NEW DELHI, Jan. 20 (UPI) -- India's navy marine commandos start using Israeli-made TAR-21 assault rifles and Galil sniper rifles this month after receiving the $4 million consignment in December.
Technicians from the manufacturer, Israel Military Industries, and the Indian Defense Ministry have been assembling and inspecting the rifles, readying them for induction, a spokesman for the navy's Marine Commandos, MARCOS, said.
India's Defense Ministry placed the order for the 500 TAR-21 rifles and 30 Galil rifles in 2008 with an eye to making them standard issue weapons for navy marine commandos. They've been using Indian-made Insas rifles and Russian Kalashnikov variants.
Versions of Insas rifles -- Indian Small Arms System -- are an assault rifle, a light machine gun and a carbine. The assault rifle is the standard issue weapon for the army. All Insas rifles are made by the Indian State Ordnance Factory Board, which had its head office in Kolkata. But the ISOFB has 40 factories and nine training institutes around the country, as well as several marketing centers and safety organizations.
The Indian air force and army commandos already use the Galil sniper rifle and the TAR-21 -- often called the Tavor, short for Tavor Assault Rifle-21st century.
The Tavor is a bullpup assault rifle that uses 5.56mm NATO ammunition, originally developed in the United States for use in the M16 rifle. The Tavor has a selective fire system -- semi-automatic mode, burst mode and full automatic fire.
In Israel, the Tavor has been used by Givati Brigade and Golani Brigade for several years and Nahal Brigade adopted it last year.
IMI's Micro Tavor was recently chosen as the future assault rifle for the Israeli military.
The Galil 7.62mm sniper weapon is based on the Finnish RK 62 rifle, which in turn is based on a version of the Soviet AK-47 assault rifle.
Israel Military Industries is a firearms and ammunition manufacturer whose main market is the Israeli military. But some of their products, such as the Uzi submachine gun, have been exported widely. The first Uzi, designed by Major Uziel Gal in the late 1940s, was used first in 1954 and has been sold to around 90 countries, often for person protection because of its compact size.
Israel is one of India's major arms suppliers, alongside Russia as the largest, and gaining in strategic importance.
In January 2007, India and Israel signed a $330 million agreement to co-develop a new long-range Barak surface-to-air missile to be called Barak II for the Indian and the Israeli militaries. The manufacturers are Israel Aerospace Industries and Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, and more than 70 percent of the missile will be produced using Israeli content.
In May 2010, the ship-launched Barak II, with a range of around 45 miles, was successfully test fired at an electronic target.