The first lot of indigenously developed assault rifle, AK-47, was handed over to the Chhattisgarh Police on the Ordnance Factory Tiruchi (OFT) campus here on the occasion of 216th Ordnance Factories Day celebration on Saturday.

K. Appa Rao, General Manager, OFT, handed over the AK-47 to D. Ratan Lal, Deputy Inspector General of Police, Chhattisgarh. Mr. Rao said police departments in many States, including Andhra Pradesh, Orissa, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, were fighting against Maoists. The central armed paramilitary forces and elite forces such as Special Task Force, CRPF, Border Security Force and the elite forces of Army in the order of Rashtriya Rifles, Assam Rifles were using imported AK-47 and other AK series rifles for counter insurgency operations against Kashmir militants and other extremist forces.

Army and Central armed paramilitary forces were shifting towards 7.62 mm caliber rifles with automatic firing for having high probability to incapacitate and kill the enemy in counter-insurgency operations. The OFT took up the ‘7.62 x 39 mm Assault Rifle Project’ one-and-a-half-year ago. It was equivalent and on a par with advanced AK-47 rifles in performance and reliability. “It is a powerful individual automatic weapon designed to destroy the enemy in automatic and single fire mode.

D. Ratan Lal, Deputy Inspector General of Police, Chhattisgarh, showing the assault rifle at Ordnance Factory Tiruchi campus on Saturday. OFT General Manager K. Appa Rao is seen

This rifle was manufactured in three variants - fixed butt, side foldable butt and under folding. “The user has the option to choose it as per requirement. This weapon uses 7.62 x 39 mm ammunition made by Ordnance Factory, Varangoan, Bhushawal. “It can be fired in single shot, automatic and burst fire mode. In automatic mode, it fires 600 rounds per minute,” he said.

By firing in automatic mode in short series, group or single targets at a distance up to 500 metres could be destroyed. It was most effective up to a distance of 300 meters. The design permitted attaching with a 40mm under barrel Grenade Launcher UBGL and 40x46 mm under barrel Grenande Launcher UBGL-M6, he said.

Morover there were inherent advantages of engineering support from OFT and adequate availability of ammunition and spares.

Mr. Rao said the OFT received orders for AK-47 from police departments from a few States. The production and assembly lines were being established for mass production.

Ordnance Factories across the country were concentrating on in-house research and development. Modernization of plant and machinery was another major thrust area, he said.

Later, Mr. Appa Rao inaugurated an exhibition on weapons and photographs.