Para (SF) Urgently Require General Purpose Machine Gun
By SP's Special Correspondent
February 2, 2015: The Para (SF) units of the Indian Army require an unspecified number of General Purpose Machine Guns (GPMG) on a fast-track basis for which an RFI is expected shortly. The new general purpose machine guns will be for its Parachute (Special Forces) battalions to augment and later replace the license-built Belgian MAG-58 and Soviet-era PKM GPMGs currently in use by the battalions. The weapon needs to be fully interoperable with the current weapons in terms of ammunition compatibility (OFB 7.62x51mm rounds, which will have to be demonstrated in trials), with a barrel life of at least 20,000 rounds. The army has stipulated that it requires a 7.62mm x 51mm caliber weapon to serve as both a light and medium machine gun. The army is looking for a weapon with greater range than an LMG and lighter than an MMG, with a maximum effective range of 1,000-metres. Expectedly, the army would prefer parallel supply of telescopic sights by the OEM, but definitely wants standard Mil 1913 picatinny rails on the weapon to mount different types of sighting systems. As with the two current weapons in service, the army will be looking to use the new GPMGs in multiple modes: as an infantry weapon in different profiles, vehicle mounted and heliborne operations. In 2010 and 2014, the Army said it was also interested in looking at a new 12.7x99mm heavy machine gun for use on a Light Strike Vehicle/Infantry Fighting Vehicle and in a ground role while mounted on vehicle and tripod respectively. The fresh RFI is expected to be published in March this year, with the Army looking to move quickly for a contract.