News Brief

'Ugram': DRDO, Private Firm Develop Indigenous Assault Rifle For Armed Forces In Just 100 Days

Kuldeep Negi

Jan 10, 2024, 10:59 AM | Updated 11:09 AM IST

Ugram (Pic Via Twitter)
Ugram (Pic Via Twitter)

The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has launched 'Ugram', a modern 7.62 x 51 mm calibre assault rifle, independently conceptualised, engineered, and produced with a private sector collaborator.

Ugram is tailored to meet the operations needs of the military, paramilitary forces, and state police entities.

Also Read: Indian Navy Set To Receive First Indigenous Drishti 10 'Starliner' UAV Today

Shailendra V Gade, the Director General of Armament and Combat Engineering Systems at DRDO, revealed the first operation prototype of the rifle, named Ugram - meaning 'ferocious', in Pune on Monday.

With an effective range of 500 meters and weighing under four kilograms, the rifle was developed at the DRDO's Armament Research and Development Establishments (ARDE) in Pune, in partnership with Hyderabad-based Dvipa Armour India Private Limited.

ARDE scientists, who have worked on the project, said the rifle was designed based on the General Staff Qualitative Requirements (GSQRs) of the Indian Army.

The rifle, equipped with a 20-round magazine, operates in both single and automatic firing modes.

The configuration of the rifle is comparable to the latest AK and AR type rifles and it has a rivet-free design for durability.

The assault rifle was unveiled amid the Defence Acquisition Council's recent approval in December to acquire 70,000 SIG Sauer assault rifles of the same calibre from the US for the Indian military.

This procurement, valued at over Rs 800 crore, adds to the over 72,000 rifles bought earlier in 2020.

Before being eligible for induction, DRDO's Ugram will have to undergo a series of internal evaluations, acceptance trials, and user tests.

Speaking about the Ugram assault rifle, ARDE Director Ankathi Raju said that this was a mission mode project taken up two years ago.

"After the ARDE designed the rifle, we started looking for a private industry partner for development and manufacturing. Simultaneously, we started working on its hardware through our sources. We have followed the concept of Development cum Production Partner, DcPP for the speedy progress of the project," he said, Indian Express reported.

"Under this, the vendor is associated with us during the design and production too. After the product is made by the vendor, it will undergo the acceptance trials. We placed the order for the assault rifleto the Hyderabad-based Dvipa Armour. The rifle will soon go for trials," Raju added.

Also Read: Centre Challenges Aligarh Muslim University's Minority Status In Supreme Court

A Mission Mode Project of the DRDO refers to a focused and time-bound development undertaken to achieve specific goals and objectives in the field of defence and technology.

"As part of its trial, a set number of rounds will be fired from Ugram without stoppage, and accuracy and consistency checks will be conducted," Raju stated.

The weapon will be tested in various weather and geographic conditions including the high altitude, desert etc.

"A board of Army officers will be constituted for the acceptance procedure. If some non-compliances are found, we will have to address them in specific time and the trials will be redone. Before these trials, we also conduct our own internal trials at our own small arms testing facility," he said.

Raju highlighted that while the process of design and design-related analysis started two years ago, the development in collaboration with the private vendor was completed in 100 days.

“There is a major shortfall of assault rifles in India. The AK-203 project has not taken off because of the Russia Ukraine war and PLR is supplying weapons to the Israel Weapon Industries because of the Israel-Hamas conflict. So this window of opportunity has come up," said G Ram Chaitanya Reddy, Director of the Dvipa Armour India.

"Three months ago, in October 2023, we received the order. And we have successfully given five prototypes. We believe this is the fastest development of a weapon anywhere in the world. After the development of the prototype and their trials, we will go for more tests for which we will give 15 more units to the ARDE. Subsequently, the process of further clearances will begin," he added.

Also Read: Revamping DRDO: High-Powered Committee Recommends Major Restructuring And Enhanced Role For Private Sector

Kuldeep is Senior Editor (Newsroom) at Swarajya. He tweets at @kaydnegi.

Get Swarajya in your inbox.