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India Hunts for Night Sights for Detecting Enemy Tanks 1000m Away in the Dark

CC0 / / Carl Gustav recoilless rifle system during weapons practice
Carl Gustav recoilless rifle system during weapons practice - Sputnik International
Over the last two years, the Indian Army has started to strengthen the infantry’s night fighting capabilities by issuing a tender worth around $1 billion for the purchase of thermal imagers for rifles, machine guns, recoilless rifles/rocket launchers, handheld devices and others.

The Indian Defence Ministry is set to purchase 3,500 night sights for 84mm Carl Gustaf rocket launchers that can detect hostile tanks at a minimum distance of around 1000 metres.

The first interaction with interested vendors has been scheduled for 1 February, before a formal tender is floated in May 2019. 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.

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"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", the request for information issued by the Indian Army reads. 

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The Carl Gustaf rocket launcher has been a crucial part of the Indian Army's inventory since 1974 and it has been used to destroy enemy posts along the western border. The launcher was also used by India's special forces during the much-touted surgical strike on terrorist camps inside Pakistan in 2016. India's Ordnance Factories are currently producing the latest version of the rocket launcher.

"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", Brigadier Rumel Dahiya (retired), a defense analyst, told Sputnik.

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The Indian Army also wants the night sights to be capable of facilitating the firing of 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.

In the past, India has 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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