The Indian Army has issued an official Request for Information (RFI) pertaining to the procurement of a General Purpose Machine Gun (GPMG) specifically intended for utilization by its esteemed Special Forces. The primary purpose of the GPMG gun is to serve as a versatile weapon, providing sustained and continuous fire, thereby serving as an exemplary “Squad Automatic Weapon” for the Special Forces. A squad automatic weapon, by definition, is a specialized firearm designed to be employed at the forefront of military operations, offering crucial support to infantry squads.
The GPMG machine gun, as per the requirements outlined in the RFI, must possess a caliber of 7.62mm x 51mm and exhibit a maximum effective range of not less than 1000 meters. It is of utmost importance that this weapon showcases impeccable accuracy and lethal capability, ensuring the ability to neutralize up to three human targets.
Additionally, this firearm must have the capability to discharge a minimum of 120 rounds per minute in short, intermittent bursts, while also being capable of firing at a sustained rate of at least 800 rounds per minute. To ensure operational efficiency, the vendor must provide a spare barrel that can be swiftly interchanged under field conditions, while guaranteeing a minimum barrel life of 20,000 rounds.
Specifications Outlined in the RFI for the General Purpose Machine Gun (GPMG)
The RFI presents an array of essential features and requirements aimed at enhancing the overall functionality, versatility, and adaptability of the GPMG in diverse operational scenarios. These key features can be categorized as follows:
As per the RFI, the GPMG should incorporate a flash hider, strategically designed to minimize the level of flash produced during firing. Additionally, the firearm’s weight should not exceed 10 kilograms when equipped with a bipod, and its overall length, with the butt extended, must not exceed 1.2 meters.
The feeding mechanism can be either drum-fed or belt-fed, offering flexibility in ammunition supply. Moreover, the butt of the weapon should possess retractable or folding capabilities, ensuring convenience and adaptability in various operational situations.
Attachments and Accessories
To ensure optimal versatility, the GPMG must be compatible with different mounting options, including an extendable and foldable bipod for enhanced stability during firing, a tripod to facilitate sustained and stationary shooting, and the capability to be securely mounted on various vehicles. Furthermore, the firearm should be equipped with a suppressor to effectively diminish both flash and noise signatures, along with a blank firing attachment specifically designed for training purposes. Additionally, the GPMG should incorporate a standard Picatinny Rail system, allowing for easy customization with a wide range of sighting systems.
GPMG Ammunition Compatibility
The construction of the GPMG should primarily employ high-impact plastic or composite materials, meticulously designed to provide both ergonomic and aesthetically pleasing attributes, as outlined in the RFI. It is imperative that this firearm demonstrates the ability to discharge various types of ammunition, including ball, tracer, steel core, blank, armor-piercing, and incendiary rounds, ensuring utmost flexibility in meeting diverse mission requirements.
Durability and Maintenance
The GPMG must exhibit exceptional robustness, enabling reliable functionality in various terrain conditions, ranging from flat plains to challenging desert and mountainous environments. It should also be suitable for airborne operations, with the capability to withstand impact during landing when carried underslung by paratroopers during parachute jumps.
Both the weapon and its accompanying accessories should conform to the stringent standards set by the army (JSS 55555), effectively showcasing resistance to moisture, humidity, rain, and saltwater. Moreover, the GPMG should offer ease of field stripping and assembly without the need for specialized tools, and demand minimal lubrication for optimal performance. A minimum service life of 10 years is expected for this firearm.
By incorporating these meticulously defined specifications, the GPMG will undoubtedly possess the necessary features and capabilities to effectively meet the demands presented by modern combat scenarios. Its well-thought-out design will enable efficient and reliable performance across diverse operational environments, offering the utmost flexibility, adaptability, and ease of maintenance for military personnel.
Furthermore, the Indian Army plans to acquire thermal imaging night vision sights to significantly augment the night fighting capabilities of its esteemed special forces.
The Indian government has set forth stringent parameters for the acquisition of such firearms by the Armed Forces, ensuring transparency and objectivity throughout the process. Eligibility is limited to Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM) or Authorized Vendors, who must meet specific financial requirements, including a minimum turnover of 30 percent of the project cost and a net worth of five percent. Aspects such as insolvency and credit ratings are also taken into careful consideration.
Vendors are required to possess a valid defense industrial license and must be registered for a minimum duration. Stipulations allow for reliance on holding companies or group entities to fulfill the specified parameters. In certain cases, start-ups and MSMEs may be considered for projects within designated cost limits, with criteria meticulously evaluated on a case-by-case basis.