Indian ArmyNews

The Army Is Acquiring 4,800 New Sniper Rifles And Upgrading Its Sniping Skills

Story Highlights
  • The Army has made emergency purchases of a small number of.338 Sako TRG-42,.338 Lapua Magnum Scorpio TGT, and.50-calibre M95 sniper rifles from other countries.
  • The Dragunov rifles are also incompatible with a number of contemporary mandatory accessories, including as magnifiers and sight systems, because they lack Picatinny rails.

A skilled sniper can be a lethal force multiplier on the battlefield to terrorise adversaries. In light of this, the Army is finally moving forward with the purchase of several long-range sniper weapons and improving training in this lethal talent.

For the soldiers stationed on the borders with Pakistan and China, the Army on Tuesday issued a request for information (RFI) for 78 lakh rounds of ammunition and 4,800 brand-new sniper rifles with telescopic sights from Indian manufacturers.

At the Infantry School in Mhow, the fundamental and advanced sniper courses are also being modernised at the same time. Sniper teams can be more effectively used as force multipliers and human intelligence assets with the proper training and deployment, according to a senior officer.

The most basic talent for a sniper is long-range precision shooting, but he continued, “excellent snipers also need to be competent in survival, camouflage, stalking, and navigation for conventional battles as well as counter-terrorism operations.”

The RFI stipulates that the new.338-calibre sniper rifles and the.338 Lapua Magnum high-powered ammunition must have an effective range of more than 1,200 metres. The transaction will cost about Rs 460 crore.

“Around September, a tender or RFP (request for proposal) will be launched to Indian vendors. After the contract is signed, deliveries must start within six months. In June 2019, a previous plan to purchase 5,719 sniper rifles was abandoned since no vendor was found to be compliant. Since then, Indian businesses—some with foreign assistance—have developed improved sniper rifles, according to a different official.

Sniping had been a significant operational difficulty for Indian forces along the 778-km long Line of Control prior to the resumption of the border truce in February of last year because Pakistani troops were armed with far better sniper weapons.

In recent years, the Army has made emergency purchases of a small number of.338 Sako TRG-42,.338 Lapua Magnum Scorpio TGT, and.50-calibre M95 sniper rifles from other countries.

Although each unit in the 12-lakh strong Army is allowed 10 sniper rifles, the approximately 380 infantry battalions are still mostly armed with 7.62mm Dragunov semi-automatic sniper rifles of Russian provenance. These rifles were designed in the 1960s and had a “restricted” kill range of 800 metres. The Dragunov rifles are also incompatible with a number of contemporary mandatory accessories, including as magnifiers and sight systems, because they lack Picatinny rails.

This operational gap will be filled by the purchase of 4,800 sniper rifles. It is crucial for us to improve our sniping capabilities, both in terms of modern rifles and training, an officer said. “The shift in operational dynamics, the experience along the LoC, and the upgradation of the sniper capability by our foes has made it vital for us.”

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