RFI general manager D. K. Mahapatra on Friday said that its 7.62x51-mm assault rifle is priced around Rs 80,000-82,000 each.
Kolkata: A day after the defence ministry announced of its Rs 700 crore deal with US weapon production giant, SIG Sauer, to buy 7.62x51-mm automatic assault rifles for the Indian Army under the fast procurement procedure, the Rifle Factory Ishapore (RFI) under the state-run Ordnance Factory Board, which had built the same calibre weapon in a record time of six months nearly two years ago, has informed that the indigenous product was cheaper than the foreign one.
RFI general manager D. K. Mahapatra on Friday said that its 7.62x51-mm assault rifle is priced around Rs 80,000-82,000 each. Each SIG Sauer rifle which will replace 5.56x45-mm INSAS rifle for the infantry soldiers of the Army is expected cost the government around Rs 1 lakh however, sources in the RFI claimed. On the selection of SIG Sauer for the deal many, RFI officials even reasoned that the particular company perhaps wants to enter the Indian marketspace to tap the business and become a dominant player.
Noting that the indigenous product did not clear the trial, Mr Mahapatra added that the project management team of the Army last inspected it at the RFI in November of 2017. He argued, “For this 7.62x51-mm weapon the weight in the Army General Staff Qualitative Requirements (GSQR) four kgs but in our GSQR it weighs around three kgs. Besides many features were changed in our product.”
The RFI officials pointed out that the factory was set up in North 24 Parganas to build rifles and meet the requirements for the Indian Army which is the user. “As a user the army is the authority. Now what can we do if the army does not take our products? The government will do what the army will ask for. But I do not believe our products are inferior,” one of them observed. Mr Mahapatra underlined that the indegenous rifle brand name would include “Ishapore” certainly when it would hit the market in future.
Defence ministry spokesperson Colonel Aman Anand however said, “Pressing need of state of the art rifle for the front line soldiers to meet the present operational challenges in forward areas. Weapons available locally at present did not qualify the requirements of the Army.”