Israeli-based IWI last week was named as the winner for a contract to supply the second largest army in the world with machine guns.
The Indian Ministry of Defence announced that IWI would supply 16,479 Negev NG7 light machine guns to the force at a cost of Rs 880 crore, or about $117 million.
Developed and designed with the Israeli Defense Forces in mind, the select-fire IWI Negev NG7 light machine gun was introduced in 2012. It has a weight of 17.41-pounds, providing a 7.62 NATO-caliber gun in a SAW-sized platform with either 16.5- or 20-inch barrel lengths.
More in my column at Guns.com.
The Indian Army, the largest armed force in the world after China, this week celebrated its 72nd Army Day, noting their founding as an independent force in 1948 after a century of British Imperial rule. While the force still has a very Commonwealth feel to it, the Indian Army still does a lot of things their own way.
Mad respect for these guys.
Also, parts of India (Himalayas etc, look super inhospitable)
Most armies have since the 1960s used surface to air missiles in multiple layers for defense against incoming enemy attack planes and gunships. For instance, the U.S. Army used Redeye manpads and Hawk batteries in the Kennedy-era which were later replaced by Stinger and Patriot respectively. The Soviets did likewise while the allies of each mimicked them.
A few gun batteries, augmented by radar, such as the West German Gephard and U.S Avenger/VADS lingered but they were a separate layer of defense to augment the SAMs and by the early 2000s even these were withdrawn and transferred to third world Allies.
Then there is India.
The country’s main air defenses are manually directed and controlled 40mm Bofors mounts (1,000 L60/L70s) and legions (like 800) of Soviet ZSU-23-2 twin 23mm mounts, essentially WWII-era tech that was made in the 60s and 70s.
To their credit, the Indians picked up a mix of 500~ 2K22 Tunguska, ZSU-23-4M ‘Shilka’ and 9K35 Strela-10 (SA-13 Gopher) SAM vehicles which mount combinations of radar-controlled fast guns and short range SAMs using 1980s Soviet tech, but this is the cutting edge.
India tried to get defence contractors on three continents interested in replacing the Bofors and 23mm twins a few years ago, but only offered about $5 million to do it, which brought no takers.
However, it does look like they are ponying up $3 billion to build (wait for it) new L70s domestically.
But at least they will be radar-directed and use more updated fire control system than the Mk. I eyeball.
Further, a deal for up to 5,000 Indian-made VSHORAD missiles chosen from license-built French MBDA Mistral, Swedish RBS 70NG or Russian Igla-S candidates is still on the table if the tech transfer and rupees can be worked out.