Sources told Sputnik that most of the companies who were attracted towards the 2011 bid responded to the September 2016 request for information which seeks a 7.62mm x 51mm rifle. "Companies have expressed their willingness to share technology of rifle which will later be manufactured in India following a direct import of approximately 65,000 rifles," a source added.
Indian Army is expected to give its final nod for this in the next few weeks. After signing the contract, companies will have to deliver 65000 assault rifles within four months to 28 months from the day of signing of the contract.
Meanwhile, Indian Army is conducting trials of 7.62mm x 45 mm Excalibur developed by the government-owned DRDO at various locations to induct them in some numbers at a later date, source added.
Approximately $1 billion contract of 7.62 mm x 51 mm rifle will replace the Indian Small Arms System (INSAS) 5.56x45 mm assault rifle.
The Indian Army has been trying to replace 5.56x45 mm assault rifle since long but has failed as Israel Weapon Industries' ACE 1, the Beretta ARX160, the Ceská Zbrojovka CZ 805 BREN, and Colt's Colt Combat Rifle did not meet its requirements during trials. The Indian Army had asked manufacturers to supply rifles that weighed 3.6 kilogram and could easily be converted from a 5.56x45 mm to a 7.62x39 mm.