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By Bulbul Singh

10 Jun 11. To arm additional troops along the Chinese border, India will buy varieties of ammunition and assault rifles from the overseas market valued at over $1 billion.

The purchase includes 122mm HOW (howitzer) ammunition and 160mm mortar High Explosive (HE) ammunition, carbines and ammunition.

The requirement for carbines is around 44000 units, along with varieties of ammunition. A tender for the carbines has been issued to Germany’s Heckler and Koch, Israel Weapon Industries Ltd (IWI), Colt Defense LLC. of United States, Bushmaster Firearms International LLC. and Singapore Technologies Kinetics Ltd.

In addition, the Indian army is also purchasing ammunition, magazines, bayonets, slings, reflex sights and visible and invisible laser spot designators. The army is looking at a 5.56mm calibre system with a rate of fire of 660 rounds a minute and 10,730 light-weight assault rifles for special forces.

This order is in addition to the government’s plan to indigenously manufacture another 116,764 carbines and 218,320 advanced carbines for an estimated $500 million

Bids have also been invited for the purchase of 5178 rounds of 160mm Mortar HE ammunition and fuze. The 160mm HE bomb will be used for support of ground troops and armoured units and the HE bomb should be functional with both fragmentation and blast effects. The total weight of the bomb should be 38.5 kilograms with a shell body weight of 29.15 kilograms, and HE filling of 4.85 kilograms, the length should be 870mm. The HE bomb should be provided with the PDM-111-A2 fuze which is a point detonating fuze, incorporating both super quick and delay action and meet all safety standards.

Bids have also been invited for the purchase of 122mm Howitzer (HOW) ammunition, 33700 rounds of 122mm Reduce charge are required.

The shelf life of the HOW ammunition should be 15 years under sheltered conditions during peace time. The ammunition should be compatible with the 122mm HOW gun, should be packed in watertight containers, and should be marked with luminous point for ease of recognition by night under field conditions. The ammunition should be able to be stored with a minimum temperature of -40 degrees Celsius and a maximum temperature of 55 degrees Celsius with a maximum relative humidity of 95 degrees.

India is concentrating on arming its troops along the Chinese border, and is deploying a variety of UAVs, light observation helicopters. The construction of bunkers along the borders is also being speeded up.

The Indian Army Chief has already made a case before the government to set up a new mountain strike corps along the Chinese border in addition to the mountain infantry divisions already under establishment.

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