Firearm Infobox
Name, Image, type, origin
Name Insas
Image 300px
Insas Assault Rifle (Fixed butt)
Type Assault rifle
Place of origin Flag of India India
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Service history
In service 1997—
Used by India, Nepal
Wars Kargil War
Nepalese Civil War
Production history
Designer ARDE
Manufacturer Indian State Ordnance Factory Board, Ishapore
Variants See Variants
Weight 4.25 kg (9.4 lb) empty </br> 4.6 kg (10.1 lb) loaded
Length 960 mm (37.8 in),
750 mm (29.5 in) w/stock folded
Width {{{width}}}
Height {{{height}}}
Barrel length 464 mm (18.3 in)
Diameter {{{diameter}}}
Crew {{{crew}}}
Cartridge 5.56x45mm NATO, 5.56x30mm
Caliber {{{caliber}}}
Action Gas-operated, Rotating bolt
Muzzle velocity 900 m/s (2,953
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Effective range 400 m
Maximum range {{{max_range}}}
Other identifying characteristics
Wood parts (Y/N) {{{wood}}}
Common color {{{color}}}
Imprint {{{imprint}}}

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.

History Edit

Since the late 1950s, the Indian armed forces had been equipped with an unlicensed reverse-engineered copy of the famous Belgian FN FAL rifle. This copy is considered to be a distinct weapon (although certainly not an original design) since its parts cannot be interchanged with either the metric or inch-pattern versions of the FAL[1]. As the 7.62 mm self-loading rifles started to become obsolete by the 1980s, India began to develop the INSAS, incorporating features from several popular rifle designs. Although largely based on the ever-popular AK-47, the INSAS has a number of differences making it a unique weapon. It has features borrowed from the FN FNC, the AK-74, the IMI Galil and the G3.

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[2]. 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 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.

Design Edit

The INSAS rifle is broadly based on the famous Kalashnikov AK-47 action, but with many modifications. The basic gas-operated action with long stroke gas piston and a rotating bolt, as well as the stamped steel receiver, are generally the same as in modern Kalashnikov rifles. However, the gas system is fitted with a manual gas regulator, similar in design to that found on FN FAL rifles, as well as a gas cutoff. The charging handle has been moved from the bolt carrier to the left side of the forearm; it is similar in position and design to German HK G3 rifle.

The selector/safety switch is located at the left side of the receiver, above the pistol grip, and allows for 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 can be made from wood or polymer. 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. INSAS rifles can be fitted with AKM-style multipurpose knife-bayonets.

In the assault rifle version, it 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 fire 20 and 30-round magazines. It is also fitted with a Picatinny rail for mounting of opto-electronic devices. The INSAS Excalibur variant, to be used by the Special forces, has Semi-automatic and full automatic fire modes.

Under-barrel grenade launchers and bayonets have been developed for the INSAS Rifle, which are also compatible with the AK-47s used by paramilitary forces.

Export Edit

Insas rifles have been exported to the neighboring kingdom of Nepal. Although other parties have shown some interest, till now, none have yet come forward to purchase. 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. Some sources claim that around 100,000 weapons were exported to Nepal as part of this agreement.

Problems Edit

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[3]. There were also cases wherein the rifle would fire in full auto, while in three-round burst fire mode[3]. According to the manufacturers, these problems have now been fixed.

After King Gyanendra seized power, and the relations between India and Nepal cooled, with India refusing Military aid, there were reports that the rifle malfunctioned in a gunbattle with the Maoists, leading to the loss of men. However, this was refuted by the Indian Embassy, and trials conducted later before the RNA showed that the rifle was satisfactory, and that the malfunction had been due to poor handling and cleaning of the rifle by the soldiers.

Specifications (LMG) Edit

  • Cartridge: 5.56x45mm NATO Special
  • Operation: as for AR (no 3-round burst)
  • Locking: Rotating bolt
  • Feed: 30-round plastic box magazine
  • Weight: fixed butt, empty, 6.23kg, loaded 6.73kg; folding butt, empty, 5.87kg, loaded 6.37kg
  • Length: fixed butt, 1.05m; butt folded, 890 mm; butt extended, 1.025m
  • Barrel: standard, 535 mm; short, 500 mm
  • Rifling: 4 grooves, rh, 1 turn in 200 mm
  • Sights: fore, blade; rear, flip aperture, 200 and 1000 m
  • Sight radius: 475 mm
  • Muzzle velocity: 925m/s (std barrel), 915m/s (short barrel)
  • Muzzle energy: 1780J (std barrel), 1740J (short barrel)
  • Recoil energy: 2.75J (std barrel), 2.85J (short barrel)
  • Rate of fire: as for AR
  • Max effective range: 700m (std barrel), 600m (short barrel)
  • Manufacturer: Small Arms Factory, Kalpi Road, Kanpur.

Variants Edit

  • INSAS assault rifle 5.56 mm(Foldable and Fixed Butt variants)
  • Excalibur 5.56 mm carbine (Select fire between automatic and semi-automatic modes)
  • MINSAS 5.56 mm personal carbine
  • LMG 5.56 mm INSAS (Foldable and Fixed Butt variants)

Notes Edit

  1. R. Blake Stevens, The FAL Rifle, Classic Edition, Collector Grade Publications, Canada
  2. Edward Clinton Ezell, Kalashnikov - The Arms and the Man, Collector Grade Publications, Canada
  3. 3.0 3.1 INSAS not performing to optimum level: Army.

External links Edit

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