After reading so many articles than unanimously claimed one thing that “India is a country which can reach mars but can’t make Rifles”, I just wanted to really dig a little bit deeper and get things little more sorted out. I have tried to find as much as possible and consolidate the findings in the answer below.
After chasing the trail of INSAS programme this are the following findings I will put forward with help of a Chart and a Table. These are MUST READ before moving ahead.
a) All the Rifles in yellow box are either failed, Unknown or never entered production.
b)Red arrows tell that given firearms are not direct derivative of INSAS.
*****(UPDATE: TRICHY ASSAULT RIFLE HAS BEEN ACCEPTED BY CRPF IN OCT 2017, CRPF approves Trichy Assault Rifle after tests )
[Abbreviations: I-Inducted,LI=Limited Induction, F=Failed, UD= Under Developement, UK= Unknown, PP= Pilot project].
Inference from Chart and Table: So since main INSAS rifle programme was kicked off almost 15 new guns have arrived. Let’s have a look on all of them one by one.
In coming parts of the answer we shall take a look at what has happened till now after INSAS.
Mass : <4 Kg
Firing Mode : Single shot & Automatic
Magazine Capacity : 20 rounds
Range : 450m max.
Butt : Foldable.
New 1C uses a Milled reciever rather than a usual stamped reciever of usual INSAS, this makes it more rugged and also let it leverage almost no rivets.
Also the new 1C has a body of Alluminium alloy which makes it lighter.
Provision to mount international optical sights, Under Barrel Grenade Launcher (UBGL), Fore Grip etc. Following are the list of trials conducted on 5.56 mm Assault:
• Night firing carried out;
• Reliability Test, Dispersion Test & Accuracy Test have been carried out;
• User Assisted evaluation of 5.56mm Assault rifle 5.56mm Mk 1C for zeroing, accuracy & reliability.
The Rifle 5.56mm Mk 1C is superior to INSAS in terms of weight, reliability, compactness, and aesthetics and has a provision for mounting of accessories like Reflex sights / optical sights, etc.
USERS: Kashmir SOG, CAPFs.
EXCALIBUR: Often called as Modified INSAS Rifle (MIR)
Incidentally this was the only gun that passed Cold, hot and Mud test leaving aside all other foreign rifles which failed.
This rifle has two Versions: Excalibur and Excalibur Mk1
Technical Data :
Length-Butt Folded/Butt Extended – 665mm/895mm
Weight without Magazine- 3.81 kg.
Weight with Full Magazine- 4.03 kg
Weight of Empty Magazine- 0.09 kg.
Magazine Capacity- 20/30 rounds
Length of Barrel- 400 mm
Barrel Chamber and Bore- Chrome Plated
Rifling (No. of Grooves/Twist/Direction)- 6/1 turn in 200 /RH
Sight ( Front /Rear/ Range Graduation/Radius)- Post type/aperture/200 mm & 400mm/475mm
System of Operation- Gas operated
Mode of Fire- i). Single Shot ii) Automatic
Rate of Fire ( rounds/min)- 650 to 700
Effective range- 400 m
20000 Rifles are in service as of now which include both versions.
KALANTAK MICRO ASSAULT RIFLE: One of the Variants which failed head on and can’t find any customer.
But this rifle was the stepping stone for amogh carbine. Kalantak was a miniaturized version of INSAS, with shorter barrel but can’t take the recoil of 5.56*45 due to the shortened length. It was supposed to be PDW but later the MINSAS round was prefered to be better suited for PDW to manage recoil.Recoil was the reason for it’s rejection.
MCIWS/AAR: This was part of one of the most ambitious rifle tenders of the IA. The army wanted a rifle that can fire multiple rounds from same rifle just by changing some parts.
It was the first short stroke piston designed weapon, which was basically the principle on which most western firearms even more specifically AR-15 and variants works on.
MCIWS was a very light, ergonomic and based on truly advanced firearms tech.
Weight=3.4 kg (7.5 lb) (empty) ; 4 kg (8.8 lb) (loaded with magazine)
Length =910 mm (36 in) (including butt)
USERS: Unfortunately the tender was scrapped, though some believe the MCIWS is still under developement and renamed as AAR. But still it’s whereabout is UNKNOWN as of now.
7.62*51 BATTLE RIFLE: This battle rifle is under developement to cadre to Army’s new demand for 7.62*51 calibre rifle.
Features(From videos and pics):
- Proper P-rails
- Designed shifted from INSAS style stamped reciever to Modern Milled reciever.
- New “FAB defense” Buttstock with Recoil pad.
- Recoil not very different from SCAR-H considering the fact former one is Short-stroke Piston Mechanism and OFB Battle Rifle is Long-stroke Piston.
- SLR based Magazine.
- Noise problem.
Inference : Let’s see if this thing deserves a chance or not.
NOTE: Do read the RFI for moving further. (https://indianarmy.nic.in/writereaddata/RFI/490/RFI%20Aslt%20Rif.pdf)
- proper facility for mounting various optics.
- Milled receiver has dropped down the number of rivets drastically.
- Use of Alluminium will reduce the weight hence recoil.
- FAB defense butt-stock is a good choice and a good way to control recoil by using recoil pad.
- Since OFB Battle rifle is long-stroke it naturally has more recoil but Long-stroke are more reliable. But still it’s recoil looks comparable to scar and the Hullabaloo created by NDTV and Hindu are not justified.
- New muzzle brake is being designed to lower the sound and recoil.
- Challenges ahead are :
- Making it ambidextrous
- Modify the magazine(If possible)
ANAMIKA 9mm: Perhaps the most Interesting of all carbines. Heckler & Koch denied India the supply of Mp5 and probably any small arms from Germany. Anamika is officially a Reverse Engineered Mp5. According to Home Ministry it explains it in the following way:
Anamika 9mm Carbine : SAF is developing this weapon by reverse engineering process. MHA is regularly enquired for this project. Successful development will provide sustained workload for SAF.
This gun is the latest in carbine section first appeared in 2015. Some believe it will get in service after 2018 some believe this was a pilot project by SAF as the same factory has developed Amogh carbine which is lighter and deadlier than this and hence pushing forward the amogh. Rest the future of this Rifle is Uncertain.
In late 2002, the conversion of INSAS rifle into a carbine. Hence Army issued a GSQR for carbine. This was first time the OFB and DRDO competed against each other and came up with Amogh and JVPC. Since the reason of INSAS carbine not fructifying was excessive recoil by 5.56*45 on a shorter barrel , it was decided to go with a smaller 5.56*30 MINSAS round. Hence both JVPC and Amogh use 5.56*30 rounds.
The operating system is based on gas operated ,long stroke piston with a rotating bolt.
The receiver is made up of stamped sheet metal ,while the handguard ,pistol grip and side folding stock are made up of black colour, light weight polymer material. It has a 330mm long chrome plated barrel.Feed system is through a 30 round polymer magazine which is translucent to allow the shooter to know the number of rounds left in it.
Calibre – 5.56 mm (5.56 x 30 mm ammunition)
Length of Weapon – (a) Butt Folded 575 mm – (b) Butt Extended 800 mm
Weight – Weapon (without Magazine) 2.95 kg
Weight – Magazine (empty) 80 gms
Weight – Cartridge 8.0 gms
Effective Range – 200 m
Rate of Fire- 700 rpm
Sight Radius – 420 mm
Feed – 30 rd Box Magazine
Operation – Gas operated
Mode of Fire – Single & Auto
Mechanism – Rotary bolt. Closed Breech
Rifling – 6 Groves, 1 : 200mm
Sight -Open Sight,Reflex Sight
Muzzle velocity -700 m/sec
Safety -Applied ,Mechanical
Length of Barrel 330 mm
Bore Diameter H – 5.612 mm L – 5.577 mm
Number of Rifling Grooves 6
Twist of Rifling Grooves Right Hand
Lead of Rifling Grooves 1 Turn in 200 mm
USER: Coast guard, Gujarat police, Manipur police.
Jouney of Amogh from Prototype to Production model:
JVPC: JVPC has been trial with the army for quite a long time. Though it has now become so refined that there is no denial in saying it can be counted one of the best PDW ever developed in history, at par with any adversary!
1.BEL Sight -Trinetra Sight, allows you to shoot both eyes open
2.Sight can be used in Dark of night.
4.No use of oil in weapon
5.Nickel-boron-carbide coating Developed by OFB.
6.Noobes calling single handed shooting has huge recoil, remember that he is a journalist not a trained Armed forces officer, so refrain from acting like Hollywood fan boys!
Developed by: ARDE, Pune (DRDO)
Production Agency: OFB ,Kanpur
Army trials: Going on
Meanwhile CRPF and chattisgarh police was offficially handed over JVPC, INSAS 1C and Ghatak AR yesterday by Defense Minister and Home minister.
OFB-DRDO 7.62*51 LMG: Recently Army’s tender for 44000 LMG was cancelled due to which DRDO was asked to present this LMG to the army for trials. Not much is known at the moment.
The race for AK variants is quite old as far as India required. But here the interesting part is that all variants were made keeping in mind Paramillitary forces as primary users and later market it to the Army.
AK-7: The first Indian made AK clone. It was so damn copied that when Kalashnikov the inventor of actual AK visited Delhi for a Defense Expo, he threatened to file a IP right violation. Nevertheless it’sproduction was never started.
Trichy Assault Rifle: After the copy right infringement of AK-7, It never went into production, rather a new competition started to build a home made AK variant with some Traits borrowed from INSAS especially internal mechanism and keep the outer look as a AK. As a result OFB Tricy,Kanpur and Ishapore all came up with their own AK variant. TAR 7.62*39 was one among the three variants. Though the rifle lost to Ghatak rifle , later on it was rectified and modifies and sold to other police and paramillitary forces.
TAR has a rather interesting journey from it’s prototype to final model.
First prototypes were SLR 7.62*51 converted to 7.62*39 , more or less looked similar:
In mid it become an AR-15 variant based FAL:
and Finally a production model was based on Bulgarian AR-M1.
Latest pic (6/10/17):
Above three pics: Latest TAR
Most common similarity with Bulgarian Ak-47:
- 90* Gas block.
- Same Hand guard
- Milled reciever.
TAR is almost identical, hard to distinguish.
USERS: Delhi police, Chattisgarh police and several other polices.
GHATAK: Ghatak 7.62*39 was the winner for AK variant. This was made by RFI, Ishapore. This was really a very sleek and a step up design of the actual AK-47 or AKM.
Ghatak looks different from his brother AKM is the overall ergonomic from hand guard to pistol grip and sights specifically for Indian soldiers and the training he gets, The rifle feels is durable yet smooth, Ghatak is indeed a improvement over Bulgarian and Romanian AKs in service, However a folded butt-stock would be really handy in CQB
The fiber quality and the sights that Rifle offers compare to present AKM under service ( Bulgarian as well as Romanian ).
Its hand guard due to its ergonomic design, the tactical hand-guard has build in quad rail ( Mil specs ) but has much surface covers with smooth fiber, Unlike the once made of complete aluminum are uncomfortable when used in long run without using gloves, In our Army and paramilitary gloves are not an part of fighting kit, Keeping this in mind the design solves the problem.
The side rails are most resourceful which are again missing from present serving AK and AKMs, for mounting flash light and essential gadgets in today’s war.
This grip is originally from Amogh Carbine, Unlike 1B1`s or more accurately AK47`s grip from 60s, This grip is designed keeping ergonomic in mind. The grip is angled and has slots or curves for pre positioning of fingers to place in, Its texture has tiny embedded dots all over its body for a tight and non slippery griping.
Iron sights are most interesting feature on this Assault rifle and perhaps impressed me the most, The front sights are H&K style front sights, Where as the rear sight is hybrid AK and INSAS 1B1 leaf sight though not foldable.Such a feature will boost confidence while engaging targets at medium range with far better accuracy then using open sights trying to find the tip between the rear sights.
RECIEVER, GAS BLOCK and MUZZLE BREAK:
The basic outer look of the receiver is same as other AK`s around the world, It has the similar selector switch which has similar modes, One is semi other is fully auto and safety, The cocking / charging handle are all similar to an AK`s, However the magazine release and trigger so does assembly is from INSAS 1B1 when looked closely.
The receiver is most mysterious part of this rifle, As its looks similar to any other AK`s in the world while its internal working makes its most different than other AK`s around the world.
Here the 45 degree gas block is originally from AK design, The barrel is chromed line and its a 16inch one, The front sight is H&K style and the muzzle brake is slant one like found on original design, The muzzle brake is a simple yet efficient design which effectively reduce muzzle climb and rightward muzzle drift during rapid fire.
The Magazine here is a license copy of Bulgarian Waffle style 30rnd AK magazine, This get really heavy when fully loaded nearly around 700gms, And their are metal tabs in this which stop it from shredding, Its perhaps the best choice for Ghatak as its this magazine is consider best design.
The design is best trade off between strength, Reliability and durability, The magazine has steel reinforcement at various places which increase its durability over other fiber magazine available for AK, Its solid design for Indian requirement which can take harsh punishment from a solider and from nature.
According to Ministry of defence, (MOD) Press Release Ghatak assault rifle (7.62X39mm) developed by Rifle Factory Ishapore (RFI) has been cleared by Paramilitary forces. ‘Ghatak’ assault rifle has met all the technical parameters of General Staff Qualitative Requirements (GSQRs) issued by Paramilitary forces which fall under Ministry of Home affairs.
USERS: CRPF, Chattisgarh poice, Kerala,State police forces from Assam, Punjab, Manipur, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Bihar, Maharashtra and Nagaland,ITBP
(Pic in tweet: For representation purpose)
(LEFT SIDE GHATAK AR WITH ITBP )
VIDHWANSAK AMR: Vidhawansak was developed by OFB and DRDO when Denel refused to supply any AMR after it was blacklisted from India because of corruption charges being proved. Vidhwansak was developed from DENEL NTW-20 though it’s not a clone like Anamika and AK-7.
The Vidhwansak AMR is currently used by BSF in large numbers.
It was a inspired from Denel NTW-20 and further developed by DRDO produced by OFB Trichy.
It is a multi-calibre rifle and fires: 14.5*114, 20*82, 12.7*108 .
Its weight is around 26 Kg when firing the biggest round i.e 20.82. Being Multi calibre is the only reason of the increased weight.
Vidhwansak is a manually operated, rotating bolt action rifle. The barrel along with the receiver recoil inside the chassis frame against a damping system. The rifle is fed from a detachable box magazine that is inserted from the left side. The rifle can be quickly disassembled and carried in two man-portable packs, each weighing about 12 to 15 kg.A muzzle break is fitted on the end of the barrel which absorbs an estimated 50-60% of recoil. This is further supplemented by a buffered slide in the receiver. Vidhwansak is equipped with an 8X magnification, long eye relief telescopic sight with parallax adjustment. A 12X ballistic scope can also be attached.
The rifle has an effective range of 1,800 m (1,300 m for the 20 mm version) while shots can be achieved even up to 2,000 m.
The only contender in Multi Caibre AMR is NTW-20.
As the type of round these rifles fire, it is the ending line of rifle and armies shift towards cannons instead of rifles. But Vidhwansak is good competitor and better indigenous choice for the forces. In terms of Weight Vidhwansak is better so greater mobility since the weight is less the range is bit less than NTW-20. Overall Vidhwansak is a tradeoff for mobility with range.
ISHAPORE SNIPER RIFLE:
(Induction in WB police August)
(In Right corner: CRPF exhibition anantnag, J&K)
(Pic of Ish Sniper rifle during CRPF operartion in Kashmir in 2017)
India does have a sniper rifle, though not based on INSAS. This sniper rifle is called Ishapore sniper rifle. This is a latest launched in June-July this year.
- Length Of Weapon – 1120 mm (without flash suppressor)
- Weight Of Weapon – 6.7 Kg
- Effective Range – 800 metres
- Length Of Barrel – 680 mm (Hard Chrome)
- Grooves – 04
- Turn of Grooves – 304.8 mm in one turn
- Bolt Mechanism – Direct Locking with barrel
- Magazine Capacity – 06 rounds (with push button quick release)
- Safety Mechanism –Quick action engage & release
- Sighting System – • Adjustable iron sight for 100 , 200 , 300 and 400 meters provides • Day Light Telescope with variable magnification 3-12×50. Cross wire with mill dots, illuminated reticules , Quick detachable under mount on over body Pica Tiny Rail 1913 STD
- Bipod – World Standard tilt adjustment smooth leg Bipod with quick detachable under stock Pica Tiny rail mount 1913 STD
- Cheek Plate – Height Adjustable cheek place provided
- Trigger Mechanism – Adjustable trigger mechanism with trigger. Wt adjustment from 500 gm to 1.5 Kg and first pull adjustment provided
- Flash Suppressor – Optional
The gun has started seeing action in Kashmir valley by CRPF.
West Bengal police has also ordered this rifle.
INDUCTION OF STANDARD AR FOR INDIAN ARMY
Army has taken a crucial decision regarding equipping it’s soldiers with modern assault rifle. This is what the COAS. Gen Bipin rawat has to say regarding the issue:
Since a state-of-the-art assault rifle will cost about Rs 200,000 each in the global market, let us issue these only to front line infantry soldiers who confront the enemy armed only with their rifles.Let us provide a cheaper indigenous option to other soldiers, for whom the rifle is not a primary weapon.
Total of 800000 rifles are to be procured and there distribution is as explained below.
Well some people did take some sort of polls. Here are the results:
My Preference: GHATAK
Reason: Stopping Power, presence of Front Quad rail to mount optics. Moreover the new tender was started as 5.56 only maims enemy and hence 7.62 will have more punch.
All above rifles except OFB 7.62*51 AR and LMG which are under developement are under service in mostly Naxal areas, CRPF in Kashmir and state SWAT teams.
- 3 CARBINES, 2 SNIPER RIFLES, 1 MACHINE GUN, 3 ASSAULT RIFLES, 2 AK VARIANTS HAVE BEEN DEVELOPED SO FAR AFTER INSAS. INSAS RIFLE MAY OR MATNOT BE A FAILURE BUT IT SURELY DID GAVE RISE OR HAS ROOTS IN WHATEVER HAS COME AFTER IT. THIS IS A FACT AND CAN’T BE DIRCARDED HEAD-ON, INSAS WAS NOT SUPPOSED TO BE JUST ONE RIFLE BUT A PLATFORM AND IT DID GIVE RISE TO ALMOST 15 RIFLES DIRECTLY OR INDIRECTLY. SO THE UNANIMOUS CLAIN “INDIA CAN’T MAKE A DECENT RIFLE” IS FALSE, A FACADE AND A PROPAGANDA.
- BECAUSE ALL FOREIGN RIFLES FAILS IN OUR TEST CRITERIA AND SOME HOW THE INDIGENOUS RIFLES PASS, THEN TWO THINGS ARE TO BE THOUGHT OF:
- HOW AND WHO SETS THESE CRITERIAS THAT ALL OF THEM FAILS?, TENDERS ARE CANCELLED AND REISSUED MULTIPLE TIMES,DEFENSE MINISTER TAUNTS THE QR AS “MARVEL COMIC STUFFS”. BY SETTING SUCH IMAGINARY CRITERIA USERS THEMSELVES ARE DELAYING THE PROCESS,YOU CAN’T PUT THE ENTIRE BLAME ON SAYING GOVERMENT IS SLOW OR DRDO-OFB SUCKS, AGREED THEY ARE ALSO A SHARE HOLDER IN DELAY BUT PARTIALLY AND NOT COMPLETELY.
- EVEN IF A BETTER RIFLE IS AVAILABLE AFTER UPGRADATION, WHY ARE THE CURRENT ISSUE NOT MODIFIED OR EXCHANGED TO A NEWER VERSION FOR TIME BEING TILL THE NEW TENDER WINNING RIFLE ARRIVES?
- WHY ARE SMALL STARTUPS AND MSMEs NOT APPRECIATED IN DEFENSE, THE LEGAL WORK SUCKS THE ENTHUSIASM OUT OF YOUNG ENTREPRENEURS? THE POWER OF STARTUPS CAN BE SEEN IN HOW THEY CAN HELP IN MODIFYING THE OLD ERGONOMICS OF GUN TO LATEST ERGONOMICAL DESIGN.
- CHINESE QBZ-95 IS MANUFACTURED BY NORINCO A STATE OWNED COMPANY. BY DEFAULT QBZ-95 ISN’T VERY ERGONOMIC,BUT THE SMALL START UPS CAME UP WITH VERY INNOVATIVE IDEA TO MODIFY THEM INTO A AWESOME PIECE WORTH SHOWING OFF. PICS BELOW SHOW SOME EXAMPLE :
- ALL MODIFICATIONS HAVE BEEN DONE BY CHINESE MSME AND STARTUPS.
- ARMY DESIGN BEURAU SHOULD BE ASKED TO ACTIVELY TAKE PART IN DEVELOPEMENT OF IT’S GUNS AND HELP THE PUB-PRIVATE INDUSTRY TO BETTER UNDERSTAND THEIR NEEDS. IT CAN’T STAND OUT THE DEVELOPEMENT PROCESS ANYMORE LIKE A SPECTATOR THEN THERE TENDERS WILL KEEP ON BEING CANCELLED AND REISSUED, MEANWHILE THE PARAMILLITARY FORCES AND POLICES WOULD BE HAVING BETTER AND ADVANCED SMALL ARMS THAN THEM. REASON ONLY BEING CAPF WERE INTERESTED IN FEEDBACK BASED DEVELOPEMENT OF THEIR RIFLES AND HAD FAITH IN INDIGENOUS SOLUTIONS FOR THEIR NEEDS.
- THE R&D BUDGET HAS TOO BE INCREASED, YOU CAN’T EXPECT A SOUND PRODUCT W/O SOUND R&D AND FOR THAT YOU NEED MONEY.