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Monday, 31 October 2016

India's Defense Forces Rifle - & Our Choices:

The selection of a main issue Rifle in India is proving to be complex. Recent reports claim that the locally built Escalibur 5.56 mm will be issued - while the long-term replacement process's continue.


The Excalibur is supposed to be an improved version of the INSAS rifle (Indian Small Arms System) firing 5.56×45 mm ammunition. It has full-automatic capability (the INSAS fires a three-round burst).

India's Defense Forces have been using an additional 100,000 AKM rifles in 7.62x39mm since 1990-1992. - The INSAS design is a "mix & match" design "based on" the Kalashnikov design but in NATO 5.56x45mm caliber.
The Excalibur barrel is shorter by 4 mm, has a side folding butt stock and features a Picatinny** rail that allows a range of weapon sights and accessories to be fitted on the rifle.
 Rifle Factory Ishapore is said to need at least eight months to incorporate design changes suggested by the ARDE - and to produce field prototypes of what they are calling the ‘Modified INSAS Rifle’ (MIR). - Hopefully this 'indigenous' Excalibur design will select the best features of other designs and incorporate them successfully.
Changes after trials include an improved polycarbonate magazine to replace an earlier magazine found to be prone to failure from cracking.

**  "Picatinny"  is the Picatinny Arsenal in New Jersey, USA - where this design of accessory attachment rail was tested and set as a military standard .. Mil-STD-1913 (dated February 1995).

The New Zealand DF have recently changed our general purpose rifle from the worn-out Steyr AUG Bullpups to the CQB16 from US supplier Lewis Machine & Tool - reportedly buying some 8,800 rifles.
It seems that capability to fit various optical sighting options is a critical factor (- along with mix'n'match compatibility with the US forces supply system.)
NZDF CQB16.
Lewis Machine & Tool
While the Indian authorities appear to be grappling with an additional caliber choice (AK or NATO?) - We Kiwis decided to go away from the advanced (NATO caliber) Steyr AUG Bullpup rifle design and have regressed to an M16 style "American Black Rifle".

 - Meanwhile our Australian friends across the ditch (Tasman Sea) opted to update to a locally developed iteration of the Steyr AUG made by Thales Australia.
Australia's Choice: Thales F90 (EF88)
- With constant technical progress (eg. caseless ammo) being investigated - It is not easy to wisely spend so much taxpayers money .. when the wrong decision can seriously harm the countries security and the lives of valued service personnel.

 - However, I get the impression that NZs serving warriors are happy with the new 5.56mm LM&T 'Black Rifle' choice.
Marty K.