The firepower of the Indian army: Top guns

The Indian Army is in the midst of a massive modernization drive that will re-equip over a million troops with advanced personal arms. What are the top guns of the Indian army?

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The Indian army (File photo: IE)

The Indian Army is in the midst of a massive modernization drive that will re-equip over a million troops with advanced personal arms. In parallel, the country’s paramilitary forces, comprising a million soldiers, need a replacement for the Indian Small Arms Systems (INSAS).

The modernization drive requires the upgradation of pistols, carbines, close-quarter battle weapons, assault rifles, sniper rifles, and light, medium and heavy machine guns with matching ammunition.

What are the top guns of the Indian army?

Negev Light Machine Gun (NG-7)

In 2020, India secured a deal worth $118 million contract with Israel Weapon Industries(IWI) for procuring 16,479 Negev NG-7 machine guns. The NG-7 fulfils the long-awaited request for a contemporary, state-of-the-art Light Machine Gun (LMG) for the armed forces.

The NG-7 is a light machine gun with a 5.56x45mm calibre with a 20-inch barrel. The NG-7 uses the larger and more powerful 7.62x51mm NATO cartridge. The total length extended is 1,100mm with a retraction range of 1,030mm. But the top feature is the overall weight in this category which is 7.95 Kg. Interestingly, the NG-7 also tops in terms of the rate of firing which is about 600 to 700 rounds per minute.

The NG-7 has been deployed in conflict zones around the world which speaks a volume about its capabilities. In fact, the Indian army has also equipped its frontier troops with NG-7.

AK-203 Assault Rifle

In 2019, India and Russia signed an intergovernmental agreement for setting up Indo-Russian Rifles Private Limited (IRRPL)– a joint venture to manufacture the AK-203 assault rifles. The project was announced by the prime minister to produce new generation assault rifles for the Indian Armed Forces which will replace the INSAS.  India’s state-owned firms, Advanced Weapons and Equipment India Limited (AWEIL) and Munitions India Limited, collectively hold a 50.5% stake in IRRPL, with Kalashnikov owning a 42% share, and Rosoboronexport owning the remaining 7.5%.

The delivery of the rifle is delayed as the production is yet to take off under the joint-venture, IRRPL. However, in a press conference, the Army Chief clarified the production timeline of the AK-203 assault rifle, saying the army will receive the 70,000 rifles within 32 months. The Army will get the first batch of 5000 AK-203 by March 2023.

Also, the indigenous content in these will be in the range of 5 -17 per cent while the rest will have 100 per cent indigenous sub-parts.

Technically, it is a member of the AK-200 series of assault rifles. The AK-203 is a modernized version of the previous AK-103 with improved ergonomics. It incorporates a new pistol grip and buttstock but AK 203 has a lot of similarities with the previous AK series rifles — AK-74M and AK-103. The top feature includes a Picatinny-type scope rail on top of the dust cover and over the foregrip and it can mount various kinds of optics. The effective range of fire is around 300-400 meters with a significant penetration effect as the AK-203 is meant for 7.62×39 mm ammunition. What makes AK 203 a full package in this category is its ability to mount various accessories, including a 40 mm under-barrel grenade launcher.

Sako TRG (42)

Besides AK 203, the rifle that the Indian Army is now inducting is the Sako TRG -42 from Finland. In fact, the Sako TRG is a favourite among Special Forces worldwide. The Indian army has equipped its soldiers with sniper rifles along the Line of Control under the Northern command.

The Sako TRG-42 is all about design.  The impeccable design of Sako TRG includes the simplicity of its structural components of modern firearms. At the same time, the Sako TRG also is known for its ability to disassemble into smaller components.

The Sako rifles have replaced the .338 Lapua Magnum Scorpio TGT by Beretta, and the .50 Calibre M95 by Barrett.

In terms of firepower, it is considered one of the most accurate and trustworthy weapons with an effective range of 1,500 metres. The rifle is designed to fire powerful .338 Lapua Magnum-sized cartridges. and weighs 6.55 kgs without ammunition. The Sako TRG-42 sniper possesses telescopic sights for precision firepower.

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First published on: 27-02-2023 at 16:35 IST
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