Army To Use High Calibre Guns To Be Made In West Bengal

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New Delhi: Responding to army’s call to get a new high calibre assault rifle, the Ordinance Factory Board (OFB) has developed a weapon on a fast track basis.

In normal course, it takes around a year at least to come up with a new weapon. But the assault rifle was ready in six months. The rifle of 7.62×52 calibre operates on the rotating bolt model, same as the legendary AK-47. However, the OFB gun has a higher calibre compared to AK-47 which is a 7.62×39 rifle.

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The guns will be manufactured at Rifle Factory Ishapore (RFI) in West Bengal, said director general of OFB S C Bajpai. He was in city to address the valedictory function of Indian Ordnance Factory Service (IOFS) officers at the National Academy of Defence Production (NADP).

Rifle Factory Ishapore (RFI) in West Bengal

Bajpai said an internal trial of the weapon would be held next month. Thereafter, in May, the rifle would be offered to the project evaluation committee that has members of army too. The user trials by the army are expected this year itself.

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Bajpai said in the initial stage it was found the gun had a higher recoil which hampered the comfort of the user. A buffer has been developed through DRDO to bring down the recoil, he said.

INSAS, which was used in the Kargil war, is being replaced and the army wants rifles of 7.62 calibre which have a higher lethality. The 5.56 mm bullet used in INSAS generally does not kill the enemy, instead leaves them injured. The theory is wounding the enemy is more effective in a war as it takes several other soldiers to evacuate the injured, thus reducing the enemy strength. However, in counter insurgency and anti-terror operations, the army prefers a bullet that kills, said an ordnance factory source.

This is the second assault rifle developed by the ordnance factory. The 7.62×39 calibre Ghatak is used by the paramilitary forces. Ordnance Factory Trichi has also independently developed an assault rifle of the same calibre. Trichi rifle works on tilting bolt model which is different from AK-47.

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The Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) is confident that production of Pinaka rockets, which had stopped after a misfire during a trial about a year ago, would restart soon. Director General of OFB S C Bajpai told TOI several rounds had been fired earlier but there was no such problem. Only the existing control system needed to be tightened to prevent such incident in future. The factory was ready with a new lot of rockets which could be test fired, he said.

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