PUNE: City-based Armament Research and Development Establishment (ARDE) laboratory of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has designed a multi-calibre individual weapon system. This system would equip an Indian soldier to engage the enemy from three different ranges using a single weapon.
ARDE scientists are now in the process of preparing three prototypes of this weapon system and will be ready for user trials by August this year, ARDE sources said. The weapon will reduce the need for a soldier to carry different types of assault weapons.
In modern warfare, a soldier may have to engage the enemy from various ranges. There are three primary calibre assault rifles used. This includes the 5.56 mm AK-47 rifles, 7.62 mm Self Loading Rifle and 6.8 mm sub-machine gun having firing ranges up to 400 metres, 300 metres and 200-300 metres respectively.
"They all are used to engage the enemy from different ranges, depending upon the situation. Instead of using three different rifles, we are trying to give the soldier one common weapon system, which would be a modular assault rifle with changeable multiple calibre barrels. It will also have a grenade launcher," Director of Public Interface, DRDO New Delhi, Ravi Kumar Gupta told Sakal Times.
"If the soldier perceives that his enemy has a high calibre gun he can engage him from a longer distance, by replacing his rifle barrels. But if the situation demands close quarters combat, then the soldier has the option to choose a smaller barrel," Gupta said.
Gupta said that the weapon system is under development at ARDE, Pune. After the design is complete, the technology demonstration will be held for the user (Army), before field trials.
According to Lt Gen (retd) D B Shekatkar, this weapon system when ready, will give Indian soldiers an edge in combat and also help in cutting costs.