Multi Caliber Individual Weapon System..Meeting the needs of Future Soldiers

DRDO and ARDE have been working on developing a new Assault Rifle for the Indian Armed Forces.The Indian Armed Forces specially the Indian Army is not quite satisfied with the performance of Indigiously developed INSAS Assault Rifle.

INSAS which has been in service with the Indian Armed Forces from the times of Kargil War (1999) is not well accepted by the Indian Army.The major problem with INSAS is its caliber.INSAS uses 5.56 mm NATO rounds which though is lighter but do not carry the punch needed to kill the enemy.During development of INSAS,India had fought several wars with Pakistan and so a lighter caliber like 5.56 was decided to be more helpful during wars.But now,Army has to deal with Terrorists in kashmir and thus Army has to rely on AKM series of Assault rifles to deal with the insurgency in Kashmir since lighter calibers don’t yield much damage to the terrorist.

Indian army soldiers arrive at the site of a gun battle, on the outskirts of Srinagar, Indian controlled Kashmir, Saturday, Feb. 20, 2016. Islamic militants fired automatic rifles at a convoy of Indian paramilitary soldiers in the Indian portion of Kashmir on Saturday, before taking refuge in a nearby government building, police said.(AP Photo/Dar Yasin)
Indian army soldiers arrive at the site of a gun battle, on the outskirts of Srinagar

So demand was felt to have an assault rifle that could support several calibers.Lighter Caliber During Wars and Heavier Caliber during Counter-Insurgency operations.To fulfill this demand,DRDO and ARDE developed Multi-Caliber Individual Weapon System.

DRDO’s Multi-Caliber Individual Weapon System (MCIWS) being developed by the Armaments Research and Development Establishment (ARDE), Pune, is an Indigenous Assault rifle which will allow operators to alternatively fire 7.62mm, 5.56mm and 6.8 mm rounds by changing the barrel group, breech block & magazine. Provision has also been made to mount an indigenous 40 mm Under Barrel grenade Launcher (UBGL) (pictured above) capable of firing programmable air-burst rounds.


CCD camera day sight and thermal imaging night sight can also be mounted on its picatinny rail system to engage targets in day & night conditions. The weapon body is machined with Aluminum alloy and a metal insert based 30 Round engineering plastic magazine and adjustable butt are also featured. Ambidextrous features for cocking, lever change and magazine change have also been incorporated.

MCIWS is made  in India and is said to have performed very well during its Trials with the Army.The Assault rifle will be on the hands of Indian Troops Soon replacing INSAS and AKM’s.


  • Capable of Firing different Caliber Ammunitions by changing barrel group,breech block and magazine

  • 92% commonality in all three Calibers

  • Provision for mounting Under Barrel Grenade Launcher (UBGL)

  • Light weight and modular design

  • Multiple Picatinny rails for sight system and fore-grip

  • Fully supported engineering Plastic Magazine with metallic inserts

  • Push type magazine release Mechanism

  • One time Cocking

  • Fold-able butt with variable length

  • Picatinny Mounted universal inbuilt  iron sights

  • Ambidextrous features : Cocking,Change lever,magazine release

  • Advanced day and night sighting system.

  • Automatic Electronic Graticule set for selected Caliber

  • Air Burst grenade firing capabilities

Technical Specifications



Multi Caliber Individual Weapon System (MCIWS)


Assault Rifle

Place of Origin



Armaments Research and Development Establishment (ARDE)


5.56 × 45 mm

6.8 × 43 mm

7.62 × 39 mm


Gas Operation,Rotating Bolt

Rate of Fire

600-650 Rounds per Minute

Mass with Empty Magazine

< 3.4 kg

Mass with 30 RD Magazine

< 4.0 kg

Weapon Length

< 910 mm

Effective range

500 m

Muzzle Velocity

715-890 m/s

Mode of Fire

Single and Automatic

Magazine Capacity

30 Rounds

Mechanical Sights



Applied & Mechanical

Sighting System

CCD Day Sight,

TI Night Sight,

UBGL Sight,



Ordnance Factory Tiruchirappalli


Photo Gallary

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