So these images just dropped. Those are Indian Army soldiers at the Infantry School in central India with their brand new U.S. built SIG716 G2 Patrol assault/battlefield rifles. Seen here on Livefist for the first time since the new firearms began arriving in December, maker Sig Sauer Inc. will complete deliveries of 72,400 of these by the end of this year.
The Indian Army ordered the SIG716 last February as part of a wider, urgent, effort to bring new assault weapons into its infantry units quickly, while sidestepping the traditional curse of piecemeal, stopgap purchases of the past. As Livefist has reported, the new SIG716 rifles are part of a two-pronged procurement drive. While these rifles will be sent to priority units deployed in counter-insurgency and frontier anti-terror roles, a requirement of nearly 700,000 new assault rifles for regular infantry units will be met by the Kalashnikov AK-203. After some delays, and with paperwork in place, an order for the AK-203 could finally come this year. The rifles are to be manufactured in country at a joint venture facility of Kalashnikov and India’s Ordnance Factor Board at Korwa in U.P.’s Amethi.
The SIG716 G2 Patrol is an enhanced assault rifle featuring a 16-inch barrel, M-LOK handguard, and a 6-position telescoping stock. The weapons are being supplied to the Indian Army from Sig Sauer’s facility in New Hampsire, U.S.
“The global importance of this contract for SIG SAUER is far reaching based on the size, location, and economic strength of India in the global market,” says Ron Cohen, President and CEO, SIG SAUER, Inc. “We are very proud, and honored that the SIG716 was chosen for use by the fighting forces of the Indian Army, and we are looking forward to developing a strong partnership with India’s Ministry of Defense.”
“This [was] the first large firearms procurement of the Indian Government in decades, and the explicit mission for this tender was to modernize the infantry troopers of the Indian Army with the best rifle available,” said Cohen last February. “We competed in an open tender with small arms manufacturers from around the world. The SIG716 rifle underwent a comprehensive and exhaustive testing and evaluation process where it outperformed the competition, and was ultimately chosen, and met all the criteria, as the best rifle to modernize the Indian Army.”
The SIG716 isn’t the only American-built firearm in the Army’s inventory. The Para Special Forces have inducted unspecified numbers of the M4A1 carbine for years and have recently begun receiving Barrett M95 purpose built sniper rifles (in addition to the Italian Victrix Minerva Scorpio TGT.) The Indian government is also expected to conclude a delayed order for 93,385 CAR816 carbines from UAE firm Caracal this year.
The SIG716 and AK-203 featured on the latest episode of BattleCry with Livefist’s Shiv Aroor on India Today TV. Here’s the full episode if you’d like to watch: