NEW DELHI, Jan 9: An indigenously developed rifle keeping in mind the operational requirements of military, paramilitary and police forces in the country was unveiled on Tuesday by the Defence Research Development Organisation (DRDO).
The rifle ‘Ugram’ (meaning ferocious) has been developed jointly by the Armament Research and Development Establishment (ARDE), a unit of DRDO, and Hyderabad-based private firm Dvipa Armour India Private Limited in less than 100 days.
The rifle will deploy rounds of 7.62 mm calibre, making it more ferocious than rifles that use 5.62 mm calibre rounds like the INSAS rifle which is popularly used by the armed forces in India including paramilitary forces.
The ‘Ugram’ rifle will have an effective range of 500 metres or approximately five football fields and weighs four kg. It has been developed as per the General Staff Qualitative Requirements (GSQR) of the army.
GQSR is one of the initial processes in capital procurement. It outlines why the equipment is required, its physical and operational details, as well as the maintainability and quality requirements. The rifle has 20 rounds and fires in both automatic and single mode.
“This was a mission-mode project taken up two years ago. After the ARDE designed the rifle, we started looking for a private industry partner for development and manufacturing,” ARDE Director Ankathi Raju said.
“We have followed the concept of Development cum Production Partner, DcPP for the speedy progress of the project. Under this, the vendor is associated with us during the design and production too. After the product is made by the vendor, it will undergo acceptance trials. We placed the order for the assault rifle to the Hyderabad-based Dvipa Armour. The rifle will soon go for trials to test its operational capability in conditions like harsh winter, extreme heat and underwater,” the ARDE director said.
“While the process of design and design-related analysis started two years ago, the development in collaboration with the private vendor was completed in 100 days,” Mr Raju said.
The Defence Acquisition Council in December approved the procurement of an additional 70,000 SIG Sauer’s SIG716 rifle. The first batch of 72,400 SIG716 rifles worth USD90 million were acquired in 2020 using the Fast Track Procurement procedure. Fast Track Procurement aims to replace the ageing INSAS rifle that is still in service having made its battle debut during the Kargil conflict in 1999.
India has partnered with Russia to develop the AK-203 rifle and deploys the 7.62 mm calibre rounds. Indo-Russian Rifles Private Limited (IRRPL) is a joint venture company established for indigenous production of AK-203 Rifles. They are currently in the manufacturing and testing stage at an Indo-Russian joint venture at Korwa in Uttar Pradesh. The AK-203 has an effective range of 300 metres.
“The AK-203 project has not taken off because of the Russia-Ukraine war and PLR is supplying weapons to the Israel Weapon Industries because of the Israel-Hamas conflict. So this window of opportunity has come up. Three months ago, in October 2023, we received the order. And we have successfully given five prototypes. We believe this is the fastest development of a weapon anywhere in the world,” G Ram Chaitanya Reddy, Director of the Dvipa Armour India, said.