Army's RFI for 7.62x51 mm Standard Issue Rifle

In my last post "NEW STANDARD ISSUE RIFLE FOR ARMY - THE ENTIRE STORY" (link to post) I discussed how for years army has been trying to induct a new standard issue rifle but has failed due to their inability to stick with the desired requirements they quote, to be true army till now had so much expectations from a standard issue rifle that no single weapon in world could fulfill all their requirements. Also till now army was unable to decide the caliber which it required, at times they wanted one which uses 5.56 mm and then they wanted a gun which can fire a 7.62 mm round & they even tried to induct multi-caliber guns which can fire various caliber rounds by just changing the barrel and upper receiver & wanted the ability to do the change in a few minutes but no weapon was able to fulfill such requirements or pass the stringent tests which IA threw at them as part of trials.

DRDO offered army many options and developed many rifles for army considering the quoted requirements of army. One of the developed gun being "Excalibur" (link) which was provided by DRDO but army was reluctant in testing the weapon till 2014 and when it did, it passed the trials but then army said it was not good enough because it was not lethal enough (5.56 x 45mm) and labelled it not suitable for anti-terror operations as it did not kill terrorist and instead just maimed them. Though army has accepted Excalibur as an interim rifle for the time being but it still is pushing for a different assault rifle and will use Excalibur only till the selection of a new rifle is not completed.

Since army declared that it wanted bigger caliber than the 5.56 it was being thought that the army will issue a request for  a 7.62 x 39 mm or at max a 7.62x 45 mm rifle and so DRDO had even began working on a 7.62x45 mm version of  the gun.

Now army says it has fixed its requirements once and for all and have issued an RFP/RFI  for a 7.62x51 cal assault rifle which is bit odd because not many armies use this as the caliber for  standard assault rifles and most of them too don't use them alone ( i.e they use a combination of  rifles), currently in this zone Pakistan is  the only country which uses 7.62x51 mm H&K G3 rifles.



The firms will respond to RFI within next few months (before mid 2017) and then trials of the provided weapon will be done by Army.


In my opinion this RFP/RPI for a 7.62x51 mm assault rifle is useless and would  give no results like the tender of 2011. 

I personally also believe that stating 5.56x45 caliber rifle as non lethal or less lethal is not right as the same caliber ammunition are used by armed forces around the globe, also our special forces and CT forces actively use IWI TAVORS (and their variants) which use 5.56 mm rounds and the soldiers prefer tavors over AK's because they are more controllable and easy to carry. 

Even if the armed forces require a more lethal round like 7.62 why not a more practical 7.62x39 mm as used in AK or  at max a 7.62x45 mm round? 7.62x51 mm round in modern warfare is often considered a sniper round and not an assault rifle round. 

5.56x45 VS 7.62x51 mm round

Another reason why I don't like this move is because the RFP/RFI will be followed by trials and selection and then negotiation and setup of manufacturing line in India (part of RFP/RFI) which will surely take some 4-6  years at fastest rate and this is not a solution as armed forces require the rifles ASAP. Instead of doing all this it would  be better if Army works in close proximity with DRDO ARDE etc and develop a gun together as per their needs (army needs to stick to its requirements and DRDO needs to ensure that they are able to guide OFB in quality maintenance). 

DRDO has developed lot of guns by now for eg insas, excalibur, kalantak, msmc, ghatak and more and unlike 1980's it has experience and facilities required to make a world class weapon which can fulfill the requirements of our armed forces easily, its just that Army and DRDO need to work closely and give feedback so that their requirements can be met. 

Also this 7.62x51 mm thing is  not very practical as army's quoted qualities cannot be met by any weapon (even this time) as they want a big weapon which is reliable, lighter, tough and very controllable and this simply is not possible as if such a big round will be fired it will surely have a larger recoil force. Also the weight of such weapon tends to be automatically higher.

Army seriously needs to test various weapons on ground before quoting any requirement because in theory bigger round will surely be more lethal but in real life even a 9 mm or .22 is lethal depending on where it hits (in no way saying that 9 mm is useful for army)


  1. Get rid of both 5.56 and .308 NATO, these are totally outdated.
    .243WSSM (Winchester Super Short Magnum)can be adapted on any 5.56 platform and performs better than both calibers!
    If used in a bullpup like Tavor/X95, one can fit a 64-65cm barrel and keep a compact riffle of only 90-92cm.
    The only little drawback : brasses have bigger diameter but there are extended STANAG magazines, so a 45 magazine will have about 30 rounds, a 60 'casket' mag will contain about 40rd, a 100 mag will have about 66-67 in. If I'm not wrong there are also STANAG drum mags.
    Why interesting? with a 64-65cm barrel, you shoot a coyote @1km. Recoil is between 5.56 and .308, in other terms, very near an AK-47 so can be controlled in bursts, if the muzzle energy is 600J under .308, it's near doubling if compared to 5.56 and as bullets are faster than both, energy is better kept so soon, will be over .308 during the flight.
    Trajectory is flatter than .308.
    Due to range, better have a combined red-dot and 1km+ sniper optics.
    Nevertheless, considering .243WSSM allows a unified caliber as a single light carbine will do :
    - Assault riffle
    - 1km sniper riffle
    - Light machine gun (i.e. MiniMi, SAW)
    - Medium machine gun (i.e. Rambo's M-60)

    Note that 6mm calibers are the preferred ones for 1km competition. 5.56 was created as a 300m varmint round (coyotes). .243WSSM wascreated to hunt deer at 400-500m using a light AR-15 carbine, it's very near competition 6mm Benchmark, brasses are made from .300 Winchester Magnum as parent case.
    With 5.56, if you haven a position 2rd burst, you may have to train as it's rare that a single 5.56 takes an opponent out or... You have to break Hague convention at using hollow points... Now, it all depends : if you face a regular army, it's illegal. If you face terrorists, being irregular combatants, it's a police operation... Thus in case of collateral damages, hum hum, especially with .243WSSM : a hollow point will take a 300kg wapiti down @400-500m

    Now, for sure, the standard NATO calibers are cheaper than dirt but .243 with a 64-65cm barrel bullpup simply outguns both the calibres and instead having a marksman, a LMG and others with assault riffles in a section, everybody has all and it'd be both light and compact. It increases survivability. Another thing that can help to come back is the deported sight, cf. FAMAS FELIN

    1. Exactly it's not just about larger caliber but as u mentioned and in my opinion 7.62x51 which I would rather prefer as Sniper round is not fit for assault rifles.

      Also I believe ofb ammunition manufacturing needs a big overhaul as ammunition supplied by ofb sucks.

      Thankfully private firms are being contacted for manufacturing ammunition and in half decade we might not just stop importing bullets but also export quality ammunition to others

    2. For sniping, I'd go for something like Vigilance Rifles VR1 in .408 CheyTac or at least a semi-auto .338Lapua.

      .243WSSM is perfect fit as conceived to be used from re-chambered 5.56NATO carbines (or assault rifles if you prefer) but takes profit from serious advances in ballistics. It ends being more accurate with longer range than .308 and rapidly equals then stays over its energy during the flight while muzzle energy is under.
      I'm absolutely for the bullpup 'coz a Tavor or X95 would be no longer than 90-92cm with a 64-65cm barrel.
      You don't seem to get that in such a config, a single light carbine does the assault rifle AND the sniper AND the medium machine-gun, Rambo-style in a single weapon! It may even end with i.e. mounting micro-gun Gatling instead of habitual .308W machine-gun, ending with more range and accuracy.

      You must note that just before the fall of USSR, Soviets had decided to scrap 7.62x54, 7.62x39 and 5.45x39 for an unified 6mm-range caliber mostly on par with .243WSSM!!!!
      Initially, ballistic expert in UK, Britain and Canada were TOTALLY against adopting .308W in 1952! they wanted a .280 also intermediate between .308W and the later created .223R/5.56NATO.
      .243WSSM benefits from even more advances in shape of bullets, knowledge on how powder burns, etc.

      It's sad MoD doesn't know about the FELIN system on FAMAS. Having a deported sight in the helmet with termography (incl. through fog/smoke!), zoom, etc, allows soldiers to stay in cover while shooting. And it's always harder to spot a rifle with camo than a full sized soldier.

      I'm not sure it's wishable India beginning to massively export small arms' ammos : there are already much too many around, more than what needed to kill any human on Earth ;) You should watch "Lord of War" with Nicholas Cage, the ammo journey at the beginning is mindblowing. Thus, I'm as much against any country exporting ammos for military small arms ;-)

  2. Beside 7.62mm x 45 mm Excalibur, is army interested in any other Indian rifle?

  3. Even Excalibur is not 7.62x45, ITS 5.56X45 but they r making a 7.62x39 mm version which uses AK AMMUNITION. But army changes required again.

    1. Here is the source:
      It says army is conducting trials of 7.62mm x 45 mm Excalibur though that dated in march, i want to know if there are any other Indian rifle in line or we are going to import like recently did from Israel.

    2. It's odd coz till last year Nov the work was being done on Excalibur 7.62x39 ( same as AK) gun but I guess after the December turn of events they decided to make yet another 7.62x45 mm variant.

      But still it won't be if any use as army wants 7.62x51 mm rifle. Also at current there is no rifle made in India which is 7.62x51 mm esp because Indian army never demanded a gun of that caliber, they always said 5.56x39,5.56x45 or 7.62x39 mm guns. And when they did not ask ARDE and DRDO did not develop any of those.

    3. What amazes me is DRDO and ARDE's speed with which they r addressing the changes and working towards development of rifle, I guess they r tired of army blaming them again and again.

    4. Ok thanks your article was very informative

    5. "What amazes me is DRDO and ARDE's speed with which they r addressing the changes and working towards development of rifle, I guess they r tired of army blaming them again and again."
      >>>> I bet they simply conceived a modular platform, then it's very easy to change calibers. Even AKs are made this way nowadays, so they can sell AKs to countries which have NATO calibers for decades, sell semi-auto versions for civilian market anywhere, etc.
      Moreover, you have alternate calibers for SOFs i.e 9x39AP for spetsnaz, DEVGRU etc have things ike .300Blackout/whisper, 6.8APC etc etc... Now you even find assault rifles in .50 Beowulf for AR-15 platform while Russians created a 12.7х55, these being especially made for CQB as definitive "manstoppers"
      Well, actually, even Superman would have a hard time to cope with such a caliber and if Russians begin to sell kryptonite bullets, he's doomed ;-)


  4. Terrific post however , I was wondering if you could write a litte more on this topic? I'd be very thankful if you could elaborate a little bit further. Many thanks! capital one login

    1. Sure mate, I will soon post a more detailed post about this


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