F-INSAS is India's program to equip its infantry with state-of-the-art equipment, F-INSAS standing for Future Infantry Soldier As a System. However the Indian Army has decided to drop the F-INSAS program in favour of two separate projects. The new program will have two components: one to arm the future infantry soldier with the best available assault rifle, carbines and personal equipment, such as helmets and bulletproof vests. The second component is the Battlefield Management Systems (BMS).
The F-INSAS program
F-INSAS has been taken up to equip Indian infantry with advanced weaponry, communication network and instant access to information on the battlefield. This program is similar to the future soldier programs of other nations. F-INSAS includes a fully networked all-terrain, all-weather personal-equipment platform, enhanced firepower and mobility for the digitalised battlefield of the future. The weight carried by soldiers will need to be reduced by at least 50%.
The fully integrated Infantry of tomorrow will be equipped with mission-oriented equipment integrated with his buddy soldier team, the sub-unit, as also the overall C4ISTAR represents C4 (command, control, communications, computers) and ISTAR (intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition, and reconnaissance) system.
The Indian Army intends to modernise its entire 465 infantry and paramilitary battalions by 2020 with this program.
Helmet and visor
The level IV bullet-proof helmet capable of stopping a 9mm round at close range,Facial protection, Ballistic and Laser eye protection and flame-resistant Eye & face protection. contains a mounted flash light, Thermal sensors, an advanced night vision capability devices, a digital compass, shoulder video cameras, a computer, nuclear, biological and chemical sensors, and an audio headset. The visor is intended to be integrated and to act as a heads-up display monitor equivalent to two 17-inch computer monitors.
The personal clothing of this soldier of the future would be lightweight with a level IV bullet-proof jacket. The jacket would be non-flammable, waterproofed yet breathable (Flexible ballistic protection, Hard ballistic protection, Electronic jacket,Load-bearing structure).The new attire will enable him to carry extra loads and resist the impact of nuclear, radiological, chemical and biological (NRCB)warfare. The uniform will also carry solar elements for charging a palmtop computers and other attached electronic equipment. It will contain external an oxygen supply and respirator to provide protection against gas and smoke and will include fire-proof knee and elbow pads and hand gloves and ballistic & laser eye protection goggles. A bullet-proof, armored waistcoat including flexible ballistic, hard ballistic, ceramic armor plates covering the front, back and groin and an armored, electronic jacket with a load-bearing system will also be included. The electronic jacket integrates the electronics (such as a computer unit, energy manager unit, peripheral equipment interfaces, user interfaces, a radio, a man-machine interface, a Global Positioning System (GPS), cables, connector, camouflaging system, wearable environmental control and a micro-climate heating & cooling system). A flexible water bottle, magazines, grenades and other equipment holders and pockets optimizes weight distribution on the soldier. The new uniform will have vests with sensors to monitor the soldier's health parameters and provide quick medical relief. He might also wear flame-resistant, moisture-defeating undergarments; flame-resistant hand, face, and foot protection and a pair of non-skid shoes with mine & explosive detection sensors would complete the ensemble. system includes inbuilt water purifier system so they have purified drinking water
The weapons sub-system is built around a multi-calibre individual weapon system with the fourth calibre attached to a grenade launcher. These include a 5.56 mm, a 7.62 mm and a new 6.8 mm under development for the first time in India. The UBGL (Under Barrel Grenade Launcher) will be capable of firing air bursting grenades. The sub-system includes a thermal weapon sight and laser range finder to provide the soldier with range and direction information. The GPS location information will allow the soldier to call for indirect fire accurately. There are two types of next generation infantry rifle under development in cooperation with Israel. In this context, news sources report that the Indian MoD has recently issued a global tender for the acquisition of a new assault rifle and a Close Quarter Battle (CQB) carbine. In DEFXPO 2014 a prototype of the ARDE-DRDO MCIWS (Multi Caliber Individual Weapon System) was showcased.It is lighter than the existing INSAS rifles in the Indian Armed Forces, weighing only 3 kg. It features an UBGL (Under Barrel Grenade Launcher) as well as thermal sights or plain holographic sights & Red dot sights.Laser target it has multiple pica tinny rails to facilitate various add-on equipments needed for various missions and thus improving versatility. And many other terrain, operation & mission based weapons as per requirement.
The soldier will be equipped with a USB 2.0. digital data bus, Palmtop GPS navigation device, secured advance audio communication set, advance electronic warfare data manager, secured network connection where each radio can subscribe to two networks simultaneously. This offers the squad leader some flexibility in organizing communication networks in his section. Each network has an audio conference channel, with priority given to the squad leader, an alert channel from the infantryman to his leader, and a data transmission channel. Voice and data transmissions are based on tried and tested civilian technology (domestic cordless telephone technology). Each sub-network works from a base carried by the squad leader. As RIF sets are all identical, a soldier can replace his commander if necessary by configuring his set as base. The radio is configured by the computer, thereby limiting the number of control buttons needed on the set. The soldier might be able to communicate with other soldiers and locate or generate maps to find his location, and he will be aware of the situation on the battlefield. The palmtop will inform soldiers where other friendly forces are in relation to them. It will also enable them to transfer messages. Terrain equipment for various specific missions will also be carried.
Integrated Multifunction Sight Device Night Vision Equipment,Thermal Imager, a Laser Range-Finder, Colour Charge-Coupled-Device (CCD) Camera, Global Positioning System (GPS) and a Digital Magnetic Compass, Compact Laser-Based Instruments, Integrated Electro-Optical Surveillance and Fire Control Systems, Advanced GPS receivers, Infrared sensors,Thermal sensors, Electro optical sensors, Spectroscopic sensors, Electromagnetic and Radio frequency sensors and many other sensors, radars and jammers would also be carried.
Procurements for program
Procurement requests for the 'open calibre' carbine valued at around ₹44 billion (US$656.9 million) have been initiated with global manufacturers. The procurement covers night-vision devices, laser designators and detachable under-barrel grenade launchers.
Indigenisation of program
With the intent to retain its strategic autonomy, self-reliance and indigenisation of the program is being emphasised. Most of the equipment is being locally developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and the Ordnance Factories Board as the prime developer and the system integrator respectively.
- Design and development of a multi-calibre individual weapon system.
- Design and development of an air bursting grenade for individual weapons.
In January 2015, it was reported that Indian army has terminated the F-INSAS program. Indian Army has decided to break up the Future Soldier Program into two parts. The new program will have two components: one arming the modern infantry soldier with the best available assault rifle, carbines and personal equipment such as the helmet and bulletproof vests and the second component is the Battlefield Management Systems (BMS).The assault weapon field trials were already going on: there are four kinds, Beretta ARX-160 (Italy), Colt CM-901 (USA), CZ-805 Bren (Czech) and Galil ACE (Israel). The Tavor -21 was never actaually part of the assault rifle trials as reported because the Indian Army felt that they should induct a standard rifle design and not a bullpup rifle. However it has already been chosen for Indian Special Forces. In June 2015, the Army have sent a letter to the suppliers that the carbine contract has been retracted Vice Chief of Army staff, Lt General Philip Campose, has said "There is no F-INSAS program any more".
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