The Indian Army will finally start receiving new small arms after a contract was signed with the small arms manufacturer SIG Sauer in the US for 72,400 rifles of 7.62mm calibre assault rifles. According to a statement, The Indian Ministry of Defence has officially contracted with SIG SAUER to build and deliver 72,400 SIG716 rifles for its frontline infantry soldiers. The deal, valued at some 7 billion Rupees, or about $100 million U.S, which are being acquired under the MoD’s Fast Track Procedure, is expected be completed within 12 months.
The new rifles will replace the locally made Indian Small Arms System (INSAS) 5.56 mm assault rifles that entered IA service in the mid-1990s, but were declared “operationally inadequate” by the army in early 2010. While India fields a 1.2 million-strong Army, the country has a hodgepodge of small arms acquired over the past half-century, and the new guns will go to equip units deployed along the subcontinent’s borders with Pakistan and China while the service looks for domestically-available solutions to reequip the whole force.
The SIG716 is an enhanced AR platform featuring a 16-inch barrel, M-LOM handguard, and a 6-position telescoping stock. Sig Sauer currently makes the rifle in a number of Patrol and DMR variants using a free-floating aluminum handguard with Key-Mod or M-LOK attachments and a top-mounted M1913 Mil-Std rail. The SIG716 is a short-stroke pushrod gas action 7.62mm autoloader that accepts SR25 pattern magazines. SIG Sauer will build the SIG716 rifles for the Indian Army in New Hampshire.