Source : Indian Defence Analysis
India to procure General Purpose Machine Gun for Special Forces
Back in November, last year, it was reported that the Indian Army is looking to procure 716 general-purpose machine guns from the United States. The deal is worth Rs 400 crore and will be done via American FMS or Foreign Military Sales route which is nothing but a government-to-government deal. Since there is no RFI or L1 bidder involved in such deals the procurement will be much faster than the usual process though the price of weapon purchased will be higher.
Now, as per the latest update, India has trimmed down this requirement in order to push for indigenous GPMG. India will now procure 100 GPMG instead of 700 and the remaining 600 will be made in India.
Considering the never-ending terrorist activities in Jammu & Kashmir, GPMG is need of the hour to add the power punch to our armed forces. The machine gun is being procured for special forces unit of Indian Army.
What is General-Purpose Machine Gun (GPMG) ?
A general-purpose machine gun (GPMG) is an air-cooled, usually belt-fed machine gun that can be adapted flexibly to various tactical roles for light and medium machine guns. It features a quick-change barrel design calibered for various fully powered cartridges and can be configured for mounting to different stabilizing platforms from bipods and tripods to vehicles, aircraft, boats and fortifications. It usually used as an infantry support weapon or squad automatic weapon.
Indian Army at present operates various types of General-purpose machine guns and let us not confuse it with light machine gun or a heavy machine gun. This includes FN MAG which is a Belgian 7.62 mm, Soviet Era PK and MK 48 general-purpose machine guns.
What is not disclosed is the model of the General-Purpose machine gun to be procured by Indian Army. However, it’s not very difficult to guess. Its most likely to be FN’s MK 48 which has a manufacturing unit at Columbia, United States.
The reason why we think it’s going to be MK 48 is because, Indian Army is already operating this machine gun. GPMG is now being procured for Special Forces of Indian Army. MK 48 is also the official machine gun for the special forces of United States such as U.S. Navy SEALs and Army’s 75th Ranger Regiment. This gun also has an interesting legacy. It was used by US Special Forces as fire support weapons during the raid in May 2011 that killed Osama bin Laden in his hideout in Pakistan.
About Mk-48 General-Purpose Machine Gun (GPMG)
The MK48 is manufactured by FN Manufacturing, Inc., a division of FN Herstal based in the United States. It has been developed in conjunction with the U.S. Special Operations Command. The Mk 48 is a gas-operated, air-cooled, fully automatic belt-fed machine gun. The design is based on an early 7.62×51mm NATO prototype of the FN Minimi – Maximi, modified to be a scaled-up version of the 5.56 mm Mk 46. It features five Picatinny rails (one on top of the receiver, one on each side of the forearm/handguard, one under the handguard, and one on top of the barrel), an integral folding bipod, and a tripod-mounting lug. The weapon is fitted a polymer buttstock. The weapon can be fed from a loose belt, separate belt boxes, or clip-on ammunition pouches for 100 rounds. The gun has the rate of fire of 660-760 rounds per minute and effective firing range of 800m. Its maximum firing range is 3600m.
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