The big deal about the Army's small arms

ALBY

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Even deciding on a multi-purpose tool, akin to a Swiss knife, for example, has been delayed despite trials in 2011 featuring European and American vendors.

Shortly after taking over as the Chief of Army Staff in May 2012, General Bikram Singh had emphatically declared that upgrading the small arms profile of his force was his foremost priority.

Two years later, as Gen. Singh prepares to retire in end July, neither the 5.56mm close quarter battle (CQB) carbines nor the multi-calibre assault rifles he promised are anywhere in sight for the Army's 359 infantry units and over 100 Special Forces and counter-insurgency battalions, including the Rashtriya Rifles and Assam Rifles.
The Army's prevailing operational reality is that it does not own a carbine as the Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) ceased manufacture of all variants of the WWII 9mm carbines, including ammunition, around 2010.

And, two years later, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) finally endorsed the Army's persistent complaints regarding the inefficiency of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO)-designed INdian Small Arms System (INSAS) 5.56x39mm assault rifles. It agreed that they needed replacing.

The former Defence Minister, A.K. Antony, was forced into admitting in Parliament in late 2012 that the INSAS rifles had been overtaken by "technological development" — a euphemism for a poorly designed weapon system which the Army grudgingly began employing in the late 1990s and, unceasingly, had complained about ever since.
Among largest arms programmes
The Army's immediate requirement is for around 1,60,080 CQB carbines and over 2,20,000 assault rifles that it aims on meeting through a combination of imports and licensed-manufacture by the OFB. Ultimately, the paramilitaries and special commando units of respective State police forces too will employ either or both weapon systems in what will possibly be one of the world's largest small arms programmes worth $7-$8 billion.

Gen. Singh's guarantees, however, remain delusional and, expectedly unaccountable. And, in time-honoured Indian Army tradition, they will now be transferred to his successor, the Army Chief-designate, Lieutenant Gen. Dalbir Singh Suhag, to vindicate.

An optimistic time frame in inking the import of 44,618 carbines, which have been undergoing an unending series of trials since August 2012, is another 12-18 months away if not beyond. The deadline to acquire assault rifles, trials for which are scheduled to begin in August, is even longer — certainly not before 2016-17, if not later.

Till then, the Army faces a fait accompli of making do without carbines, a basic infantry weapon. It will also have to make do with inefficient INSAS assault rifles, another indispensable small arm for the force's largest fighting arm.

Currently, three overseas vendors are undergoing "confirmatory" trials at defence establishments and weapon testing facilities in Dehradun, Kanpur, Mhow and Pune with their CQB carbines. The November 2011 tender for CQB carbines also includes the import of 33.6 million rounds of ammunition.

Competing rivals include Italy's Baretta, fielding its ARX-160 model, Israel Weapon Industries (IWI) with its Galil ACE carbine and the U.S. Colt featuring the M4. The U.S. subsidiary of Swiss gunmaker Sig Sauer, which was originally part of the tender with its 516 Patrol Rifle, has failed to turn up at the ongoing carbine trials.

Sig is under investigation by the Centrtral Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on charges of alleged corruption in potentially supplying its wares to the Indian paramilitaries. Alleged arms dealer, Abhishek Verma and his Romanian wife, Anca Neacsu — both are in Tihar jail — once represented Sig's operations in India.

Inefficiencies
The carbine trials, expected to conclude by mid-July, will be followed by a final report by the Army, grading the vendors on the performance of their systems. Thereafter, the MoD will open their respective commercial bids, submitted over two years earlier and begin price negotiations with the lowest qualified bidder — or L1 — before inking the deal.

According to insiders associated with the project, this intricate process is almost certain to be protracted, despite the inordinately high expectations of efficiency from the Narendra Modi government. They believe the carbine contract is unlikely to be sealed within the current financial year. However, once signed, weapon and ammunition deliveries are to be concluded within 18 months alongside the transfer of technology to the OFB to licence build the designated carbine.

In short, no Army unit will be equipped with a carbine till well into 2016.The saga of the assault rifles is even starker.

A multi-service internal review in 2012 of the INSAS assault rifles revealed that they were made from four different kinds of metal, an amalgam almost guaranteed to impair their functioning in the extreme climates of Siachen and Rajasthan.

Surprisingly, the Indian Air Force was the most vociferous in castigating the DRDO over as many as 53 operational inefficiencies in the rifle that the country's prime weapons development agency took nearly two decades to develop and at great cost.

Inexplicably, the DRDO insisted on the OFB developing the SS-109 round, an extended variant of the SS-109 NATO-standard cartridge for 5.56x39mm rifles aimed at achieving marginally longer range, a capability unnecessary for such a weapon system. This operational superfluity delayed the INSAS programme as it required the import of specialised and expensive German machinery and necessitated the "stop gap" import of millions of ammunition rounds from Israel.

The DRDO-designed and OFB-built rifle also cost several times more than AK-47 assault rifles of which around 100,000 were imported from Bulgaria in the early 1990s for less than $100 each as an "interim" measure at a time when the Kashmiri insurgency was its most virulent and Islamist militants better armed than Army troopers.

The MoD issued the tender for 66,000 5.56mm multi-calibre assault rifles in November 2011 to 43 overseas vendors, five of who responded early the following year.

The competing rifles, required to weigh no more than 3.6kg and to convert readily from 5.56x45mm to 7.62x39mm merely by switching the barrel and magazine for employment in counter-insurgency or conventional roles, include the Czech Republic's CZ 805 BREN model, IWI's ACE 1, Baretta's ARX 160, Colt's Combat Rifle and Sig Sauer's SG551. The latter's participation, however, remains uncertain. A transfer of technology to the OFB to locally build the selected rifle is part of the tender.

Meanwhile, field trials for the rifles are scheduled for early August, nearly 30 months after bids were submitted, as that is the extended time period it surprisingly takes the Army to conduct a paper evaluation of five systems.

But these too have already run into easily avoidable problems.
On security grounds, the rifle vendors are objecting to the Army's choice of its firing range at Kleeth in the Akhnoor sector hugging the Line of Control (LoC) as the venue for the initial round of trials. A final decision on this is awaited. Thereafter, other trials will follow in diverse weather conditions in Leh, Rajasthan and high humidity areas, all regions where the assault rifles will eventually be employed.

Transforming the soldier
Acquiring these modular, multi-calibre suite of small arms is just part of the Army's long-delayed Future-Infantry Soldier As a System (F-INSAS) programme envisaged in 2005, but interminably delayed.

The F-INSAS aims at deploying a fully networked infantry in varied terrain and in all-weather conditions with enhanced firepower and mobility for the digitised battlefield. It seeks to transform the infantry soldier into a self-contained fighting machine to enable him to operate across the entire spectrum of war, including nuclear and low intensity conflict, in a network-centric environment.

But senior military officers concede this programme stands delayed by six to seven years almost exclusively because of the Army's inability in formulating qualitative requirements (QR) to acquire many of these ambitious capabilities.

Even deciding on a multi-purpose tool, akin to a Swiss knife, for example, has been delayed despite trials in 2011 featuring European and American vendors. Officers associated with F-INSAS said this, like other equipment acquisitions, was due to the Army's rigid procedures, inefficiencies and inability to take timely decisions.

The Army continually blames the MoD for creating bureaucratic hurdles in its modernisation efforts, but fails in acknowledging its own shortcomings in drawing up realistic QRs, conducting timely trials and, above all, realistically determining its operational needs and working towards them economically.

Senior officers privately concede that the "uniforms" are largely responsible for the lack of modernisation, but manage to successfully deflect their own limitations sideways onto the MoD.

Gen. Singh's tenure, like several other chiefs before him, exemplifies this. It is highlighted by their collective inability to even incrementally upgrade the Army's war waging capacity be it night fighting capability for its armour fleet, modern artillery, light utility and attack helicopters or infantry combat vehicles, among others.

The big deal about the Army's small arms - The Hindu
 

LastProphet

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Accountabilty.... Don thnk nyone in ARMY,MOD,DRDO n OFB hv ever heard of it...for such a track record lots of heads sud roll...better change d complete team....!!!
 

Kunal Biswas

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I am reading load of **** in this article, Another lobby at work ..

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1 > INSAS is a family of firearm and none of its kind use 5.56x39mm ..

2 > 1B1 is build based on GSQR prepared by Army to DRDO ..

3 > DRDO already put Multi-cal into field trails with Army which is a fact and another conveniently likely to forget it .. :)

Army's persistent complaints regarding the inefficiency of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO)-designed INdian Small Arms System (INSAS) 5.56x39mm assault rifles. It agreed that they needed replacing.

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Self created facts, Poorly manufactured in 60s era factory to be primary reasons, Nothing has to do with design the design is by Army itself ..

Not a single major complain ever reported by Army till date rather Army thrash NRA claims that INSAS work inefficient ( Link posted at INSAS Thread )

INSAS rifles had been overtaken by "technological development" — a euphemism for a poorly designed weapon system which the Army grudgingly began employing in the late 1990s and, unceasingly, had complained about ever since.

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The Rifle GSQR is made by Army not by IAF, In that case IAF have no reason to be vociferous, They are the largest importer of arms in all three wings ..

Surprisingly, the Indian Air Force was the most vociferous in castigating the DRDO over as many as 53 operational inefficiencies in the rifle that the country's prime weapons development agency took nearly two decades to develop and at great cost.
=======================

Not just longer range but hard hitting than SS109 to slain tangos, Again its done at requirement assigned by Army ..

Wonder how much this author knows about 1B1 ? ..

Inexplicably, the DRDO insisted on the OFB developing the SS-109 round, an extended variant of the SS-109 NATO-standard cartridge for 5.56x39mm rifles aimed at achieving marginally longer range, a capability unnecessary for such a weapon system.

=======================

:ranger:

**** article ..
 

Kunal Biswas

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Putting the Indian Army's desire to import assault rifles in perspective



The much higher figures reported for IA's purchase plans are therefore either incorrect or point to the massive royalty payments that international arms manufacturers are seeking for technology transfer obligations. It is at this point that IA needs to ask itself whether replacing an INSAS rifle costing between Rs 15-20,000 at last count with an imported rifle quoted at 6-8 times that figure is really worth the trouble. Do note, that the civilian version of the Beretta ARX-160, the ARX-100, retails at a starting price of $1950 in the United States.
Now imported designs don't always fare as well as they are touted to under Indian conditions and product support from foreign sources can also be iffy. For instance, the Home Ministry's import of over 34000 Beretta MX4 storm sub-machine guns hasn't exactly panned out too well with numerous defects and corrosion marks being found in delivered batches leading to disquiet amongst Border Security Force troops issued with these weapons.
There is no denying that the INSAS rifle family needs development but then that also falls within the lookout of IA itself, which is a key stakeholder in the entire process. As Major General (retd.) Bhupendra Yadav, who has long years of experience with the Department of Defence Production (DDP) in the Ministry of Defence and has a PhD in Operations Management to boot, says 'At the time of introduction in the 1990s it was universally felt that we had a good design on our hands.'
'The issues with the INSAS are known to be on the production side of things,'he continues.'Even there the defects have been identified and should simply have beenrectified with the Army taking the necessary initiative to make the other stakeholders work on this path.After all what exactly are the Master General of Ordnance(MGO) and Director General of Quality Assurance (DGQA) there for anyway? The Army can't suddenly take a standoffish attitude on this and just look abroad.' General Yadav adds emphatically.For those who came late, on OFB's special/extended board are included the MGO and DGQA who are senior serving officers appointed by IA specifically'to represent the users and their interest on quality aspects.' These two gentlemen are supposed get the job done on quality control aspects related to production by OFB.
As per General Yadav, the time already spent in the process of 'downselecting' imported types since 2011, was more than adequate to develop the next iteration of the INSAS and fix issues with it provided there was sufficient will. '3-4 years gives you enough time to upgrade the INSAS to satisfactory levels,' General Yadav remarks. Although hypothetical, a re-look can be taken at something like the Excalibur, a modernized development based on the INSAS which IA has been rather lukewarm too.
Interestingly, as yet another import tender drags along, one finds articles beginning to make their way into the media exhorting the military to expedite the process, such as this piece in the Hindu the other day (The big deal about the Army's small arms - The Hindu). But such articles often make somewhat outlandish claims about performance of indigenously developed weapons that naturally does not go down well with DRDO. Indeed in reply to the Hindu article which claimed that the INSAS apparently doesn't do so well in the Himalayas and hot deserts, DRDO had this to say.
'The trials covered all possible scenarios that a gun of this kind(i.e. INSAS) could encounter or could be imagined to encounter and included sub-zero temperatures at the world's highest located battlefields, the most humid wetlands as well as extreme hot deserts. The gun is available in four variants namely rifle and light machine gun, each in fixed and fold-able butt versions, and offers the option of attaching an Under Barrel Grenade Launcher (UBGL) for launching high explosive grenades upto 400 metres away. The gun makes extensive use of engineering plastics and high strength alloys to withstand boththe rigors of the battlefield as well as varied climates.By 2010, more than a million such guns and more than 1.5 billion rounds of ammunition had been produced and supplied to India's armed forces. It is important to note that while the project cost was merely Rs 3.5 crores, INSAS system had turned over business worth more than Rs 6000 crores by 2010 itself.'
There's no denying that the return on investment on indigenous weapons produced in bulk can be very significant owing to much lower developmental costs. This is precisely one of the reasons why indigenous options in general tend to be cheaper than foreign ones. It should also be noted, that IA wants the very same OFB units to produce the final downselected imported design that have had quality control issues with the INSAS line. It really begs the question as to exactly how OFB units will produce these new next gen imported designs requiring superior machining and finer tolerances to IA's exacting quality standards when they apparently did not always do the same when it came to the INSAS?

Source : Saurav Jha's Blog : Putting the Indian Army's desire to import assault rifles in perspective


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I have talk to these IFG members also read this review, IMO there is lot the author does not understand about the Rifle nor he has any field experience about the rifle, Nor the members understand it rather i had exchange of bitter words..

I have used 1B so does 1B1 and now Improved 1B1 whose picture i have posted above, I have explained every detail in large at this thread : http://defenceforumindia.com/forum/indian-army/43826-insas-rifle-lmg-carbine-3.html

Reproducing all these data in this very thread is impossible, In short Yes i use a improved 1B1 and it does outgun many competitor who are actually trying to replace it , But my request please do give a read to the thread before getting to any conclusion ..


@Kunal Back in 2010 a member at IFG had did a piece on INSAS 1B. Here is the link Indians For Guns "¢ View topic - The INSAS 5.56mm Rifle- A Technical Treatise.

My question here is, has it improved since then?
 
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Kunal Biswas

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All Foreign Assault Rifle under trial failed under Indian conditions.



The Indian Army began the final round of confirmatory trials in support of its requirement for 44,618 close quarter battle (CQB) 5.56 mm carbines and 33.6 million rounds of ammunition on 9 June, defence industry officials told IHS Jane's .

The Beretta ARX-160, Colt M4, and Israel Weapon Industries (IWI) Galil Ace carbines will undergo a series of tests at army establishments and weapon-testing facilities until the end of July. These include weapon sights, furniture, and ammunition trials.

The competing guns will also undergo a "mud test" to gauge their ability to operate in poor conditions, an evaluation all three failed during trials in 2012 in the Rajasthan desert and high-altitude regions.
Source : Indian Army kicks off final carbine trials - IHS Jane's 360

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Hari Sud

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Before India buys new carabines and multi cal rifles, somebody has to show that these work in Siachen and then in the desert. Also show us that desert dust is not a major factor in its breakdown.

All these big names gun makers make it for their own environment. None of them face a variation of environment as India faces, hence much of the guns during testing do not perform. Later they go back, make adjustments and bring it back for retesting. Time consuming operation.

May be, India has look at an internal solution to this problem. A multi cal rifle of Indian origin is not in the running for testing; imports are preferred, whether these work or not. Carabine making in India should not be a big problem.

Replacement of INSAS, why so much hurry. It has overcome its initial problems. Now it works fine.

Why has Pakistan not replaced its 1960 Gararnd rifles; because it works fine.

Those sexy looking rifles in the blue glossy brochures are good for brochures only. They do not work. After 1975, when US overcame all its M-16 problems, for 35 years they have not talked about replacing it enmasse. It works. Some time in the future, there will be a better mouse trap, then consider it. For specialised operation like urban terror combat or sniper operations or Navy Seals etc., there are rifles for them. But bulk of US Army carries M-16.

So relax India, buy a new rifle when there is an absolutely better one is available. For specialised operations buy small numbers as you need it.
 

apple

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Before India buys new carabines and multi cal rifles, somebody has to show that these work in Siachen and then in the desert. Also show us that desert dust is not a major factor in its breakdown.

All these big names gun makers make it for their own environment. None of them face a variation of environment as India faces, hence much of the guns during testing do not perform. Later they go back, make adjustments and bring it back for retesting. Time consuming operation.

Why has Pakistan not replaced its 1960 Gararnd rifles; because it works fine.

Those sexy looking rifles in the blue glossy brochures are good for brochures only. They do not work. After 1975, when US overcame all its M-16 problems, for 35 years they have not talked about replacing it enmasse. It works. Some time in the future, there will be a better mouse trap, then consider it. For specialised operation like urban terror combat or sniper operations or Navy Seals etc., there are rifles for them. But bulk of US Army carries M-16.

So relax India, buy a new rifle when there is an absolutely better one is available. For specialised operations buy small numbers as you need it.
Would agree with your basic point, but would argue against Indian exceptionalism.

For example, the Americans would require their small arms to function, in both, Alaska and New Mexico, as well on operations anywhere in the world. And to nit-pick, in 1975 America wouldn't have been making any major military expenditures, they still would have been using the problematic M16A1 (or even earlier verions) then, and there has most certainly been discussion about America replacing it's service rifle (which would the M4, not so much the M16A2/3).

But yes, you're basic point is good, and there hasn't been any radical changes in small arms in the last ~50(?) years.

Fundamentally, I don't really care but it would make a lot of sense for the Indian Army, and all your paramilitaries, to use a single service rifle and having picatinny-rails/ optics would seem (to me) to be an easier and more important improvement that using a multi-calibre weapon system.

Do the Pakistani's still use Garand M1's?
 

karn

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Would agree with your basic point, but would argue against Indian exceptionalism.

For example, the Americans would require their small arms to function, in both, Alaska and New Mexico, as well on operations anywhere in the world. And to nit-pick, in 1975 America wouldn't have been making any major military expenditures, they still would have been using the problematic M16A1 (or even earlier verions) then, and there has most certainly been discussion about America replacing it's service rifle (which would the M4, not so much the M16A2/3).

But yes, you're basic point is good, and there hasn't been any radical changes in small arms in the last ~50(?) years.

Fundamentally, I don't really care but it would make a lot of sense for the Indian Army, and all your paramilitaries, to use a single service rifle and having picatinny-rails/ optics would seem (to me) to be an easier and more important improvement that using a multi-calibre weapon system.

Do the Pakistani's still use Garand M1's?
G3s not garands . Which is from the 1960s though .
 

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