The soldiers of the Indian Army and some other paramilitary forces use the indigenously manufactured INSAS assault rifle. But, delays in the replacement of the rifle have often bogged down the overall modernisation plans of the armed forces. So, an unnamed someone from the forces modified the INSAS to meet the challenges posed by new warfare techniques and terror attacks such as . Details of the modification are unavailable but it has been reported that the overall length and weight of the weapon has been reduced to lower fatigue and improve accuracy. The centre of gravity has been realigned.
The new INSAS can fire corner shots. Corner shot guns utilize a a camera and a video monitor for the shooter to see around the corner. This capability does not put the shooter in danger.
Modelled on the AKM variant of the AK-47, the INSAS (abbreviation of Indian Small Arms System) has served the forces well against Naxals, terrorists and enemy soldiers (during the Kargil war). The most common INSAS rifle weighs around 4.15 kg without magazine and can fire 30 rounds at the rate of 600 rounds/minute. But as terrorists and enemy countries are continuously upgrading to better weapons, the Indian armed forces have felt the heat of getting an assault rifle that gives them the edge. The widely-used version of the INSAS has come under fire for unreliability, including the CRPF which proposed the dropping of the rifle from its standard use.
The Excalibur gun.
Although plans to replace the INSAS rifles have been underway for the last five years, there have been countless delays due to a number of reasons. The Army has been planning on acquiring a new indigenously made assault rifle called Excalibur – a retrofitted version of the INSAS.
The much-publicised indigenously-manufactured Excalibur rifle is still undergoing trials and there is no word on when it would see use by the Indian armed forces. The gun has been approved and praised by the Indian Army chief General Dalbir Singh. Excalibur is a gas-operated, fully automatic rifle with a foldable butt, Picatinny rail for sights, sensors, and bipods. One major defect with the INSAS rifle is that its magazine cracked in extreme hot and cold climates, as was seen during the Kargil war. Excalibur has a polycarbonate magazine which is superior to that of the INSAS.
But since it might take time to arm the forces with Excalibur, the INSAS itself has been modified. This was essential at a time when attacks from across the border test India’s defence preparedness. Prime Minister Narendra Modi was reportedly impressed with the innovation and even gave an “innovation certificate” to the person who did it. The INSAS rifles are usually not used in counter-insurgency operations; it is the more reliable and accurate AK-47.
But since all terrorists use AK-47 at all times, it is important for the forces responding immediately against enemy action to be armed with the latest weapons and defensive equipment.