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Indian Army issues RFI for 93,895 close quarter battle carbines

The Indian Army (IA) has issued a request for information (RFI) to overseas and domestic vendors for the procurement of 93,895 close quarter battle (CBQ) carbines for an estimated USD110 million.

Issued on 10 February, the document states that the IA seeks to acquire 5.56×45 mm carbines via the Ministry of Defence’s (MoD’s) Fast Track Procedure (FTP). The weapons are required to be 650 mm long in foldable and 800 mm long in extended conditions and weigh no more than 3.3 kg.

Fitted with a MIL-STD-1913 Picatinny rail system for optical devices and other accessories, the proposed carbines are required to have a range of 200 m using Ordnance Factory Board (OFB)-made ammunition and be accurate to less than five minutes of angle (MoA).

The carbines also need to be capable of operating in extreme temperatures ranging between -20°C and +45°C, according to the RFI.

Industry officials told Janes on 17 February that the RFI was despatched to about 40 companies, including Thales Australia, Adani Defence (India), Beretta (Italy), as well as Colt and SIG Sauer (US).

The document was issued about five months after a USD110 million deal for an equal number of CQB carbines was scrapped by India’s MoD in September 2020 for undisclosed reasons. Caracal International’s CAR 816 model had been shortlisted for the procurement at the time following a 2018 request for proposal (RFP).

Official sources said a new RFP for the carbines is likely to be despatched around mid-2021, and a contract is set to be signed in the second half of 2022.

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