India has begun inducting Beretta .338 Lapua Magnum Scorpio TGT and Barrett .50-calibre M95 sniper rifles it purchased last month.
“The Army has a target of purchasing around 6000 sniper rifles for the soldiers deployed all along the LoC in Jammu and Kashmir. The induction process has begun with the arrival of some of the weapons from global suppliers. As soon as all weapons are received, they will be inducted on the LoC to strengthen the capability of the troops during anti-infiltration operations,” Excelsior quoted sources as saying.
The newly-acquired 8.6mm sniper rifles are set to replace ageing Russian Dragunov sniper rifles.
The US-made Barrett M95 is an anti-material rifle having a range of 1,800 metres. It is a bolt action sniper rifle chambered in a .50 Browing Machine Gun cartridge (12.7×99mm). The unloaded gun weighs about 10 kg. The gun feeds from a five-round detachable box magazine and is a more compact and lighter version than earlier products.
Victrix Armaments .338 Lapua Magnum Scorpio TGT owned by Italian firm Beretta has a range of about 1,500 metres.
The Scorpio TGT uses the .338 Lapua Magnum (8.6×70mm or 8.58×70mm), which is a rimless, bottlenecked, centre-fire rifle cartridge.
It was developed in the 1980s as a high-powered, long-range cartridge for military snipers. It was used in the Afghanistan War and the Iraq War.
India also recently approved the purchase of 73,000 SIG716-G2 rifles from the US in a deal valued at $97 million (INR 700 Crore) to replace the ageing INSAS rifles.
In December 2018, Indian MoD had invited responses from global manufacturers to its request for proposals (RFP) for 5,719 8.6 mm sniper rifles and 10.2 million rounds of ammunition for the Indian Army and Indian Air Force in a deal worth $150 million (INR 1067 Crore). There will be licensed manufacture of five million rounds of .338 Lapua Magnum ammunition under a Transfer of Technology to India’s state-owned Ordnance Factory Board and private-sector manufacturers.