The Indian government has decided against repeating a $90 million order for 72,400 “Patrol” Sig Sauer assault rifles due to performance issues, The Wire revealed.
Indian Army soldiers reported the rifle jamming when firing locally-made 7.62 mm rounds, causing “barrel bulges,” which rendered the US-made rifle “inoperable,” the Indian news outlet explained.
The SIG716 rifle also had a higher recoil when firing the Indian ammunition compared to AK-47 variants or the indigenous Indian Small Arms System 5.56×45 mm assault rifles that the army uses.
‘Higher Powered’ Local Rounds
The Indian government bought ammunition from the American rifle manufacturer in limited quantities due to its higher cost. The country covered the shortfall with the “higher powered” locally manufactured rounds, causing greater recoil, according to The Print.
Additionally, the rifle’s long barrel required a wooden handle to be added underneath the barrel for a firmer grip, the outlet added.
The rifle also lacked “optical day, night, holographic and even basic LED-powered reflex ‘red-dot’ sights,” as the Indian government had decided against buying them to keep the procurement cheaper.
The add-ons were “essential to precisely aligning targets in conflict zones at ranges varying between 100 meters-700 meters (328 feet-2,297 feet),” The Wire wrote.
Faulty Acquisition Procedure
“Since these purchases were processed by an empowered Ministry of Defence committee headed by a senior service officer, it is inexcusable that a new weapon system procured at great cost needed to be locally modified before being fully employed,” the outlet quoted a senior army officer as saying, who also questioned the acquisition procedure.
The Indian military procured the American guns in late 2019 primarily to equip soldiers deployed along the border with Pakistan and those engaged in counter-insurgency operations in the border state of Jammu and Kashmir.
Of the total rifles imported, the army received 66,400, the Indian Air Force 4,000, and the Indian Navy’s Garud Special Forces the remaining 2,000, the outlet wrote.