Forward troops which are present on the Line of Control (LoC) and the Line of Actual Control (LAC) under the Northern Command will acquire the first tranche of Israeli Light Machine Gun (LMG) Negev NG-7. These weapons have been procured under the fast-track procurement process (FTP).
Defence sources said that 6,000 LMGs with 7.62X51 mm dimensions, belt ammunition capability, were received in January. Acceptance trials of these machine guns are being completed and forward troops will get them next week. Currently, forward troops are using the 5.56x45mm INSAS LMG, which is a derivative of the INSAS assault rifle.
Army ordered 16,479 Israeli guns last March when there were consistent ceasefire violations by Pakistan at LoC. This is the first tranche of these machine guns. The army will receive a larger order for the LMGs through Make in India route. Some parts of the Negev are procured from within the nation and the company has a joint venture with the Adani Group’s PLR Systems. However, this fast-track procurement was signed directly with the Israeli firm.
Sources told The Print that the next tranche of the 10,000 LMGs will be received by September or October this year. This contract is valued at Rs 880 crore. The defence ministry stated last year that this “operationally urgent and very critically needed weapon” will make frontline troops more confident and provide combat power to the Armed Forces.
In February 2018, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh led Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) gave Acceptance of Necessity (AoN) for this fast-track procurement. In 2019, an army delegation visited three countries — Bulgaria, Israel and South Korea — to have a look at the options available. At last, the army chose Negev which is already being used by the country’s special forces.
The Negev will have higher lethal firepower than the one it is replacing. Moreover, since it has the belt ammunition feature, the new LMG will have a sustained rate of fire, unlike the present one in which magazines have to be changed frequently.
The new LMG can also pinpoint, single bullet shooting for enhanced firing accuracy. It has a range of over 800 meters according to requirements of the Army. When changed to automatic mode, the NG-7 can fire 700 bullets per minute. It weighs 7.5 kg and can be fired from locations like mounts, vehicles, helicopters and naval vessels.