Assault rifles Current Affairs - 2019
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The Defence Acquisition Council chaired by Defence Minister has approved capital acquisition of 7.4 lakh assault rifles, 17,000 light machine guns, 5,719 sniper rifles and Mareech advanced torpedo decoy systems for Indian Navy worth Rs. 15,935 crore. DAC is Defence Ministry’s highest decision-making body on procurement.
DAC approval includes
7.4 lakh assault rifles: It will be procured for three Services. These rifles will be ‘Made in India’ under categorisation of ‘Buy and Make (Indian)’, through both the Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) and private industry at an estimated cost of Rs. 12,280 crore. The assault rifles will be of 7.62mm calibre and carbines of 5.56mm calibre. It will replace the indigenous INSAS rifles.
17,000 light machine guns: It will be procured for three Services through fast-track procedure at over Rs. 1,819 crore.
5,719 sniper rifles: It will procured for Indian Army and Air Force for about Rs. 982 crore. It will be bought in Buy Global category. Its ammunition will be initially procured and subsequently manufactured in India.
Mareech advanced torpedo decoy systems: It will procured for Indian Navy to enhance the anti-submarine warfare capabilities of Naval Ships. It has been developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and has successfully completed extensive trial evaluations. The systems will be produced by Bharat Electronics Ltd (BEL), Bengaluru, at an estimated cost of Rs.850 crore.
The Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) chaired by Union Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has cleared procurement proposal of 72,400 assault rifles and 93,895 carbines on fast track basis for Rs 3,547 crore.
DAC also simplified ‘Make II’ procedure which prescribes guidelines to be followed to develop and manufacture defence equipment through Indian Industry.
Procurement of assault rifles
The procurement of assault rifles aims enable the Defence Forces to meet their immediate requirement for troops deployed on borders. They will be processed under government-to-government route to conclude deals at the earliest. Army had decided to go for two different rifles — import a high-tech rifle in small numbers for infantry soldiers on front lines and procure the indigenous rifle in large numbers to meet balance requirement.
Make II procedure
The simplification of Make II procedure aims encourage participation of private sector in defence design and production and give boost to ‘Make in India’ programme in Defence Sector. Make II procedure prescribes guidelines to develop and manufacture defence equipment through Indian industry.
The revised procedure will make the procedure industry friendly, with minimal government control. It will now allow Defence Ministry to accept suo motu proposals from industry and also allow start-ups to develop equipment for armed forces.
The minimum qualification criteria to participate in ‘Make II’ projects also was relaxed by removing conditions related to credit rating and reducing financial net worth criteria. Now all vendors meeting criteria will be allowed to participate in prototype development process instead of only two vendors earlier. In addition there will be no need to submit detailed project report.
After accord of approval by DAC, all clearances will be accorded by Service Head-Quarters (SHQ) which will also set up project facilitation teams to hand-hold the industry.