The Indian Army is all set to place its second order for 72,000 US-built SIG Sauer SIG716 G2 assault rifles using the financial powers granted to the Indian Armed Forces. The new SIG 716 rifles will partially replace the Indian Army’s INSAS (INdian Small Arms System) assault rifle. The Indian Army has been, for long, seeking to replace its INSAS rifle, chambered for 5.56x45mm NATO round, with a rifle that fires a larger, more powerful 7.62x51mm round, such as the SIG 716. The Indian Army had placed the first order for 72,400 of these rifles in February 2019 under the fast-track programme at a cost of around Rs 700 crore and started receiving its first pieces under this deal in December 2019.
The first batch of 10,000 SIG716 assault rifles arrived in India in December 2019. A majority of these rifles (66,400) are for the Indian Army with the remaining divided between the Navy (2,000) and the Air Force (4,000).The major portion of the Army’s INSAS rifle inventory will reportedly be replaced by the Russia-designed AK-203 assault rifles, manufactured in India by Indo-Russia Rifles Private Limited. The Indo-Russia Rifles is a joint venture between India’s state-owned Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) and Russia’s Kalashnikov Concern, with Rosoboronexport holding a minority stake. The JV will produce around 750,000 AK-203 rifles, a 7.62×39mm variant from the AK-100 family.
The SIG Sauer SIG516 is an AR-15 style rifle chambered in 5.56×45mm NATO. The SIG716 G2 (Generation 2) variant features a short-stroke pushrod gas system. This operating system reduces carbon fouling, excessive heat and unburned powder in the action, ensuring further improved reliability and function. The SIG716G2 Patrol is the Generation 2 assault rifle variant of SIG716 while SIG716G2 DMR is the designated marksman rifle variant. The SIG Sauer Inc was originally formed in 1985 (then called SIGARMS) to distribute firearms made by German firearms manufacturer SIG Sauer GmbH into the United States. Since 2000, the company is organizationally separate from SIG Sauer GmbH, and was renamed SIG Sauer Inc. in 2007.