Source : Times Now
|OFB CQB carbine at DEFEXPO 2020|
New Delhi: Yes, it is about atmanirbharata or self-reliance, but more importantly, it is one of the first signs of “jointness,” or the army, navy and air force planning to work together in designing and developing a weapon.
The Caracal, a carbine that the Indian army was planning to buy from the United Arab Emirates, has been put aside for the moment, at least and there are plans for an indigenously made carbine for the army, navy and air force. Instead of the 95,000 odd Caracal carbines, there is a plan for 4.2 lakh carbines to be made in India. Initial estimates suggest that the allocation for the project is going to be over Rs. 5,000 crores.
The production of over 4 lakh carbines will take time. Which is why there is a plan to allot the contract to two manufacturers, whether in the private or the public sector. This means that the L1 (or the firm with the best bids may get to make over 2 lakh carbines, but the firm that is L2 will get the remaining amount. This will ensure that the weapons are quickly delivered. A decision about splitting of contracts if they take longer than 3 years is yet to be taken but could be in the coming days. This is also something the armed forces favour.
The indigenous manufacture of something like a carbine has been discussed earlier. The argument, sources said, is simply this: why import something like a carbine that is not very high-tech. Why can’t it be made in India, even by collaborating with a foreign firm? Such a process has already been initiated with plans for the joint manufacture by India and Russia of the AK-203 (Kalashnikov) assault rifle in a VIP constituency in Uttar Pradesh. A similar project for the carbine is entirely possible and the defence ministry is expected to take a decision on this very shortly.