DRDO’s new carbine clears Army’s final trials, ready for use

The newly-developed carbines are not just slated to replace the ageing 9 mm carbine currently in use by the armed forces but would also modernise the armoury of the Central Armed Police Forces, like the CRPF and BSF, and state police forces.

Last week, the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) said that a Carbine, jointly developed by its Pune-based facility and the Ordnance Factory Board (OFB), had completed its final phase of user trials by the Army and was ready for induction.

The Joint Venture Protective Carbine (JVPC) is not just slated to replace the ageing 9 mm carbine currently in use by the armed forces but would also modernise the armoury of the Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs), like the CRPF and BSF, and state police forces.

The primary objective of this weapon system is to injure or incapacitate the target without causing casualty.

The JVPC is primarily a gas-operated automatic 5.56 x 30 mm calibre weapon of a semi-bullpup category because of the positioning of its action and trigger. The carbine — a weapon that has a barrel shorter than rifle — has been designed as per Indian Army’s General Staff Qualitative Requirements (GSQRs). The JVPC is also sometimes referred to as Modern Sub Machine Carbine (MSMC) that can fire at the rate of 700 rounds per minute.

The joint development has been done by Armament Research and Development Establishment (ARDE), a Pune-based facility of the DRDO and Small Arms Factory, Kanpur of the OFB. The weapon is manufactured at the SAF and Ammunition is manufactured at Ammunition Factory, Khadki (AFK) in Pune.

Around the late 1980s, the ARDE undertook a project to design and develop a family of small Arms in 5.56 x 45 mm calibre and which was later termed as INSAS (Indian Small Arms System). This family of weapons included rifle and light machine gun (LMG) along with its ammunition and accessories. INSAS underwent a series of tests including those in a variety of harsh environments and was inducted in 1994.

These weapons, though with some serious issues, are still in use by the armed forces and security agencies in India along with other small arms of foreign and domestic make. The INSAS family also had a carbine in it, but its development did not materialise.

Sometime around 2005-06, the ARDE started working on a Multi-Caliber Individual Weapon System (MCIWS) with an interchangeable barrel to facilitate firing of 5.56×45 mm, 7.62×39 mm and 6.8×43 mm ammunition. However, this project was also subsequently set aside primarily due to lack of demand from the user.

Between early 2010 and 2015-16, a demand started coming from the Armed forces for a carbine, thus prompting the ARDE and OFB to join hands to develop JVPC. Some of the technological features from the previous development efforts were carried forward and since 2016-17, extensive trials of the JVPC commenced. Till now, the weapon system has undergone initial development trials, pre-user internal trials, user trials and trials by Director General of Quality Assurance (DGQA).

The weapon system has been designed keeping in mind the requirements of the Close Quarter Battle or CQB operations and its low recoil action ensures that the weapon is stable during firing, said a DRDO scientist, adding that a modular mechanism makes it easy for maintenance. The effective range of the carbine is more than 100 m and weighs about three kilograms. It can penetrate 3.5 mm mild steel and 23-layer soft armour at 100 metres.

Its key features like high reliability, low recoil, retractable butt, ergonomic design, single-hand firing capability, and multiple Picatinny rails for various attachments make it a very potent weapon for Counter Insurgency and Counter-Terrorism operations and also conventional battles. The weapon has already passed the Ministry of Home Affairs trials in the past and various CAPFs under the MHA and State Police bodies have started the procurement process.

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