The close-quarter battle (CQB) carbines are critical for the Indian Army posted in the Kashmir Valley to take on terrorists holed up inside buildings. But sadly, there have been repeated failures to purchase them through the tender system. The Defence Ministry has a requirement for 44,000 of such carbines.
Now, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar has decided to buy the carbines directly from the country offering it, rather than going for the long process of global tendering. The ministry has weighed in the options and has found direct buy to be better suited as the global tendering process gets mired with corruption allegations and favouritism, New Indian Express reported.
“With repeated failure to procure it through the global tendering process, the ministry has to go for direct government-to-government sale for buying the weapon. It will speed up the acquisition process and will rule out allegations of corruption,” a top ministry official said.
The current proposal is to directly buy 10,000 carbines under the Foreign Military Sales agreement and the rest 30,000 would be license produced to meet the requirement of the Army.
In 2011, the Army had issued a global tender for CQB carbines, and after a mammoth six-year testing exercise, the Army filtered it down to two rifles, Beretta’s ARX-160 and Israeli Weapon Industry’s ACE.
Carbines are mostly long gun with a barrel that is under 20 inch (508mm) in length.
Here are the five options India has before it:
1. Israeli Weapon Industry’s ACE
ACE is a next generation weapon that is highly reliable and accurate. It uses standard 5.56X45mm, 7.62x39mm and 7.62X51mm ammunition, thus a weapon of choice for many armies.
It is battle-proven even in the most adverse and extreme conditions. ACE has 360° Picatinny rails that allow the armies to mount a variety of optical devices. Users can also fit 40mm grenade launcher under the barrel.
2. Beretta ARX160
The Beretta ARX160 has operations, controls, accessorisation and customisation options.
The weapon has ambidextrous two-position safety, magazine release and cocking handle. It too comes with four Picatinny rails, on top, on both sides and on the bottom. It also has a telescopic folding stock.
It is constructed using superior steel and technopolymer. It is also easy on maintenance.
3. Colt M4 Carbine
Colt’s M4 is a designed for lightweight mobility, speed of target acquisition, and potent firepower capability. The Colt M4 has 5.56×45 carbine and has a barrel of 14.5 in (370 mm). It also has a telescoping stock and users can mount grenade launchers.
It can fire in semi-automatic and three-round burst modes. This gas-operated weapon is ideal for CQB. It can also be fitted with various accessories, like night vision devices, suppressors, laser pointers, telescopic sights, bipods, grenade launchers, shotgun, forward hand grips, thanks to the Picatinny rail.
4. CZ 805 BREN
The CZ 805 BREN uses 5.56×45 mm ammunition. It is a very durable weapon that works in most adverse conditions and temperatures.
The weapon can fire single shots, two round bursts and full automatic fire. The weapon features four accessory rails. It has fully ambidextrous controls and has chrome-lined barrel. The weapon is equipped with side-folding buttstock. Additional equipment includes grenade launcher and a bayonet.
5. AMOGH Carbine
This carbine is derived from the Excalibur rifle, which is a derivative of INSAS rifle. The carbine uses 5.56×30mm ammunition and is a fully automatic weapon. The weapon has been designed for lose quarter battle (CQB) role.
The weapon is ergonomically designed, light in weight, easy to carry, handle, operate and maintain. It features ambidextrous lever change operation. It also provides reflex sight and bayonet as accessories.