Defense Giant will Manufacture Rifles Under “Make in India” Initiative


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French defense giant Thales and the Indian-based defense equipment manufacturer MKU will collaborate in the development and manufacture of optronic devices and F90 close quarter battle (CQB) rifles. Both products, to be manufactured at MKU’s facilities in Kanpur will be offered to the Indian Army and homeland security forces under the ‘Make in India’ initiative launched in 2014 in order to encourage companies to manufacture their products in India.

The alliance envisages manufacturing of optronics equipment, including weapon sights, night vision goggles, hand-held thermal imagers and thermal infrared sensor engine for soldier systems, and other image intensification and thermal imaging systems for soldiers and platforms, according to

For weapons, MKU will set up an assembly and manufacturing plant for the carbine version of F90 assault rifle, one of the lightest assault rifles on the market at 3.25 kg, enabling fast reaction times and rapid target acquisition. The combat-proven rifle is currently manufactured in Australia.

Light, balanced and accurate, the F90CQB developed with MKU will be well suited to Indian conditions and requirements, says a joint press release.