INSAS rifle

INSAS (an abbreviation of Indian National Small Arms System) is a family of infantry arms consisting of an assault rifle, a light machine gun and a carbine. It is manufactured by the Indian State Ordnance Factory Board at its Ishapore factory. The INSAS Assault Rifle is now the standard infantry weapon of the Indian Armed Forces.The INSAS system was originally planned to have three component weapons: a standard rifle, a carbine, and a squad automatic rifle (LMG), all chambered for 5.56x45mm NATO ammunition. In 1997 the rifle and LMG were ready for mass production, and in 1998 the first units were observed armed with INSAS rifles for the Republic Day Parade . The mass introduction of the INSAS rifle was initially delayed by the lack of the domestically made 5.56 mm ammunition and India accordingly bought significant stocks of ammunition from the Israeli company, IMI. At least 300,000 INSAS rifles are in service with the Indian army; some of these have seen action in Indo-Pakistani conflicts.The INSAS rifle was sold at a highly discounted rate to the government of Nepal, and many more given as military aid to combat the Maoist insurgency in that country. Around 100,000 weapons were exported to Nepal.The INSAS rifle saw combat with Indian soldiers during the 1999 Kargil conflict with Pakistan. According to the Times of India, the rifle had some reliability problems in the very cold climate in which that conflict took place. Due to the cold weather, the rifle would jam occasionally and the polymer magazines would crack in the cold. There were also cases wherein the rifle would fire in full auto, while in three-round burst fire mode. According to the manufacturers, these problems have now been fixed.

INSAS rifle
Class Manportable
Type Rifles
Manufacturer ARDE
Origin India
Country Name Origin Year
India 1997
Country Name Operational Year Retirement Year
Bhutan View
India 1997 View
Nepal View
Oman (Muscat) View
ManufacturerName Production From Production To Quantity
ARDE View

Since the late 1950s, the Indian armed forces had been equipped with L1A1 self-loading rifles. In mid-1980s, the decision was taken to develop a 5.56 mm calibre rifle to replace the obsolete rifles. Trials on various prototypes based on the AKM were carried out by the Armament Research and Development Establishment (ARDE) in Pune. On the completion of the trial, The Indian Small Arms System (INSAS) was adopted in 1990. However, to phase out the still in use bolt-action Lee–Enfield rifles as quickly as possible, India had to acquire 100,000 7.62×39mm AKM-type rifles from Russia, Hungary, Romania and Israel in 1990–92.

Originally, three variants were planned in the INSAS system, a rifle, a carbine and a squad automatic weapon (SAW) or Light machine gun (LMG). In 1997, the rifle and the LMG went into mass production. In 1998, the first INSAS rifles were displayed at the republic day parade. The introduction of the rifle was delayed due to the lack of 5.56×45mm ammunition, large quantities of the same were bought from Israel Military Industries.

The rifle first saw action during the Kargil War in 1999. About 300,000 units are currently in use by the Indian armed forces.

Weight - 4.25kg (9.4lb) empty4.6kg (10.1lb) loaded

Length - 960mm (37.8in),750mm (29.5in) w/stock folded

Barrel length - 464mm (18.3in)

Cartridge - 5.56x45mm NATO, 5.56x30mm

Action - Gas-operated, Rotating bolt

Rate of fire - 650 rounds/min

Muzzle velocity - 900m/s (2,953ft/s)

Effective range - 400 m

Feed system - 20/30-round detachable box magazine

End notes