The much awaited induction of sniper rifles into Indian Army infantry units and the elite Para Commando special forces will have to wait as Indian Defence Ministry has decided to scrap its September 2018 request for proposal (RFP) to foreign manufacturers to acquire 5,719 8.6 mm sniper rifles and 10.2 million rounds of ammunition, reports Jane’s Defence.
The RFP was withdrawn in late June after bids submitted by four vendors failed to meet the qualitative requirements concerning the supply of .338 Lapua Magnum ammunition rounds. The four bidders were Indonesia’s P T Pindad, Rosoboronexport from Russia and US firms Barrett and MSA Global.
The Indian army special forces at present use Dragunov sniper rifle (SVD-63) but this gun is limited by its kill range of 800 meters, due to which the army is on the lookout to procure sniper rifles with a range capable of giving tactical advantage over enemies, particularly at the Line of Control in Kashmir.
The sniper rifles which Indian army prefers is Beretta's .338 Lapua Magnum Scorpio TGT and Barrett's .50-calibre M95 guns. These guns have an effective kill range from 1,500 to 1,800 metres and targets much further away have been neutralized.
Director of Security Risks Asia, Brigr Rahul Bhonsle (retd), said, “badly conceived, particularly with regard to the ammunition component, leaving the MoD no choice but to withdraw it”.
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