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Excalibur rifle awaits certification trials

Excalibur, a fully automatic rifle that fires 5.56mm ammunition, is an upgraded version of INSAS rifle, which was inducted in the mid-nineties.

An indigenously produced new generation rifle, Excalibur, is awaiting user trials and final certification, even as the Army seems to be moving away to a bigger calibre rifle than what has been produced by the Ordnance Factory Board (OFB).

“Fifteen rifles are ready at the Rifle Factory, Ishapore, for user and Director General Quality Assurance evaluation and awaiting trail directive from the Infantry Directorate,” OFB spokesperson told The Hindu.

The Excalibur is a fully automatic rifle which fires 5.56mm ammunition and is an upgraded version of the current INSAS (Indian National Small Arms System) which was inducted in the mid-nineties but had a troubled history all along.

The Rifle Factory, Ishapore has produced 15 prototypes with modifications based on user feedback on reliability, weight, length, compatibility with international sights, aesthetics etc. and has been evaluated by users at the Army’s Infantry School at Mhow, OFB officials said.

“User has recently asked for a few additional features to be incorporated in the rifle. OFB has assured introduction of proposed balance four modifications in a time-bound manner,” the spokesperson said, adding that the project was a joint effort of the OFB and Infantry Directorate.

The Army has been attempting to procure a new standard issue rifle for a decade. Recently, the overambitious tender for rifles with interchangeable barrels was cancelled after a four year process as no vendor could meet the requirements. After that, the Army decided to go for 7.62mm calibre and new Staff Quality Requirements are being drawn up.

Army officials said that due this decision, Excalibur is unlikely to be adopted as the standard issue in the current form but stated that its user trials and the process for a new rifle would continue simultaneously.

There are a large number of INSAS guns which need replacement and repairs. They need to be maintained till the new process is completed. So Excalibur can be certified and used to replace the INSAS till the new rifles are procured,” a senior officer observed.

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Printable version | Feb 22, 2020 6:59:53 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/Excalibur-rifle-awaits-certification-trials/article14475842.ece

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