ASMI MACHINE PISTOL
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Context: A slew of domestic vendors have submitted their technical and commercial bids in response to an Indian Army (IA)’s tender, or request for proposal (RfP), to indigenously source 5,000 9×19 mm machine pistols as an ‘Emergency Procurement’ via the Fast Track Procedure (FTP) of the Defence Acquisition Procedure, 2020 (DAP 2020), for an estimated $6 million.
- The majority of the manufacturers who responded to the RfP’s deadline were in tie-ups with overseas small arms original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), a provision admissible under DAP 2020’s ‘Buy Indian’ category through which the pistols were being acquired.
- These pistols were intended for employment mainly by Infantry battalion Ghatak (Killer) commando platoons and to a limited extent by tank, artillery and helicopter crews.
- The 20-odd strong, lightly armed and mobile Ghatak platoons were tasked by their respective battalion and brigade commanders to execute special reconnaissance missions behind enemy lines and to conduct other special operations at the tactical level.
- These could include raids on enemy artillery positions, airfields and supply dumps and directing artillery and air attacks in hostile territory.
Status of Asmi- DRDO’s indigenous pistol:
- Industry officials questioned the issuance of this tender, as in early 2021 DRDO claimed to have successfully developed a 9×19 mm machine pistol, in just four months, for use by the military, paramilitaries and police forces.
- DRDO had stated that the prototype pistol, named Asmi (Pride/ Self-Respect) had been jointly designed by its Armament Research Development Establishment in Pune and the Infantry School.
- It had declared that the pistol, with an empty weight of under 2 kg, featured an 8-inch barrel and a 33-round magazine of in-service 9 mm ammunition.
- DRDO maintained that it had used the 3D printing process to design and prototype the pistol’s various parts, including its trigger components.
- Moreover, it added that each pistol’s production cost would be around Rs 50,000 and though five vendors were reportedly shortlisted by the Ministry of Defence (MoD) around mid-2021 for Asmi’s limited series production, little had since emerged on its status.