The Indian Army has started shaping its infantry’s night fighting capabilities through a contract of approximately $1 billion for the Indian Army defence purchases including thermal imagers for rifles, machine guns, recoilless rifles/rocket launchers, handheld devices, and others.
The Indian Defence Ministry is set to purchase 500-night sights for 84mm Carl Gustaf rocket launchers that can detect hostile tanks at a minimum distance of around 1000 metres.
Before a formal tender set to be released in May 2019, the first interaction with interested vendors will take place on 1 February. The 84mm Carl Gustaf rocket launcher is the Indian Army’s standard anti-tank weapon authorized to each infantry platoon. Its effective range varies from 500 to 800 metres.
“The Uncooled Thermal Imaging Sight so desired by the infantry should be a lightweight and ruggedized device to enable accurate engagement of vehicle and human target by use of 84mm rocket launcher at night/hours of darkness/poor visibility”, informed Officials.
Since 1947, the Carl Gustaf rocket launcher has been an integral part of the Indian Army’s inventory. The launcher was used to destroy enemy posts along the western border. It was also used by India’s special forces during the surgical strike on terrorist camps inside Pakistan in 2016. Presently, India’s Ordnance Factories are producing the latest version of the rocket launcher.
Brigadier Rumel Dahiya, defence analysts said: “Since modern tanks now have night fighting capability, the movement of mechanized forces (tanks and infantry combat vehicles) will be more and more during the night. To overcome this lacuna in the anti-tank capability of front line units i.e. infantry deployed or moving ahead night fighting capability is required for anti-tank weapons”.
The Indian Army also wants the night sights to be capable of firing other in-service ammunition, such as 84mm high-explosive anti-tank (HEAT) 551 rockets, high-explosive armor penetrating rockets, as well as smoke and illumination shells.
Previously, India imported thermal imaging (TI) sights for T-72 tanks from Poland. These are also available in some other countries like France, Israel, Russia, Ukraine, USA etc.
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