India to develop new carbine

The Indian state run Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO) and state owned Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) have developed a new carbine for the Army which The Times of India reports will soon be adopted by the India Army. The Milap carbine, as it currently called, is expected to cost Rs 50,000 ($1,110).

The weapon was supposed to be developed in association with Singapore Technologies Kinetics, makers of the SAR-21 assault rifle, but STK was blacklisted by the Indian government after a corruption scandal.

Singapore Technologies Kinetics SAR-21 Assault Rifle

The Milap will be part of the Army’s Futuristic Infantry Soldier As a System (F-INSAS) upgrade. According to Soldier Systems, the weapon willk be modular and be able to use 5.56mm, 7.62mm and purportedly 6.8mm ammunition.

Steve Johnson

Founder and Dictator-In-Chief of TFB. A passionate gun owner, a shooting enthusiast and totally tacti-uncool. Favorite first date location: any gun range. Steve can be contacted here.


  • subase

    I wonder if India’s gonna try their hand at a bullpup.

  • Dearest gentlemen, I have to state… STK blacklisted for corruption by the Indian government my a**.

    Sorry to use this kind of language, but it’s a well-known fact in the gunwriters and defense analysts sector, as well as within the industry, that the Indian government has an almost unique way to supply the DRDO (Indian Defense Research & Development Organization) and IOF (Indian Ordnance Factories, also known as OFB) with new technologies.

    Basically, this is how it works.

    When the Indian Armed Forces issue a solicitation for any kind of new product, the company that wins the contract, or whose product is in any other way selected for adoption, will sign agreements with a high-rank, and usually elder, official of the Armed Forces.
    As soon as the first batch is delivered, the samples are turned in to the DRDO and IOF/OFB for examination, to see whether the existing technologies in possession of the Indian industries would allow reverse-engineering and local manufacture of the product.
    If the thing is feasible, the “corruption scandal” manoeuver starts. The above-mentioned elder official “confesses” to have been paid by the foreign company to “ease” the adoption of their product, and is quickly retired; the foreign company is blacklisted; as per Indian law, the government retains the already-received batches without paying; and the local industry starts unlicensed reverse-engineering and manufacturing.

    They did it with the South-African 20mm DENEL NTW anti-matériel rifle (now made by the OFB as the “Widhwansak”), they did it with the Israeli TAVOR (now known in India as the ZITTARA), and they will now do it with a mix of the FN F-2000 and the SAR-21, which will be known as the F-INSAS. I am afraid, and I have told my friends in Beretta about this, that the newly-launched Mx4-Storm sub-machinecarbine, whose first customers will be the Indians, might fall victim of the same curse. The only technologies that still foreign countries can fairly safely export to India without fear of local illicit cloning are those very high-tech products (mostly coming from China and Russia nowadays) for whose manufacture still India has not fully developed capabilities.

    • Pierangelo, my personal opinion is that you are probably correct. They have a long history of this.

  • Joe Schmoe

    Looks like it heavily draws upon the Israeli TAR-21 Tavor, not surprising seeing as India has a few thousand in service and has close ties with IWI.

  • Slim934

    (at Pierangelo)

    Gee, corruption within the Indian (or for that matter any) government. Color me shocked.

  • Tahoe

    I’m guessing that’s a really short guy holding it, or the perspective is weird; for some reason that length of pull looks reeeaally long. I like that another military is going bullpup, though; if I weren’t so thoroughly conditioned with standard configuration rifles I’d jump all over that bandwagon.

  • Vitor

    Well, they managed to create a very unreliable rifle called Insas, eventhough the gun adopted the design from the AK and FAL, two very reliable guns.

    I wouldn’t trust a indian bullpup.

  • rusty ray

    Either way, it is going to be a dog of a weapon. That’s a given.

    Cheers- Rusty

  • A dang near $1200 gun, and they throw a $20 red dot on it…

    I’d still like to see more photos of it.

  • TracerTong

    If they’re going to field that rifle with that airsoft optic then they deserve to be blacklisted

  • JT

    Is that a Tasco RedDot? India really spares no expense lol (I use one and it’s been great so far btw)

  • Lance

    Looks like a AUG copy. With the Indian Army’s love of the INAS rifle I doubt this will be Indian wide.

  • jeff from CA

    Wow, fake corruption scandal to enable gun design piracy. Talk about plots within plots. If they want to reverse engineer and pirate it, why bother with all of the lies? To give lip service to the law? To stymie any complaints filed with the WTO?

  • jdun1911

    I don’t know why the Indian will go through all those trouble to just copy a product. Wouldn’t it be better to just buy a couple in the open market or ask for some samples for reverse-engineering?

  • Paralus

    Like a lot of stuff coming out of DRDO, it probably won’t work well just like the other INSAS.

  • Nadnerbus

    I forget where I read a review of the current Indian INSAS (was it here?), but it looked to be a world class piece of garbage with shoddy workmanship, cheap materials, and general low quality. If that is the kind of rifle Indian industry brings to market, they might be better off paying the royalties, actual corruption or not.

  • Oswald Bastable

    Pierangelo, I have also seen this in other industries.

  • Andrew (European Correspondent)

    Makes you wonder if that’s the plan for their fighter competition, which is currently down to the Eurofighter/Rafale.

    After all, they already planned to build most of the planes in India after a technology transfer…

  • Avery

    I’m not sure if this is anymore clearer than the video, but someone during a visit with the DRDO snapped a picture of their Modern Sub-Machine Carbine and got a picture of this rifle or a mockup of it in the same photo. It looks very F2000-ish in silhouette.

    • Smestarz

      The photo that you are talking does belong to INSAS family,
      The design does look more or less like UZI single handed use.

      And based on the comment of Pierangelo Tendas (PT-The Italian Commie
      I would request you to look into wikipedia article
      The part that is of interest here is.

      India: In late 2002, India signed an INR 880 million (about USD 17.7 million) deal with Israel Military Industries for 3,070 Tavor assault rifles to be issued to India’s special forces personnel,[16] where its ergonomics, reliability in heat and sand, and fast-point/fast-shoot design might give them an edge at close-quarters and employment from inside vehicles. By 2005, IMI had supplied 350–400 Tavors to India’s northern Special Frontier Force (SFF). These were subsequently declared to be “operationally unsatisfactory”. The required changes have since been made, and tests in Israel during 2006 went well, clearing the contracted consignment for delivery. The Tavor has now entered operational service – even as India gears up for a larger competition that could feature a 9 mm MTAR-21 version.[17] Known as the Zittara in Indian service,[18] the new Tavors have a modified single-piece stock and new sights, as well as Turkish-made MKEK T-40 40 mm under-barrel grenade launchers.[17] 5,500 have been recently inducted and more rifles are being ordered.[19] The Indian Navy’s elite marine commandos are also preparing to adopt the assault rifles. A consignment of over 500 TAR-21 Tavor assault rifles and another 30 Galil sniper rifles worth over INR 150 million (USD 3.3 million) and INR 20 million respectively was delivered to the MARCOS (marine commandos) in December 2010.[20] CRPF has ordered 12000 micro tavor rifles also known as X-95 and it received the first shipment of the rifles in early 2011.

      Also I dont know who tells you people that Indian officials or indian companies are not welcome to International fairs but that untrue, and we have our own defence expo to which most of the foreign companies are regular visitors,

      When the MMRCA compeltion was starting we have have F-16IN (basically F-16 block 60 that is used by UAE) SAAB Gripen, Dasault Rafale. EFT Typhoon and Mig-35 (MiG-29 OVT) all participating.

      I think its more of cock and bull stories that we do reverse engineer.
      For example the Bheem (SP Howitzer) that was being developed along with Denel has been kept on hold since Denel has been black listed.

      Also Russia is major arms dealer to India, and we have not reverse engineered Su-30 MKI, we are producing the same with license.
      On other hand, Russia has a different experience with China where Russia had to cancel future orders of Su-30 MKK with china because the Chinese reverse engineered it and started to show it off as a new plane.
      So I suggest you set the records straight,

      YES, INSAS is considered not that reliable and frankly its ugly (I dont like the flashy furniture) but there are new versions coming with some minor developments such as folding stocks etc.

      Most of the foreign suppliers are looking at India as the market and are willing to do a JV, no need for us to steal technolgy.

      And as for the Transfer of technology for the winner of MMRCA. that was the precondition, and without any restrictions and thats why F/A-18 was not selected. Transfer of technology allows us to make license production of the plane in India itself. and thus our industry benefits rather than have just buyer-seller relation, we prefer joint ventures.

      Surely we do learn about new technologies and concepts, but we are not known for reverse engineering. So please get your facts straight.

  • For those who haven’t noticed it yet, BTW: the pictured weapon is not the new Indian bull-pup rifle (which should either be called the F-INSAS or the “Milap”), but a Singaporean LW-SAR21 carbine. There are still no available pictures of the Milap/F-INSAS; first prototypes should be available within one month at the least.

    As for jdun1911’s comment, no, they can’t do that, because the industries won’t grant local manufacturing license, given the Indian capabilities to produce in mass numbers, which can create a dangerous competition situation.

    Besides, mine is not an allegation; I have been a defense correspondent for several specialized magazines for five years now. It is a well-known fact in the defense industry. It is also a fact that Indian representants and industries are not welcome to many defense expos that take place in Europe or the Americas, as the local industries are afraid of the Indian piracy, which is becoming even worse than the Chinese (at least most of the Chinese products are at a certain extent locally-engineered, and their clones predate designs whose patents and exclusives have longtime expired).

    If you try to step in Indians’ shoes, this way to conduct the business makes perfect sense. India’s population has exceeded 1 billion people now, and they need to set up an industrial complex to absorb workforce; on the other hand, anything can thus be produced in India in massive number, being there certainly no lack of manpower.
    India is a developing Country, as well, that needs to acquire technologies to support its growth rate; the best way to acquire said technologies without jeopardizing the growth and development with foreign debt is to steal them, in one way or another. And India has a legal system that allows their Government to steal as long as tey have somebody to frame/blame for corruption. Worst thing is, many Countries have so many interests in India that nobody really cares about punishing them for this incorrect behaviour.

    Besides, the Indian, Pakistani and Iranian defense industries share one common line: if on one hand they have kept high the world’s attention upon themselves for launching several new “developments”, on the other hand they have repeatedly proved unable to effectively start mass production and distribution.

    • I added the picture of the SAR because of the STK connection.

      PT, I don’t believe India, or any other country, needs to steal IP in order to grow. Many much smaller countries purchase production rights for firearms from other countries.

      What they should be doing is what South Africa did, license an older firearm design cheaply and then upgrade/modify it for local conditions. I can’t imagine South Africa pays very much to Israel to produce the R4/R5.

  • The picture of the SAR-21 posted is a variant.
    That being said, I don’t know why the charging handle is all the way above the muzzle, or at least close to it.

    Here’s the original.

    Greetings from Singapore.

  • blueblood

    @ Pierangelo Tendas

    I beg to differ mate.

    1) Why go through all the trouble if India intends to copy without license. I mean, why beat around the bushes and delay the projects when the ultimate aim is to copy, when you can simply buy a few pieces through third parties and clone it.

    2) Why buying Tavors in large quantities when the same is applicable and why just Tavors why not 416s or SCARs or any other sophisticated rifle for that matter. Army SF already uses M4 in small quantities but still haven’t found any clones lying around. I am sure that Uncle Sam with deals in billions won’t mind a tiny rifle clone. Army is still happy with it’s rotten INSAS but no M4.

    3) When Denel was banned, their JV with DRDO on BHIM SPG was also screwed, however I don’t think that they copied it or else it would have been available by now. Copying an howitzer with a prototype available shouldn’t be that hard.

    5) Why on the God’s green earth, companies around the globe are rushing to India’s door step when they know they are about to robbed of their IP. I used to work in an IT MNC and they were not too happy when they got deals in China. They used to sell them stuff which is thoroughly encoded or will be obsolete by the time their copies will be available. This is how large companies work, defense or not. Or are you telling me that they don’t know that and still think that they will get lucky with billion dollar deals.