unreasonable and unacceptable’ rifle contract price reportedly being demanded by Russia. For now, it’s not clear whether this committee’s report has been submitted to the MoD, and if so, what has been the outcome. But the reality is that the Ak-203 deal remains unsigned and the bulk of the IA continues to operate the inefficient INSAS rifles while frontline units employed on counter-insurgency operations (COIN) are dependent on imported weapons.

The Russians were also reportedly demanding a royalty of $200 per Ak-203 rifle produced by the JV, making it an astronomical licence fee of $130 million for 650,000 units, in addition to the cost of erecting the plant, the bulk of which would be borne by OFB. The JV is expected to annually produce 70,000 Ak-203’s, initially from knocked-down kits and later by localising components and sub-assemblies to indigenise production to further the governments Atmanirbhar Bharat initiative.

But contractual problems did not end here.

The OFB is believed to have costed each licence-built Ak-203 rifle initially at around Rs 86,000, amortised over time to average around Rs 80,000 per unit. Embarrassingly, in comparison the import of a repeat import order for 72,400 assault rifles from the US-based Sig Sauer in early 2019 and late 2020, to meet the IA’s urgent operational needs, was considerably cheaper.

Official sources revealed that Sig Sauer’s SIG716 rifle priced at $990 (Rs 72,782) each in 2018 had emerged as L1 or lowest bidder in response to the IA’s tender, besting rivals Israel Weapon Industries and Abu Dhabi’s Caracal International that quoted $1600 and $2000 for their ACE-1 and CAR 817 assault rifles respectively. This was between Rs 13,218 and Rs 7,218 cheaper than that projected by the OFB for each Ak-203 that was really a derivative of the original Ak-47 dating back to 1947.

The obvious price differential which, when extrapolated over 650,000 rifles led to concern and raised eyebrows amongst cautious MoD officials, fearful of adverse publicity if they signed off on the inequitable rifle deal, despite government eagerness to do so to further atmanirbharta.

Cost disparity in LUH JV also

Meanwhile, the Ka-226T LUH deal that was initially announced during Russian President Vladimir Putin’s visit to India in December 2014, following which the IRHL JV was later formed, too awaits closure. This included the direct import of 60 LUHs, assembling 40 and building an additional 100 platforms, in which the indigenous content was to have gradually increased. Of these, 135 Ka-226Ts were intended for the AAC and 65 for the IAF.

But over the past six years, seemingly unbridgeable differences had emerged even in this contract, as a consequence of which the deal is precariously perched, poised for possible termination. These disparities concerned not only the overall project cost, but also the quantum of technology Russia was willing to transfer to IRHL in which Russia’s Rostec Corporation has a 49.5% stake and India’s state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) the remaining 51.5%.

One of the prime issues, however, is that the per unit cost of 140 indigenously produced rotorcraft would be nearly double that of 60 similar platforms which are to be procured in flyaway condition. Industry officials estimate the price of each indigenously produced twin-engine Ka-226T helicopter, under a technology transfer to be around $11 million apiece, compared to around $6 million for one manufactured in Russia. Differences over this cost disparity had endured, even as Russia is looking to provide 140 helicopters in kit form to the JV for local assembly at the special IRHL facility that is under construction at Tumkuru, 74 km north of Bangalore for around Rs 50 billion.

India’s MoD, for its part, is insisting on significant technology transfer to IRHL make the Ka-226T’s under its Atmanirbhar Bharat initiative to develop indigenous helicopter building capability and to reduce import dependence. According to the HAL-led IRHL the JV would ‘localise’ the 140 platforms in four phases. The first would involve 35 helicopters with 3.3% indigenisation, going up to 15% for the next 25 Ka-226T’s. Indigenisation for the subsequent 30 helicopters in the third phase would increase to 30%, rising eventually to 62.4% for the last 40 platforms, a proposal that is believed not have found favour with Moscow.

Despite India’s six-decade-long relationship with Moscow to meet its materiel requirements, immense price differences over directly imported and licence-built equipment, have persevered.

In July 2006, for instance, India’s Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) castigated HAL for licence building Russian Sukhoi Su-30MKI multi-role fighters for almost twice the amount it would have cost to import them directly. The CAG revealed that the total cost of locally building 140 Su-30 MKI’s projected by the MoD in 2002 was $4.91 billion but it nearly doubled to $8.71 billion soon thereafter.

“Indigenisation comes at a high price that includes heavy investments in acquiring land to erect manufacturing facilities, building plants and training manpower to operate them,” said former MoD acquisitions advisor Amit Cowshish. It may be cheaper to import the platforms, but then dependency on the original equipment manufacturer persists, he added.

In yet another related development, the MoD has once again approached Caracal International of the UAE for a lesser number of close quarter battle (CQB) carbines after calling off the earlier tender in September for 93,895 of its CAR 816 5.56x45mm carbines for an estimated $110 million.

The CAR 816 CQB carbines, which were shortlisted in October 2018 over the rival F90 model fielded by Thales of Australia, were intended to replace the army’s OFB-built 9mm Sterling 1A1 sub-machine guns, dating back to the 1940s whose production had been discontinued nearly two decades ago.

These carbines, a vital requirement for IA units on COIN deployment, were being acquired under the Fast Track Procedure (FTP) that was mandated to have been concluded within 17-18 months of the tender for them being issued in March 2018. CAR816 deliveries were scheduled to have been completed by August 2019, but instead, the MoD opted to call off the deal for unknown reasons, some 13 months after that delivery deadline expired.

Industry officials told The Wire that inexplicably, in early December the MoD had once again invited Caracal to bid for the reduced number of CQB carbines, but the outcome of the proposal is under consideration.

In conclusion, atmanirbharta to meet India’s materiel requirements, it seems is an expensive and arduous matter and certainly not a quick fix or a magical silver bullet as many in government seem to believe.
 

FalconSlayers

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India's Russian Deals To Build Assault Rifles and Light Utility Helicopters in Jeopardy
India’s two much-hyped joint ventures (JVs) with Russia are floundering over costs, flawed planning and overreach on achieving 'atmanirbharta' in the military sector.

Chandigarh: India’s two much-hyped joint ventures (JVs) with Russia to licence-build assault rifles and light utility helicopters (LUH) are floundering over costs, flawed planning and overreach on achieving atmanirbharta or domestic self-sufficiency in the military sector.

Industry officials said the collaborative Indo-Russian Private Limited (IRPL) to supply India’s military 750,000 Kalashnikov Ak-203 rifles and India-Russia Helicopters (IRHL) established to deliver 200 Kamov Ka-226T ‘Hoodlum’ LUHs to the Indian Air Force (IAF) and the Army Aviation Corps (AAC) stand jeopardised for broadly analogous reasons.

Both the rifles and the LUHs are badly-needed to fill operational voids, presently being managed either through emergency imports, or via creative jugaad or innovation, at a time when all three services, especially the Indian Army, faces enduring challenges in a volatile neighbourhood. The requirement for LUHs is even more dire, as they are badly-needed to replace the IAF’s and the AACs obsolete and accident-prone licence-built Chetak (Aerospatiale Alouette III) and Cheetah (Aerospatiale SA-315B) helicopters dating back to the mid-1960s.

“The responsibility for these continuing setbacks lies equally with the services for their flawed planning and the Ministry of Defence (MoD) for its rigid and byzantine procedures that few can comprehend and even fewer implement” admitted a former defence ministry official. Instead of following a practical and realistic approach to military capability development, the services and the MoD are forever engaged in a tussle that obviates its attainment he added, declining to be identified as he was fearful of repercussions, despite having retired.

The Ak-203 saga began after the Army’s wholly impractical multi-calibre assault rifle tender was eventually terminated in 2015 after five fruitless years of trials and evaluations following a flawed qualitative requirement (QR) formulated by the Infantry Directorate for the weapon system. The proposed rifles were intended to replace the indigenously developed Indian Small Arms System (INSAS) 5.56x45mm assault rifles that entered IA service in the mid-1990s, but were seriously flawed and ultimately declared ‘operationally’ inadequate by the force in 2010.

After the disastrous multi-calibre procurement was rescinded the Army, yet again amazingly re-ignited deliberations over which calibre rifle – 5.56mm or 7.62mm – it operationally required. Its ponderings were interspersed with attempts to source an assault rifle from the state-run Ordnance Factory Board (OFB), however, failed. But four years later, in March 2019, just ahead of the general elections a few weeks later, Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated an OFB facility at Korwa near Amethi to licence build 750,000 Russian Kalashnikov Ak-203 7.62x39mm assault rifles with collapsible stocks.

The JV to implement the project followed an Inter-Governmental Agreement (IGA) that was signed soon after in which the OFB had a 50.5% stake in IRPL, the Kalashnikov Group 42% and Russia’s state-owned arms export agency Rosonboronexport, the remaining 7.5%.

The intent was for IRPL to import some 100,000 AK-203’s for around $ 1,100 (Rs 81,000) apiece to meet the army’s urgent operational needs, followed by the licensed production of the remaining 650,000-odd units. Almost immediately, un-reconcilable price differences and technology transfer issues emerged, which industry sources said could not be resolved even during defence minister Rajnath Singh’s recent Moscow visit in September. This, in turn, led to the MoD instituting a ‘Costing Committee’ in September to try and resolve the ‘unreasonable and unacceptable’ rifle contract price reportedly being demanded by Russia. For now, it’s not clear whether this committee’s report has been submitted to the MoD, and if so, what has been the outcome. But the reality is that the Ak-203 deal remains unsigned and the bulk of the IA continues to operate the inefficient INSAS rifles while frontline units employed on counter-insurgency operations (COIN) are dependent on imported weapons.

The Russians were also reportedly demanding a royalty of $200 per Ak-203 rifle produced by the JV, making it an astronomical licence fee of $130 million for 650,000 units, in addition to the cost of erecting the plant, the bulk of which would be borne by OFB. The JV is expected to annually produce 70,000 Ak-203’s, initially from knocked-down kits and later by localising components and sub-assemblies to indigenise production to further the governments Atmanirbhar Bharat initiative.

But contractual problems did not end here.

The OFB is believed to have costed each licence-built Ak-203 rifle initially at around Rs 86,000, amortised over time to average around Rs 80,000 per unit. Embarrassingly, in comparison the import of a repeat import order for 72,400 assault rifles from the US-based Sig Sauer in early 2019 and late 2020, to meet the IA’s urgent operational needs, was considerably cheaper.

Official sources revealed that Sig Sauer’s SIG716 rifle priced at $990 (Rs 72,782) each in 2018 had emerged as L1 or lowest bidder in response to the IA’s tender, besting rivals Israel Weapon Industries and Abu Dhabi’s Caracal International that quoted $1600 and $2000 for their ACE-1 and CAR 817 assault rifles respectively. This was between Rs 13,218 and Rs 7,218 cheaper than that projected by the OFB for each Ak-203 that was really a derivative of the original Ak-47 dating back to 1947.

The obvious price differential which, when extrapolated over 650,000 rifles led to concern and raised eyebrows amongst cautious MoD officials, fearful of adverse publicity if they signed off on the inequitable rifle deal, despite government eagerness to do so to further atmanirbharta.

Cost disparity in LUH JV also

Meanwhile, the Ka-226T LUH deal that was initially announced during Russian President Vladimir Putin’s visit to India in December 2014, following which the IRHL JV was later formed, too awaits closure. This included the direct import of 60 LUHs, assembling 40 and building an additional 100 platforms, in which the indigenous content was to have gradually increased. Of these, 135 Ka-226Ts were intended for the AAC and 65 for the IAF.

But over the past six years, seemingly unbridgeable differences had emerged even in this contract, as a consequence of which the deal is precariously perched, poised for possible termination. These disparities concerned not only the overall project cost, but also the quantum of technology Russia was willing to transfer to IRHL in which Russia’s Rostec Corporation has a 49.5% stake and India’s state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) the remaining 51.5%.

One of the prime issues, however, is that the per unit cost of 140 indigenously produced rotorcraft would be nearly double that of 60 similar platforms which are to be procured in flyaway condition. Industry officials estimate the price of each indigenously produced twin-engine Ka-226T helicopter, under a technology transfer to be around $11 million apiece, compared to around $6 million for one manufactured in Russia. Differences over this cost disparity had endured, even as Russia is looking to provide 140 helicopters in kit form to the JV for local assembly at the special IRHL facility that is under construction at Tumkuru, 74 km north of Bangalore for around Rs 50 billion.

India’s MoD, for its part, is insisting on significant technology transfer to IRHL make the Ka-226T’s under its Atmanirbhar Bharat initiative to develop indigenous helicopter building capability and to reduce import dependence. According to the HAL-led IRHL the JV would ‘localise’ the 140 platforms in four phases. The first would involve 35 helicopters with 3.3% indigenisation, going up to 15% for the next 25 Ka-226T’s. Indigenisation for the subsequent 30 helicopters in the third phase would increase to 30%, rising eventually to 62.4% for the last 40 platforms, a proposal that is believed not have found favour with Moscow.

Despite India’s six-decade-long relationship with Moscow to meet its materiel requirements, immense price differences over directly imported and licence-built equipment, have persevered.

In July 2006, for instance, India’s Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) castigated HAL for licence building Russian Sukhoi Su-30MKI multi-role fighters for almost twice the amount it would have cost to import them directly. The CAG revealed that the total cost of locally building 140 Su-30 MKI’s projected by the MoD in 2002 was $4.91 billion but it nearly doubled to $8.71 billion soon thereafter.

“Indigenisation comes at a high price that includes heavy investments in acquiring land to erect manufacturing facilities, building plants and training manpower to operate them,” said former MoD acquisitions advisor Amit Cowshish. It may be cheaper to import the platforms, but then dependency on the original equipment manufacturer persists, he added.

In yet another related development, the MoD has once again approached Caracal International of the UAE for a lesser number of close quarter battle (CQB) carbines after calling off the earlier tender in September for 93,895 of its CAR 816 5.56x45mm carbines for an estimated $110 million.

The CAR 816 CQB carbines, which were shortlisted in October 2018 over the rival F90 model fielded by Thales of Australia, were intended to replace the army’s OFB-built 9mm Sterling 1A1 sub-machine guns, dating back to the 1940s whose production had been discontinued nearly two decades ago.

These carbines, a vital requirement for IA units on COIN deployment, were being acquired under the Fast Track Procedure (FTP) that was mandated to have been concluded within 17-18 months of the tender for them being issued in March 2018. CAR816 deliveries were scheduled to have been completed by August 2019, but instead, the MoD opted to call off the deal for unknown reasons, some 13 months after that delivery deadline expired.

Industry officials told The Wire that inexplicably, in early December the MoD had once again invited Caracal to bid for the reduced number of CQB carbines, but the outcome of the proposal is under consideration.

In conclusion, atmanirbharta to meet India’s materiel requirements, it seems is an expensive and arduous matter and certainly not a quick fix or a magical silver bullet as many in government seem to believe.
I’m still saying, go for CAR-816 16” and Indigenous LUH.
 

another_armchair

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If a frontline RR unit involved in COIN is offered a choice between -

1. AK series with all the bells & whistles
2. Caracal 816 with all the bells & whistles

What do you think would be the best fit and which gun would most likely be chosen by the unit with 0 pressure exerted upon the deciding members of the unit?
 

Narendra s rawat

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If a frontline RR unit involved in COIN is offered a choice between -

1. AK series with all the bells & whistles
2. Caracal 816 with all the bells & whistles

What do you think would be the best fit and which gun would most likely be chosen by the unit with 0 pressure exerted upon the deciding members of the unit?
If you are taking about RR, then chances of AK are more as the average RR trooper is trained in AK platform.
Personally,I think we have 2 lakh to 1.5 lakh AK of different varient we should use Fab mod accessories to upgrade existing AK and use
Car816 16 inch varient (if mku or other indian Pvt company is really involved in joint venture) for remaining non frontline troops.
Sig 716-1.5 lakh [AR]
Fab mod ak-2 lakh [AK]
Car816-3.6 lakh(carbine) +5 lakh(rifle) [AR]
So we will have a army with AR dominated platform with AK for specialised role.
 

Killbot

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If a frontline RR unit involved in COIN is offered a choice between -

1. AK series with all the bells & whistles
2. Caracal 816 with all the bells & whistles

What do you think would be the best fit and which gun would most likely be chosen by the unit with 0 pressure exerted upon the deciding members of the unit?
Car-816. It is just much more modular than an AK, lighter, much more accurate and will be reliable enough. It is a piston operated gun like the HK-416. I can't speak for others, but if given a choice, I'm going with Car-816 7 days a week and 52 weeks a year.

@Narendra s rawat also has a point. An RR guy would feel comfortable with an AK. But if exposed to the Car-816 during basic training, i think, he'd go for the latter.
 

FalconSlayers

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Car-816. It is just much more modular than an AK, lighter, much more accurate and will be reliable enough. It is a piston operated gun like the HK-416. I can't speak for others, but if given a choice, I'm going with Car-816 7 days a week and 52 weeks a year.

@Narendra s rawat also has a point. An RR guy would feel comfortable with an AK. But if exposed to the Car-816 during basic training, i think, he'd go for the latter.
We should scrap AK-203 as it is only a modified AK-47, good for SF not for us.
CAR-816 will be made in India and that too by a private player hence quality will be maximum. 1.2 million order will enable UAE to further invest in India while Russia never invests in India, never. Neither in defence or trade. Bad part of Russia is this only else they are great but started taking chinese side, they openly sell weapons to the Chinese PLA. In long term Russia would not be a great friend as they don’t consider us a great friend because for them China comes first.
 

WolfPack86

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DRDO’s new carbine clears Army’s final trials, ready for use
Last week, the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) said that a Carbine, jointly developed by its Pune-based facility and the Ordnance Factory Board (OFB), had completed its final phase of user trials by the Army and was ready for induction.

The Joint Venture Protective Carbine (JVPC) is not just slated to replace the ageing 9 mm carbine currently in use by the armed forces but would also modernise the armoury of the Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs), like the CRPF and BSF, and state police forces.

The primary objective of this weapon system is to injure or incapacitate the target without causing casualty.


The JVPC is primarily a gas-operated automatic 5.56 x 30 mm calibre weapon of a semi-bullpup category because of the positioning of its action and trigger. The carbine — a weapon that has a barrel shorter than rifle — has been designed as per Indian Army’s General Staff Qualitative Requirements (GSQRs). The JVPC is also sometimes referred to as Modern Sub Machine Carbine (MSMC) that can fire at the rate of 700 rounds per minute.

The joint development has been done by Armament Research and Development Establishment (ARDE), a Pune-based facility of the DRDO and Small Arms Factory, Kanpur of the OFB. The weapon is manufactured at the SAF and Ammunition is manufactured at Ammunition Factory, Khadki (AFK) in Pune.

Around the late 1980s, the ARDE undertook a project to design and develop a family of small Arms in 5.56 x 45 mm calibre and which was later termed as INSAS (Indian Small Arms System). This family of weapons included rifle and light machine gun (LMG) along with its ammunition and accessories. INSAS underwent a series of tests including those in a variety of harsh environments and was inducted in 1994.

These weapons, though with some serious issues, are still in use by the armed forces and security agencies in India along with other small arms of foreign and domestic make. The INSAS family also had a carbine in it, but its development did not materialise.

Sometime around 2005-06, the ARDE started working on a Multi-Caliber Individual Weapon System (MCIWS) with an interchangeable barrel to facilitate firing of 5.56×45 mm, 7.62×39 mm and 6.8×43 mm ammunition. However, this project was also subsequently set aside primarily due to lack of demand from the user.

Between early 2010 and 2015-16, a demand started coming from the Armed forces for a carbine, thus prompting the ARDE and OFB to join hands to develop JVPC. Some of the technological features from the previous development efforts were carried forward and since 2016-17, extensive trials of the JVPC commenced. Till now, the weapon system has undergone initial development trials, pre-user internal trials, user trials and trials by Director General of Quality Assurance (DGQA).

The weapon system has been designed keeping in mind the requirements of the Close Quarter Battle or CQB operations and its low recoil action ensures that the weapon is stable during firing, said a DRDO scientist, adding that a modular mechanism makes it easy for maintenance. The effective range of the carbine is more than 100 m and weighs about three kilograms. It can penetrate 3.5 mm mild steel and 23-layer soft armour at 100 metres.

Its key features like high reliability, low recoil, retractable butt, ergonomic design, single-hand firing capability, and multiple Picatinny rails for various attachments make it a very potent weapon for Counter Insurgency and Counter-Terrorism operations and also conventional battles. The weapon has already passed the Ministry of Home Affairs trials in the past and various CAPFs under the MHA and State Police bodies have started the procurement process.
 

valleyosint

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What are the Indian Made AK rifles called? Are those still in consideration for the army or any police/paramilitary forces? If there are already a lot of AK rifles in service, keeping the same platform to keep troops familiar seems reasonable.

Also, if anyone can explain where the AKs in current service came from that would be great. Were they made in India or did they buy them from Russia?
 

Maharaj samudragupt

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What are the Indian Made AK rifles called? Are those still in consideration for the army or any police/paramilitary forces? If there are already a lot of AK rifles in service, keeping the same platform to keep troops familiar seems reasonable.

Also, if anyone can explain where the AKs in current service came from that would be great. Were they made in India or did they buy them from Russia?
Shrimaan lagta hai naye aaye hain aap.
The saga of Kalashnikov started in 80s when india involved itself in operation pawan in lanka .
There the ltte was using aks and the indian jawan could not counter them effectively with Slr rifles so it is said that the jawans many times took ak rifles from dead guys .
 

Maharaj samudragupt

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Another time was in kashmir in 90s when mujhaeedins entered and used ak series rifles , again same thing was repeted by army .
They took it from Dead guys .
 

valleyosint

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Another time was in kashmir in 90s when mujhaeedins entered and used ak series rifles , again same thing was repeted by army .
They took it from Dead guys .
Yes I have heard this story too. But surely the CRPF and other J&K forces are not using AK rifles they found on dead insurgents. I assume they bought some or made some since then
 

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