The Mumbai police is yet to learn how to use recently purchased state-of-the-art weapons like the M107 Special Applications Rifle. The munitions are currently stored unused in the ammunition depot.
The rifle — which even the National Security Guards (NSG) is yet to induct — has a kill range of 2.5 km and only
a cannon is considered better than it. The police ordered 100 such weapons at a cost of about Rs3 lakh each. They remain untouched in the ammunition depot. Police sources said the weapons were as yet unused because the force had not yet found a trainer to teach them how to use it.
“The art of operating a sniper rifle is hard to learn. Even corporal Rob Furlong of the Canadian Forces took three shots to kill an insurgent and record the longest sniper kill in history,” said an IPS officer, requesting anonymity. Furlong recorded the kill in the Afghanistan conflict in 2002, killing an insurgent at a range of 2,430 m, and his record remains unbroken.
“How can constables, trained to handle .303 rifles, be expected to handle a sniper rifle without being properly trained?” added the officer.
An army officer, requesting anonymity said: “Training to be a sniper is very demanding. One needs an extraordinary amount of fitness, and needs to learn the art of controlling one’s breath.”
The .50 caliber bullet fired from a Barrett M83A1 or M107 – both sniper rifles - can easily penetrate 1.5 inches of solid steel armour plating, which is the
normal amount of protection offered by most of the world’s Armoured Personnel Carriers (APCs), said police sources. Even a two-foot thick brick or concrete wall can be shot clean through.
“Using the weapon is a cause of concern for us, because it can clearly cause collateral damage,” added the IPS officer.
Deputy commissioner of police (detection) Nisar Tamboli, given additional charge as public relations officer declined comment.