After the defence ministry’s permission in July, the Army started the acquisition process for 4.25 lakh 5.56X45mm close-quarter combat (CQB) carbines and more than 47,000 bulletproof jackets (BPJs) for soldiers on Thursday.

In order to boost atmanirbharta (self-reliance in defence) and the combat capability of the Army troops at the northern and western borders, the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC), led by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, granted the Acceptance of Necessity (AoN) to purchase the CQB carbines and the BPJs among other military equipment and weapons totaling Rs 28,000 crore.

The obsolete 9mm British Sterling 1A1 submachine guns already in service by the Army would be replaced with the new CQB carbines.

The force said that the new guns should be interoperable with Indian 5.56X45 mm ammunition and have an effective range of 200 metres. Other required technical specs include them being approximately 3 kg, possessing a life span of fifteen years or 15,000 rounds, and having a removable vertical forehand grip.