New Delhi, Feb 24: To give paramilitary forces a decisive edge in anti-Naxal operations, special units of CRPF will soon be equipped with higher fire power, Anti-Material Rifles (AMR). These sophisticated weapons, which are ideal for busting caves and concrete hideouts, have so far only been provided to the army. The AMRs are designed for damage and penetration.
Large calibre AMRs can also be used for remote explosive ordinance disposal. Special disrupter rounds filled with water, aerogel or foam could be developed for this role and these are the requirements the para-military forces are looking at. "We have submitted these indigenous made rifles to the paramilitary forces for evaluation," Sadpita Ghosh, Chairman Ordnance Factories Board (OFB), an umbrella grouping of 39 Ordnance factories spread across the country, said. He indicated that the initial offer could be up to 2,000 of these specialised rifles. Senior CRPF officers said these weapons could also be used by forces in Jammu and Kashmir. CRPF has taken over as urban anti militancy force from BSF in the state recently.
These weapons could be real handy to forces operating against Naxals, as they use caves, rocky shelters and concrete hideouts in the jungles in Orissa, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Andhra Pradesh and parts of Bihar and Madhya Pradesh, CRPF officers said.
Army imported about 1,200 of these anti-material guns, but the induction was abruptly stopped halfway after the South African company Denel, which supplied these rifles, was blacklisted, following reports of commissions having been paid in the deal.
Ghosh said since the demand for the weapon was "considerable", the government had given its nod to produce an indigenous version of the weapon.
"We have successfully developed the rifles and are offering them to para-military as well as the army," he said.