The world famous TAR-21 Tavor assault rifles; Galil sniper rifles and Negev light machine guns manufactured by Israel Weapon Industries (IWI) will soon be made in India under a new joint venture.
The JV between IWI and Punj Lloyd Ltd, a firm based in India with ambitions of becoming a supplier of choice of the Indian Armed Forces, is named PunjLloyd Raksha Systems (PRS).
It will see the manufacture of a wide range of IWI small arms at a new plant in central India built with the help of IWI. The production of small arms will begin this year.
Tavor is an Israeli bullpup assault rifle chambered for 5.56×45mm NATO ammunition with as elective fire system, selecting between semi-automatic mode and full automatic fire mode.
Built around a long-stroke piston system, the Tavor was designed to maximise reliability, durability, and ease-of-maintenance, particularly under adverse or battlefield conditions.
Due to the dynamic changes in the modern battlefield, the threats of global terrorism and the demands of ever-changing combat situations, there was a need for a new versatile, innovative and technologically advanced weapon.
The TAVOR assault rifle was especially created to answer these varied demands, thus distinguishing itself as the ultimate weapon of the 21st century.
The TAVOR was developed in close cooperation with the Israel Defense Forces (IDF). The Tavor is today in service in the IDF infantry troops as well as in the forces of other countries throughout the world. The rifle family has an excellent performance record in the battlefield with its attributes of high precision, reliability and human ergonomics being its leading characteristics.
Licensed manufacture of foreign designs, usually involving Russian weapons, has been going on since the 1960s. But the Indian made items were always seen, by Russian and Indian users, as inferior. What made PLR unique was that it is the first Indian manufacturer of military small arms that is expected to be capable of producing the foreign designs well enough to be exported. This sort of thing has already been demonstrated with non-military products and the Israelis believe it is possible to do it with military items as well. The Indian small arms market alone is worth $5 billion a year and the export market for Israeli quality weapons is potentially even larger. Initially PLR will manufacture the Israeli Tavor assault rifle as well as sniper rifles and light machine-guns and is already considered a front runner for several major Indian Army contracts.
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