The MCIWS ("Multi-Caliber Individual Weapon System") is an in-development Indian military assault rifle whose design has been headed by the Armament Research and Development Establishment with manufacture provided by the Ordnance Factory Tiruchirappalli (OFT), both of India. The product has been in development since 2012 and is intended as a successor to the in-service INSAS infantry assault rifle (detailed elsewhere on this site) of the Indian Army - both represent indigenous Indian developments showcasing a greater desire by the country to become more local and independent in its military requirements.
The MCIWS is modular, infantry-level automatic firearm supporting the following cartridges depending on chambering: 5.56x45 NATO, 7.62x39mm, and 6.8 Remington SPC. The 5.56mm cartridge is a ubiquitous intermediate rifle round favored by the West while the 7.62x39mm cartridge is of Soviet-era origin, highly-effective at-range. In any case, the rifle fires through a gas-operated (short stroke), rotating bolt system common to many past and present assault rifles. Rate-of-fire is 600 to 650 rounds-per-minute while muzzle velocity of the outgoing bullet reaches 2,920 feet-per-second. Effective range is out to 500 meters.
The weapon is designed for quick, "in-the-field" conversion to the various calibers available. Furthermore, the gun can be reconfigured for left- and right-handed shooters as needed, this mainly involving the reinstalling of the charging handle as well as the magazine release from one side to the other. The over-receiver section of Picatinny rail can support a broad range of after-market optics sets as well as tactical products. An Under-Barrel Grenade Launcher (UBGL) is also being supported in production-quality forms and it its this sort of flexibility could potentially make the MCIWS an extremely attractive export product for Indian allies looking to upgrade to a more modern infantry solution.
The weapon is fed by way of a conventional, spring-loaded, transparent 30-round detachable box magazine. This is inserted rather traditionally into the feed placed ahead of the trigger unit. The overall arrangement of the firearm is highly-conventional with a shoulder stock at rear, covered forend, and exposed barrel/muzzle. The shrouded forend can support a foregrip for improved accuracy with sustained fire. Beyond optional optics set installed over the receiver, the weapon can also be sighted through a traditional iron arrangement.
Externally, the Indian MCIWS shares some visual similarities with the American M16 and the Belgian FN FNC assault rifles with additional influencing courtesy of the Soviet/Russian Kalashnikov assault rifle series to boot. The Indian military has an extensive history in operating the M16 and AK47 types.
Trials of the MCIWS prototypes were had in late-2012.