The first batch of indigenously developed Bofors type guns will be dispatched to the Indian Army in March.
The tests carried out on the 5.56mm assault rifle at Mhow, Madhya Pradesh, the Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) hopes that it may be soon accepted by the Army, OFB director general AK Prabhakar was quoted as saying by Economic Times news daily Thursday.
The assault rifle is expected to replace the current 5.56 Insas rifle, which is the standard issue weapon for the Army since the mid-1990s. The Insas, which is also an ordnance factory product, was often reported to be inferior to the AK-47s used by militants.
The Indian Army had invited offers for rifles with interchangeable barrels but had not received any response from foreign companies. The Army is also looking for a single barrel rifles now, OFB is also pushing this un developed jointly by DRDO, the news report said.
“The assault rifle is going to be the owner’s pride and neighbour’s envy,” said Prabhakar while addressing the National Academy of Defence Production (NADP) valedictory function. Later, speaking to newspersons, he said that the process is at an advanced stage. “The tests were successful and it is hoped that the Army will accept it,” Prabhakar said.
A source in the OFB added the current Insas available with the Army is technically not an assault rifle. The new weapon being developed by OFB has rapid fire feature, matching it with the AK-47. The ordnance factory has also developed an assault rifle of 7.62mm calibre, which is being offered to the para military forces.
Prabhakar said that apart from the 155×45 mm calibre howitzers based on the Bofors guns, which will reach the Army in March, the OFB has also developed a 155×52 mm gun, which is a higher version. It was test fired recently at Pokhran. This gun has a higher range than the 155x45mm calibre and was made by improvising the existing 130mm guns available with the Army.
The ordnance factories are carrying out production orders worth INR 13,000 core (US $1.9 billion), which the OFB plans to take to Rs15,000 crore (US $2.2 billion) the next year and Rs20,000 crore (US $2.9 billion) the year after, said the OFB chief.
Army wants to replace the current 5.56mm Insas rifle with a new weapon Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) pushing the 5.56mm assault rifle developed by it The new assault rifle has a rapid fire feature If accepted by the Army, the assault rifle will replace the Insas, which is also an ordnance factory product