New Assault Rifle Push For IAF Garud Squads

By SP's Special Correspondent January 11, 2016 Photo(s): By SP's Special Correspondent

The Indian Air Force is learnt to have pegged up interest in its three-year hunt for new assault rifles for its special units (Garud), that should be compact, foldable, easy to carry, handle, operate, simple to maintain and with high range. The requirement joins a raft of tenders already active for other weapons including assault rifles for the Army, sniper rifles for special units (including the MARCOS), 9mm small arms for the Army etc. The Army is also in the process of replacing the INSAS rifle in service. The Garud commando force of the IAF currently operates with the INSAS and AK-47, and the new tender appears to be a move towards replacing those arms with new generation weapons in line with the other two special units of the other two services. The procurement of new small arms for the Indian forces is also in line with the overarching doctrinal move towards lighter, smaller arms with modular architecture allowing a greater number of accessories and easier storage, less maintenance (with possibility of simple on-field maintenance) and part replacement. The Pathankot terror attack has provided the IAF with margin to push for speedier acquisitions and equipment, though a detailed case linking the requirement to the attack is yet to be made out.