INSAS 1C assault rifle to partially replace predecessor in Indian army

A few days ago, the information was wideley spread, according which the Indian army was seeking to replace all their 5.56mm INSAS assault rifle with a new rifle firing 7.62mm rounds. It is not exact. Only the bulk of the army is concerned.

INSAS 1C assault rifle to partially replace predecessor 2
INSAS 1C showcased at DefExpo India 2018 (Picture source: Army Recognition)

INSAS (an abbreviation of Indian New Small Arms System) is long known as a family of infantry weapons consisting of an assault rifle and a light machine gun (LMG). Both weapons are manufactured by the Ordnance Factories Board at Ordnance Factory Tiruchirappalli, Small Arms Factory Kanpur and Ishapore Arsenal. The INSAS assault rifle is still the standard infantry weapon of the Indian armed forces.

During the 1999 Kargil war, the rifles were used in the high altitudes of the Himalayas. There were complaints of jamming, the magazine cracking due to the cold and the rifle going into automatic mode when it was set for three-round bursts. There was also a problem of oil being sprayed into the eye of the operator. In 2001, the 1B1 variant was introduced to solve problems regarding the rifle's reliability back in the Kargil War, but it opened up other problems such as broken magazines

In April 2015, the Indian government replaced some INSAS rifles of the CRPF (Central Reserve Police Force) with AK-47s. In early 2017, it was announced that INSAS rifles were to be retired and replaced by rifles capable of firing 7,62x51mm NATO cartridges. In fact “only” a significant part of the army should receive new rifles in 7.62mm, while many units will receive an improved version of the INSAS for non-first line duties: the 1C, still in 5.56mm, a representative of the Rifle Factory Ishapore told Army Recognition at DefExpo India 2018.

The request from the army concerned namely the composition of some currently metallic parts of the rifle (other alloys and polymere are becoming more and more recommended), a modification that has been made to result in the INSAS 1C that keeps firing 5.56x45mm cartridges. The INSAS 1C weighs 3.5 kg, has a rate of fire of 600 to 650 rounds per minute in full auto, the three-round bursts having been deleted. The useful range is set at 450 metres.