Staff Writer (Updated: 10/31/2016):
The Indian Army was, at first, in talks with the South African defense firm of Denel to deliver different types of weapon systems as being requested. One of the procurement requirements was for an anti-material rifle that was to be the Denel NTW-20 series system. However, it was revealed that the Denel firm was responsible for unlawful payments to the Indian government in order to secure the lucrative defense contracts and the firm was promptly banned from service with the Indian military as a result.
This left the Indian Army with various military-oriented gaps to fill, chief among these still being the need for a proven anti-material weapon system. As such, local work on a solution began with the Ordnance Factory Tiruchirapalli (OFT) teaming with the Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO) of New Delhi to produce a suitable replacement of indigenous origin. The DRDO emerged in 1958 to manage the development of technology to be used by the Indian military.
Taking the South African NTW-20 as a starting point, development produced a working prototype by the end of 2005. Evaluation began in 2006 and completed with success, leading to the procurement contract for 100 Vidhwansak to be delivered to the Indian Border Security Force - India's border patrol agency. Production of the Vidhwansak series formally began in February of 2007 and the weapon was officially delivered in October of 2008. Despite the limited procurement as of now, the Indian Army and other government defense groups have shown interest in the rifle system.
Unique to the Vidhwansak is the ability for the base weapon system to accept three different calibers with a few limited changes to her major components - the barrel and bolt. Additionally, the operator can mount an applicable optics system for the preferred caliber and must also supply the correct caliber ammunition magazine. The rifle can be made to fire cartridges in the form of 12.7mm, 14,5mm and 20mm calibers which makes the Vidhwansak a very flexible tactical weapon system.
Like other heavy rifles of this class, the Vidhwansak is a manually-actuated bolt-action rifle at her core. Regardless of the selected caliber of ammunition, the weapon feeds from a detachable box magazine inserted into the left side of the receiver. The receiver contains a buffered slide to contend with the violent recoil inherent in such weapons. Additionally, a muzzle brake is added to the barrel end to compensate for about half of the presented recoil during the firing action. The barrel and the receiver both recoil inside of the receiver frame. Design is such that the Vidhwansak can be broken down into two major components for travel by two designated personnel. Weight of the Vidhwansak is listed at a manageable 55lbs with a length of 1,700mm and a barrel length of 1,100mm. The Vidhwansak is typically issued with a crew of two operators to help facilitate the weapon needs. An 8x42 Power adjustable telescopic sight is issued as standard. Muzzle velocity is rated at 3,411 feet per second. Effective range is out to 1,962 yards with a maximum range out to 2,180 yards.
The designation of Vidhwansak from the original Sanskrit translates to "The Destroyer".