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SOURCE: The Statesman

Camouflaged in a ghillie suit, a sniper patiently waits to fire a shot that can neutralise targets and their war assets beyond enemy lines with highest precision and maximum damage. The Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) is soon to offer its indigenously developed large-calibre sniper anti-material rifle (AMR) to the Indian Army for trials after having incorporated modifications as per the latter’s requirement. The large calibre AMR, named ‘Vidwanshak’ is a 100 per cent indigenous weapon by OFB, launched during the ‘Atmanirbhar Week’.

Sources in the Kolkata based defence manufacturer- OFB, confirmed to The Statesman that some orders were received for the rifle from state police organisations and Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF). The BSF and the CRPF are the existing users of the weapon.

“Vidwanshak is a multi-calibre sniper rifle chambered for two types of calibres- 14.5mm and 20mm. It can be used in anti-material role for destroying enemy bunkers, lightly armoured vehicles, radar systems, communication equipment, parked aircraft, fuel storage facilities etc” explained the source who added, it is a “single shot, bolt-action rifle having a detachable three round magazine and a range of 1800m for 14.5mm calibre ammunition and 1300m for the 20mm calibre. The advantage is, the rifle can quickly be dismantled and carried in two portable man-packs, each weighing 12 to 15 kgs.”

The Indian Army earlier imported such 14.5mm/20mm anti-material sniper rifles from the South African company, Denel Land Systems.

To boost the Atmanirbhar policy, OFB developed the AMR through its in-house R&D wing of Ordnance Factory (OF), Trichy without any MoU with foreign collaborators and support from external agencies, factory sources confirmed.

Due to this indigenisation, foreign exchange to the tune of USD 90 million will be saved, it said.

However, the Army reportedly had earlier desisted from procuring the Vidwanshak rifle due to its heavy-weight which affected portability. OFB sources highlighted “the weight of the weapon is comparatively lesser than the South African made AMR which were used by the Army. This weapon also has advanced optical telescoping sights. We have completed modifications on the rifle as per the Army requirement and will offer it for trials soon.”