Army’s new firepower – Nipun, F-INSAS, LCA

The Defence Minister handed over new weapons systems that will add to the Army’s firepower and enable its personnel to fight modern wars.

The Army received the latest anti-personnel mine Nipun, Futuristic Infantry Soldier as a System (F-INSAS), the Landing Craft Assault (LCA) as well as a drone system from the defence minister. These will give the forces an edge in futuristic warfare as well as in battle terrains like Ladakh.

What is the F-INSAS?
The Future Infantry Soldier As A System or F-INSAS is designed to transform the infantry soldier into a ‘self-contained fighting machine’. It helps enhance the soldiers’ operational capability by arming them with modern gear and equipment that is lightweight, all-weather-all-terrain, cost-effective and low maintenance.

The F-INSAS is entirely India-made. The standards were set by the Army and all the requirements were met by Defence Public Sector Undertakings and private Indian industries. The system was indigenously designed by Indian entities, including the DRDO and the ordnance factories ecosystem.

The project was undertaken to modernise the infantry and similar programmes in other countries like the UK, France, Israel and Germany were studied for the Indian project. F-INSAS is still reportedly undergoing fine-tuning to upgrade it for all types of conflict situations.

The F-INSAS gear includes ballistic helmets, ballistic goggles and bullet proof vests that protect the soldiers against 9 mm bullets and ammunition fired from AK-47 rifles. The helmet has a mounted night-vision device and comes with the option of installing a thermal imager sight which convert infrared energy from objects into thermal images. Under some circumstances – like long distance viewing – thermal imaging may be more powerful. The system also includes a hands-free, secured and advanced communications set.

The F-INSAS arms the soldiers with AK-203 assault rifles that are mounted with holographic sight that enable targeting with precision upto 200 metres. The AK-203 is being made at Korwa near Amethi in a Russia-India joint venture.

Besides the AK-203, the F-INSAS includes a multi-mode hand grenade, which can be used in defensive and offensive modes. The grenade can cause harm to the target by fragmentation in the defensive mode and is to be used when the soldier is under cover. In the offensive mode, the grenade causes harm by the blast or stuns the adversary. It is also equipped with a multi-purpose knife for hand-to-hand combat.

What are Nipun mines?
The Nipun landmines will act as the first line of defence against enemy infantry or tanks or infiltration attempts by terrorists. It was developed by the Pune-based Armament Research and Development Establishment, which is a DRDO facility, along with the Indian industry.

These landmines are reportedly more powerful due to their advanced design and sensors than those currently in the army arsenal. They are smaller in size and can be deployed in large numbers.

What is the LCA?
The Landing Craft Assault or LCA helps the Army more efficiently mobilise its forces and deploy them across the terrain in eastern Ladakh where tensions with China near the Line of Actual Control (LAC) have kept the forces on their toes.

The LCA is a vessel that replaces the boats that are currently used to transport across the lakes in the region. It was developed by the Goa-based Aquarius ShipYard Limited and reportedly has better launch, speed and capacity to traverse water bodies.
Other equipment

The Army also received Commander Thermal Imaging Sight for Tank T-90 for its armoured columns. This equipment, developed by India Optel Limited, helps improve detection and targeting of enemy tank and equipment.