The Trichy Assault Rifle (TAF) designed in-house at Ordnance Factory, Tiruchi (OFT), and developed to match specifications of AK47 has passed the quality test for use by paramilitary forces, sources in the OFT said here on Friday.
The approval of the weapon by the CRPF in New Delhi has brought immense relief to OFT employees. Acceptance of TAF by paramilitary and military forces has been a long-pending demand of the employee unions who were prepared to rectify the shortcomings pointed out by the Army.
The first lot of TAF was handed over to the Chhattisgarh police earlier this year. Thereafter, OFT received orders for AK-47 from police departments from a few States that were fighting insurgency, and production and assembly lines were established for mass production.
However, employee unions were keen on having a steady stream of supply of the weapon to CRPF and other elite forces, including CISF and BSF.
It was because the State governments that had procured the weapon for their police forces had problems with making payments, according to C. Srikumar, general secretary, All India Defence Employees Federation (AIDEF).
Approval of the weapon by paramilitary forces will, in all probability, pave the way for its supply to the Army as well, Mr. Srikumar pointed out.
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.
The OFT had to upgrade its product offerings a few years ago in the wake of the shift of Army and Central armed paramilitary forces towards 7.62 mm calibre rifles with automatic firing, so as to incapacitate and kill the enemy in counter-insurgency operations with higher probability. The TAF was manufactured in three variants — fixed butt, side foldable butt and under folding.
It can be fired in single shot, automatic and burst fire mode.
In automatic mode, it fires 600 rounds per minute, as per the technical specification.