The Indian Army has issued a request for information to local defense firms to procure 4,800 sniper rifles with telescopic sights.
The new rifles will reportedly be used by soldiers deployed on the country’s borders with China and Pakistan.
India is currently using a limited number of Beretta .338 Lapua Magnum Scorpio TGT and Sako TRG-42 bolt-action sniper rifles acquired through emergency purchases.
However, 380 infantry battalions in India are still reportedly using Russian-origin 7.62mm Dragunov semi-automatic sniper rifles, which have a “limited” kill range of 800 meters (2,624 feet).
The army is now looking to acquire a large number of long-range sniper rifles and provide advanced training on their use, according to a Times of India report.
The total budget earmarked for the acquisition is 460 Indian crore ($58.3 million).
According to the request, the new .338-caliber sniper rifles should have an effective range of over 1,200 meters (3,937 feet).
The chosen vendor should also be able to deliver the weapons within six months of signing the contract.
The Indian Army canceled an earlier proposal to procure 5,719 sniper rifles because none of the interested parties could comply with all of the requirements.
Upgrading Sniper Courses
The push to purchase additional sniper rifles and upgrade sniper training comes as Indian soldiers face ongoing challenges along the country’s border with Pakistan.
The Times of India reported that the Pakistani Army is equipped with better sniper rifles, enabling improved defenses along the border.
India’s Infantry School in Mhow has already begun stepping up its basic and advanced sniper courses in response.
A senior officer said that providing the right kind of training to future snipers could make them a better force multiplier and intelligence asset.
“While long-range precision shooting is the most fundamental skill, good snipers also need to be adept at survival, concealment, stalking and navigation for conventional conflicts as well as counter-terrorism operations,” he was quoted as saying.