After field trials and subsequent purchasing of the “Trichy” Assault Rifle (TAR) by the Indian Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), it is being reported that other Indian Law Enforcement entities are taking an interest in the rifle as well. The 7.62x39mm TAR rifle was initially introduced almost a decade ago but appeared to have seen little success in the form that it first existed in. Essentially it appeared to be converting an FN FAL receiver into 7.62x39mm with internally produced magazines. The current variant is in fact a copy of the Bulgarian Arsenal 7.62x39mm AR-M1 (milled receiver) with some modifications to the buttstock in a fixed stock, folding stock, and telescoping M4 patterned stock variation. It appears that the latch to secure the right folding stock is left on the receiver even when the fixed and telescoping stocks have been installed. This improved variant was officially unveiled in March of 2017, more than a year ago. The name “Trichy” is short for Ordnance Factory Tiruchirappalli where a large number of defense articles are produced, to include the dreaded INSAS.
The need for this rifle stems not from the violence in the Kashmir regions but instead the “Red Corridor” along the south eastern portion of the Indian subcontinent where India has a Maoist insurgency (in which all INSAS rifles were ordered replaced…). Interestingly one of the big drives for the adoption of this rifle comes from the workers who make it, insisting on the rifles adoption by Law Enforcement and paramilitary organizations. From The Hindu-
Approval of TAF is a shot in the arm for the employee unions that had been expressing concern over the decline in manpower at the OFT. Manpower had declined to around 2,000 from about 3,500 10 years ago, V.Balachandran, national executive member of the AIDEF, said.
The development comes in the backdrop of AIDEF and two other employee unions: INDWF and BPMS which together represent the cause of four lakh employees in 41 ordnance factories in the country, opposing import of AK-47 rifle, and assailing the Centre’s move for introduction of public-private-partnership model.
Looking at India’s sinking ship of a reliable rifle procurement program, this puts the INSAS debacle in a somewhat new perspective in that it is government workers who insist on continuing with a substandard product in order to keep their jobs. Eerily similar to the M14 debacle out of Springfield Armory in the 1950s, another example of a rifle program that should have been taken more seriously.
During the Trichy factory’s Ordnance Day 2018, the TAR rifle was on display along with numerous other small arms that are made at the factory. Although not featured in this video below, readers can see some of the domestically produced small arms coming from the factory. Note in particular the ground mounted 240 design derivative with what appears to be a nonadjustable and fixed RPD patterned gas port.
Don’t take the video too seriously though, as some of the captions and weapons handling skills are cringe worthy.
In fact, that 240 derivative is the Ordnance Factories LMG variant of the 240, in development for the past two years. An excellent video has been made about it here. Very oddly enough, the LMG is select fire.