Gearing up its soldiers for future warfare, the Indian Army feels there is an "urgent need" to replace the indigenously developed and manufactured INSAS series of rifles.
"There is an urgent need to develop rifles, carbines and light machine guns of 5.56mm calibre to replace the existing INSAS class of weapons," it said in the Defence Ministry's 'Technology Perspective and Capability Roadmap' document.
The INSAS rifles, designed by the DRDO, were inducted into the Armed forces in the 90s and have been used in the Kargil war and counter-insurgency operations also.
In its early days with the Army, the rifles faced reliability problems in the cold climate in places such as Kashmir valley and Siachen glacier.
Due to the cold weather, the rifles would jam occasionally and the polymer magazines would crack.These problems were later corrected by the manufacturers.
To do away with the problems posed by the indigenous rifles, Army wants that "the hall mark of new weapons should be reliability, robustness, night firing capabilities and modular cum inter changeable parts.
In the document, the Army states that the weapons would be of little use unless supported by compatible and indigenously manufactured ammunition.It also wants to develop a 5.56 mm Medium Machine Gun (MMG) to be developed for its troops.
The Army is working on the F-INSAS project, under which it wants troops to be equipped with equipment such as safe and effective grenades, surveillance and night vision devices, personal protection suites and providing net connectivity to soldiers.
These are more than six different rifles of the INSAS series, which were also exported to Nepal and Oman.