Excalibur is an indigenous assault rifle developed by ARDE and is a modified or upgraded version of INSAS_rifle which is standard rifle of the Indian_Army . The rifle was designed to replace Insas which the army declared not fit for counter insurgency operations due to less stopping power and due to some reliability problems.
|INSAS LMG VARIANT|
Issues with original INSAS
Many has criticized INSAS saying that it had reliability issues as during Kargil war this rifle faced many isses including jamming, switching modes automatically , becoming a fully automatic rifle ( which it should not as it is designed to shoot single bullet or 3 bullet burts only) and cracking of plastic magazines.
|INSAS 2B VARIANT|
ARMY issues tenders for modern assault guns but they did not work out because of unrealistic demands of the army.
EXCALIBUR - Same as INSAS ,Excalibur too uses 5.56 x 45 mm NATO rounds . Although it has better quality and shorter size . It was supposed to replace INSAS and be the next standard issue rifle of the INDIAN ARMY.
Although another variant of Excalibur the AR-2 variant is being developed for army which will use more lethal 7.62x39 mm which are fired by AK 47.
The Army tested the Excalibur in 2014-15. The trials were a success as the rifle passed a majority of tests which included many tests which many foreign rifles were not able to pass.
Some of the trials included:
- Firing the rifle after submerging it in water and mud for about half an hour.
- User reliability trails.
- Checking the number of stoppages after firing 24,000 rounds. The Excalibur had only 2 stoppages which was near the expectations of the Army who expected only one stoppage.
How Excalibur is better than INSAS
- Excalibur barrel is shorter than Insas making it easier to carry and more suitable for CQB . Also it weighs lesser than insas .
- Excalibur has 3 modes ( single round , 3 burst and full auto) instead of 2 modes in Insas ( single and 3 burts ).
- Excalibur has an universal mount that allows for a range of weapon sights and sensors.
- More reliable
But on 3 July 2016, the Indian media reported that, Indian Army has rejected Excalibur rifle for it's standard issue assault rifle as it did not match the requirements standard of the army and army wanted a more lethal weapon as number of counter insurgency operations are increasing and Excalibur was not lethal enough for such operations.
Even now Excalibur is waiting for its final certification trials to be conducted by army.
WHY NOT EXCALIBUR ?
The question which comes to mind is if Excalibur is so good that i cleared all trials easily which even foreign rifles were not able to then why is army not giving this rifle a chance ? Yeah army wants a more lethal round gun but most countries today use the 5.56 mm rounds ( even USA which is fighting in other nations too against terrorists) , also AR 2 version will utilize this more lethal round so why is army hesitating and delaying its trials?
In my opinion it's because of Army's love for foreign weapons.Some high rank officials find defence deals is a good way to earn money .Foreign companies in past too have payed millions just to get their weapons selected . If we start using indigenous weapons millions and billions of dollars will be saved in foreign exchange and this is will not make us self sufficient and self sustained but we can only make export of weapons a way to earn money.
FUTURE OF EXCALIBUR
Excalibur is currently waiting for final certification trials to be done by Army .Even though army has junked this project but this doesn't mean it cannot be utilized .If Excalibur passes the certifications trials than it can replace the current INSAS gun and be the standard issue of Indian army till they find a so called suitable rifle ( defence procurement take years ). Also several Insas are being phased our of forces and need replacement and for the time being Excalibur can serve as a replacement as it is better than old INSAS .
Also maybe when the certification of AR2 variant is complete than Excalibur will be able to be the more lethal weapon which army desires and maybe the future standard issue rifle of armed forces.