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INSAS Assault rifle
|Place of origin||India|
|Used by||See Users|
Nepalese Civil War
|Manufacturer||Ordnance Factories Board|
|Length||960 mm (37.8 in),
750 mm (29.5 in) w/stock folded
|Barrel length||464 mm (18.3 in)|
|Action||Gas-operated, Rotating bolt|
|Rate of fire||650 rounds/min|
|Muzzle velocity||900 m/s (2,953 ft/s)|
|Effective range||550 Meters|
|Feed system||20/30-round detachable box magazine|
|Sights||In-built Iron sights
Plate for attaching various scopes made by Ordnance Factory Board
INSAS (an abbreviation of Indian 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 Ordnance Factories Board at Ordnance Factory Tiruchirappalli, Small Arms Factory Kanpur and Ishapore Rifle Factory. The Insas Assault Rifle is the standard infantry weapon of the Indian Armed Forces.
The Indian armed forces had been equipped with a copy of the Belgian FN FAL rifle since the 1950s. This copy was considered to be a distinct weapon, since its parts cannot be interchanged with either the metric or inch-pattern versions of the FAL. With the 7.62 mm semi-automatic rifle becoming obsolete in the 1980s, India began to develop the INSAS, incorporating features from several contemporary rifle designs. Although largely based on the AKM, the INSAS has a number of differences, making it a unique weapon.
During the late 1980s, the Indians expressed interest in purchasing (and possibly manufacturing under license), an East German-designed AK chambered for the 5.56x45mm cartridge. The deal ultimately fell through.
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 Indian army units were observed armed with INSAS rifles for the Republic Day Parade. 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 is based on the Kalashnikov AK-47 action with modifications. The basic gas-operated action (long stroke gas system, rotating bolt, and stamped steel receiver) is of the Kalashnikov pattern. The gas system is fitted with a manual gas regulator similar in design to that found on the FN FAL as well as a gas cutoff. The charging handle is positioned on the left side of the forearm; it is similar in position and design to the German HK G3 rifle.
The selector/safety switch is located on the left side of the receiver above the pistol grip, which allows single shots and three-round bursts. The rifle is fitted with a side-folding carrying handle, and either a solid or side-folding metal buttstock. Furniture is made of polymer with the stock using the butt-plate from Lee-Enfield rifles. Standard magazines are made from semi-translucent polymer and contain 20 rounds. Longer 30-round magazines of similar design are available for the INSAS LMG but can also be used in the rifle. The sights consist of a hooded front, mounted on top of the gas block, and a diopter rear, mounted on the receiver cover. The flash suppressor is shaped to accept NATO-standard rifle grenades. It can be fitted with an AKM-style multipurpose knife-bayonet.
The assault rifle version has semi-auto and 3-round burst modes much like the US M16A2. Derived from the INSAS weapon systems, the INSAS Excalibur Mark-I is ergonomically designed with a folding butt and can be fitted with 20 and 30-round magazines. It is also fitted with a Picatinny rail for mounting of opto-electronic devices. The latest variant of the INSAS has semi-automatic, 3 round bursts and full automatic fire modes.
An under-barrel grenade launcher and bayonet have been recently been issued for use with the INSAS, which are also compatible with the AK-47s used by paramilitary forces.
Design Issues 
The INSAS saw combat during the 1999 Kargil conflict with Pakistan. According to the Times of India, the rifle encountered some reliability problems in the very cold climate in which the conflict took place. Due to the cold weather, the rifle would jam occasionally and the polymer magazines would crack. There were also cases where the rifle would fire on full automatic, while in three-round burst fire mode. According to the manufacturers, these problems have been fixed.
After King Gyanendra seized power, relations between India and Nepal cooled, with India refusing to grant military aid and also blocking the way for weapons from other countries. There were reports that the rifle malfunctioned in a gunbattle with Maoist insurgents in the battle of Kalikot, leading to a rare heavy loss of Nepalese army side. This was refuted by the Indian embassy in Nepal, trials conducted before the Nepalese Army showed that the rifle was satisfactory and that the malfunctions had been due to poor handling and improper cleaning of the rifle by Nepalese soldiers. Nepalese soldiers were still not satisfied as the rifle malfunctioned when used extensively for prolonged periods at war or during trainings. These drawbacks were said to have been fixed after the Kargil Conflict in 1999.
Variant & Developments 
- INSAS Standard rifle (5.56 mm) issued to Indian Army & Paramilitary, with folding and fixed butt variants, fires semi-automatic and three round burst. An assault variant is also manufactured with full auto fire mode along with semi & three burst mode, used by Indian Army.
- INSAS (Foldable Butt) (5.56 mm) It resembles 5.56 mm Assault Rifle Fixed Butt in all other features except that the Fixed Butt is replaced with a foldable type of Butt to shorten the overall length and it does not include automatic mode of firing.It is most suitable for combat from ICV and in Para Troopers role.
- INSAS LMG 5.56 mm INSAS (folding and fixed butt variants) - An Indian version of Squad Automatic Weapon (SAW) Incorporated for suppressive and cover fire for troops. Barrel is designed for long and continued fire,It has auto fire mode with 30 round feed capacity along with Bipods. Meant to replace the old Bren LMG.
- KALANTAK 5.56 mm micro assault rifle (under-going user trials), - Kalantak Micro Assault Rifle is a gas operated automatic, air cooled, folding butt Rifle for CQB & Personnel Defence Weapon Role. The weapon uses the same ammunition (5.56x45mm) as used in Rifle/ LMG, thus reducing the logistic problems in having different kinds of ammunition for different role of weapons. It’s design and mechanism is simple and having the capability to accommodate the various modern optical sights like Red Dot Sight, Holographic, MARS etc., available internationally in the market. Due consideration has been given for Reliability, Ergonomics and Aesthetics in designing of the Weapon. The furniture items will be subjected to continual improvement from human engineering point of view.
- Modern Sub Machine Carbine - A submachinegun in the INSAS family, which uses unique 5.56×30mm MINSAS ammunition designed specially for the gun. The magazine is in the pistol grip as in the Uzi. Passed two phases of trials by Army, third and final trial has been conducted in December 2009.
Due to the design issues associated with the INSAS, the Indian Army released a request for proposals (RfP) for a replacement rifle. The original RfP went out to 34 manufacturers. By November 2012, five companies remained, four of which include Sig-Sauer, Ceska, Beretta, and Colt. The replacement contract calls for no less than 60,000 rifles to be supplied. The gun must have at least two different barrel lengths, a max weight of 3.6 kg (7.9 lb), be able to mount an integrated grenade launcher, and have the ability to load and fire locally-produced ammunition.
- Bhutan: Used in small numbers by the Royal Bhutan Army.
- India: Assault rifle and LMG variants were adopted by Indian Armed Forces & Indian Paramilitary Forces.
- Nepal: 23,000 INSAS rifles supplied to the Nepalese Army at a 70% subsidy price.
- Oman: The Royal Army of Oman will start using the INSAS rifles as per a defence agreement signed in 2008 between India and Oman.
See also 
- R. Blake Stevens, The FAL Rifle, Classic Edition, Collector Grade Publications, Canada[page needed]
- Edward Clinton Ezell, Kalashnikov - The Arms and the Man, Collector Grade Publications, Canada[page needed]
- INSAS not performing to optimum level: Army.
- "Indo-Nepal war of words over INSAS rifles". 2005-08-22. Retrieved 2010-03-09.
- Ordnance Factory Board
- Ordnance Factory Board
- Modern Firearms - MSMC
- India Seeks INSAS Assault Rifle Replacement - Armedforces-International.com, November 29, 2012
- Modern Firearms: INSAS
- Hogg, Ian (2002). Jane's Guns Recognition Guide. Jane's Information Group. ISBN 0-00-712760-X.
- Oman army all set to use India’s INSAS rifles - Hindustan Times
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: INSAS rifle|
- INSAS: INdian Small Arms System
- Ordnance Factory Board homepage
- Ordnance Factory Board page on INSAS
- Ordnance Factory Board page on Excalibur
- Ordnance Factory Board page on MINSAS
- Ordnance Factory Board page on Kalantak
- Ordnance Factory Board page on AMOGH
- Modern Firearms