09 April 2019
by Jon Grevatt
Thales Australia and India’s Kalyani Group have teamed up to meet a long-delayed Indian Army requirement to procure close-quarter battle (CQB) carbines.
The partnership was confirmed on 9 April by the Australian Department of Defence (DoD), which said the two companies would look to win the contract with Thales Australia’s F90CQB 5.56 mm assault rifle, a short-barrelled variant of the F90 rifle in service with the Australian Defence Force (ADF).
Thales Australia and Indian company Kalyani have partnered to build in India a variant of Thales’ F90 assault rifle (pictured here) for the Indian Army. (Thales Australia)
If the joint bid is successful, Thales Australia will manufacture the rifle in India in partnership with the Kalyani Group, with delivery of the carbines taking place over five years. The DoD said the Indian Army programme featured the acquisition of 350,000 rifles. The partnership also features Thales Australia transfers of technologies and know-how to the Indian company.
In a press release on 8 April, Thales said it would deliver technologies to Kalyani enabling the partnership to “design and develop” weapons systems in India. Thales said these systems would include variants of the F90 rifle and that the partnership would bid for firearms contracts in India and export markets.
Kalyani operates two defence subsidiaries in India: Kalyani Strategic Systems Limited (KSSL) and Bharat Forge Limited (BFL). Both have experience in producing ammunition, firearms, and related components. However, the subsidiaries have also outlined an intention to expand capabilities through partnerships with foreign contractors.
To this end, both KSSL and BFL have formed joint ventures and established partnership arrangements with several foreign companies in recent years including Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, Saab, Israel Aerospace Industries, Elbit System, and Safran.
Thales Australia and India’s Kalyani Group have teamed up to meet a long-delayed Indian Army require...