Monday, 12 November 2012

Army’s Ghatak infantry platoons to go more deadly

All “Ghatak platoons” of the Army will soon start getting the first lot of the latest weaponry aimed at equipping the troops to tackle newer forms of threats. Each of the 350 infantry battalions of the Army have “Ghatak platoons”. These largely comprise trained commandos that carry out specific tasks.

As there are 20 Ghatak personnel in each infantry battalion of 800, 7,000 Army personnel are set to get the latest weapons. The new weapons will be in addition to the existing sniper rifles and rocket launchers. With the changing scenario, four different sets of equipment would be added to the armoury of the “Ghatak platoons”, source said.

This would include new automatic sub-machine guns having rapid-fire and night firing capabilities. A contract to acquire 1,568 of these guns had been signed with B&T, Switzerland, for Rs 25 crore. The first priority would be to equip the 130 infantry battalions stationed in the North and the North-East, followed by other battalions. The delivery of the gun was expected to start anytime now, source said.

The second part of the weaponry would comprise specialised breaching ammunition that would be handy in case the enemy was hiding behind a brick wall or a door. This would be effective in urban warfare and counter-insurgency operations with terrorists taking refuge in people’s houses or farmhouses. At present, the NSG uses such ammunition.

Handheld ballistic shield would form the third part of the weaponry. The soldiers would be well-protected with bulletproof jackets and headgear. The shield would allow the soldier to see the enemy through it while his own face would remain protected.

The fourth and last item would be the “stun grenades”. These do not cause any collateral damage but are used to provide an effect by which a person is immobilised and rendered incapable of firing back. This is expected to be used against militants and even in case of a war. Capturing a militant or an enemy alive could yield a whole lot of information. All this is part of the efforts made to address the critical “hollowness” within the Army. Army Chief General Bikram Singh, when he joined on June 1 this year, made it clear that his focus would be on the force and replacing its ageing weaponry.

Besides ramping up the “Ghatak platoons”, the process to acquire new assault rifles for the entire Army is also at its final stages. Around 60,000 rifles would be purchased in the first lot. The transfer of technology would facilitate licensed production in India.


SET-ONE:New automatic sub-machine guns having rapid-fire and night-fire capability

SET-TWO: Specialised breaching ammunitions for use against enemy hiding behind walls etc.

SET-THREE: Handheld ballistic shield allowing soldiers to see the enemy while keeping their own face protected

SET-FOUR: Stun grenades to immobilise a person without causing any collateral damage.

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