In another boost to the Indian Army, its AK 47 rifles are set to get technical upgrades, reports The Tribune. According to the report a process has been initiated for acquiring “weapon specialty kits” that includes items like tactical flashlight, fiber reinforced pistol grip, swing swivel attachment, polymer rails, rubberized pistol forefront grip, cheek rest, pointing grip, extendable butt stock and side mount that can be attached to the rifle in the field as and when required.
A request for information (RFI) floated by the Indian Army this week states, “Due to change in scenario and change in tactics being adopted by terrorists, there is a need to modify the AK-47 with arrangements to mount night sight, holographic sight, flash light and laser beam for early engagement of targets and to increase operational efficiency of troops.”
These weapon specialty kits will include parts which can be used to replace the existing parts of Rifle AK-47, thereby “enhancing the utility of the weapon and at the same time make the firer comfortable and increase the chances of align engagement” the RFI adds. These new components will not require any tolls to be installed on the rifle and the installation can be undertaken in operational conditions without assistance from a workshop or a skilled technician.
This procurement of “weapon specialty kits” is sure to ease out some operational issues that the Indian Army is facing due to its ageing arms inventory. These upgrades to the AK-47 rifles will give the army a major boost in counter-terrorist operations in sensitive regions like Kashmir. Currently, the Indian Army is also equipped with the INSAS rifles. The 5.56 caliber Indian Small Arms System (INSAS) was progressively introduced into service and was effective since 1999. However, the rifle suffers some design flaws and poor quality control during mass production. Despite the best efforts of DRDO, it has not been able to match the expectations. Even though the DRDO introduced upgraded versions of the INSAS- INSAS 1C and Ghatak, the same cannot make much difference because the central design is based on the previous generation technology.
Earlier in February a fast track procurement case was approved by the Defence Acquisition Council on January 16, 2019, which gave a green signal to the procurement of 72,400 Swiss SIG-716 assault rifles. Reportedly India and Russia are also set to enter into an agreement that will pave the way for the production of 650,000 Kalashnikov AK-103 assault rifles in India for Army’s infantry units. Apart from fulfilling the needs of the infantry units in India, this is going to be a major push in the direction of ‘Make in India’ initiative. The plan is to produce AK-103 rifles that will progressively replace the INSAS and AK-47 rifles, currently used by the armed forces.