The defence ministry is close to accepting a repeat order from the United States for 73,000 SiG 716 G2 patrol assault or battlefield rifles to suit the needs of its frontline troops. The defence ministry’s ‘repeat purchase’ for 73,000 SiG rifles is “in the final stage of approval” after cancellation claims appeared last week.
In February 2019, the government ordered 72,400 SiG 716 rifles of 7.62 x 51mm calibre from SIG Sauer Inc, USA, under the government’s ‘Buy (Global) category’ through the fast track system – 66,400 for the army, 4,000 for the air force, and 2,000 for the Navy (FTP). The ‘Buy (Global)’ category refers to outright equipment purchases from international vendors. The shipment was brought to the soldiers and distributed.
As previously reported, the Army had equipped nearly 400 infantry battalions with the SiG 716, contrary to initial plans to equip only frontline units. All infantry battalions have received at least two companies (each with around 100 troops) of the SiG 716, regardless of whether they are in the field or at peace stations. The amount of firearms issued to each battalion varied, with some battalions receiving more than others.
According to defence sources, the defence ministry is in the midst of sanctioning a repeat order of 73,000 SiG 716 assault rifles, based on the weapon’s performance and to assure operational requirement, commonality, and associated logistics functionality.
The new order is intended to address the needs of the remaining frontline troops who have not yet received these guns. According to sources, the rationale for this weapon’s selection is due to a change in the Indian Army’s operational philosophy in 2016, when the 7.62 x 51mm calibre was picked above the 5.56 x 45mm calibre as the best calibre for operations.
As a result of the greater calibre (7.62 x 51mm), the SiG 716 Assault Rifle has a longer effective range, more lethality, and more recoil than the INSAS Rifle (5.56 x 51mm Calibre) or the AK-47 Rifle (7.62 x 39mm Calibre), which are also employed.