In 1984, the Indonesian defense concern of PT Pindad obtained an agreement with the Belgian firm of Fabrique Nationale (FN) to locally-produce their FN FNC assault rifle. PT Pindad maintained origins as far back as 1808 as a government-owned and operated defense contractor for the Indonesian military. The Belgian FNC itself first appeared in 1979 and saw limited sales to several foreign parties including Indonesia who secured some 10,000 examples for its army (the Belgian Army itself made the FNC its standard assault rifle). The FNC was a gas-operated weapon featuring a rotating bolt action and firing the 5.56x45mm NATO cartridge from a 30-round detachable box magazine. With license-production rights in place, FN FNC became the Pindad "SS1" series (SS1 = "Senapan Serbu 1" simply translating to "Assault Rifle 1") in the Indonesian inventory with only a few slight alterations to suit the Indonesian fighting environment. On the whole, the SS1 stays largely faithful to the original Belgian design and manufacture of the SS1 began in 1991. The base design has since been branched out to include a handful of notable variants - all related to the original SS1-V1 production model and incorporating only subtle changes in-between.
Externally, the SS1 showcases a traditional assault rifle form made up largely of the expected components - the stock, receiver (and accompanying components therein), the forend and the barrel. The stock is of skeletal design, which makes it relatively lightweight, and hinged at its base (the connecting portion to the receiver rear) so as to fold over the receiver and make for a more compact weapon system. The receiver sports a rear adjustable sight along its top as well as the charging handle and ejection port. The pistol grip is ribbed and ergonomically angled for a firm primary hand hold and sits behind the ring-guarded curved trigger unit. Standard STANAG-type magazines (20- or 30-round counts) feed directly ahead of the trigger in a conventional fashion and feature three noticeable slots. Like the FNC before it, the SS1 is chambered to fire the widely-accepted 5.56x45mm NATO cartridge. The forward grip encompasses the top-mounted gas cylinder (well-hidden in the design) as well as the base of the barrel (also hidden from view). It is covered over in rubber and ridged for a better grip of the support hand. There is a forward iron sight ahead of the grip and the barrel protrudes from the forend, capped with a flash suppressor. Beyond the standard iron sights, optics can be installed along the top of the receiver, however, this fitting arrangement requires a mount.
The SS1 series is actually a family of like-minded automatic weapons, each variant devised for a distinct battlefield role - thought its primary purpose across all forms is that of neutralizing the enemy of course. The basic assault rifle is the SS1-V1 described above. The SS1-V2 is the shortened carbine form (similar in form and function to the American M4) while the SS1-V3 features a fixed stock for improved control. A Designated Marksman Rifle (DMR) product is the SS1-V4 which retains the automatic firing function of the SS1 family yet provides "sniper-like" capabilities through repeating fire at the squad-level. Designated marksmen fill the special role falling between assault rifle troopers and dedicated field snipers. To fulfill this battlefield role, a telescopic sight is standard-issue in the V4. Vehicle crews, special forces elements and paratroopers enjoy the super-compact nature of the SS1-V5 while Indonesian special forces groups also have access to the lightweight refined version known as the SS1-R5 "Raider" - a "commando-type" carbine for close-quarters battle. A specialized corrosion-resistant version is the SS1-M1 series intended for amphibious elements and, itself, is available in three sub-variants consisting of the aforementioned standard assault rifle, the carbine and the special forces forms. The Sabhara model utilizes the 7.62x45mm cartridge instead of the original 5.56x45mm NATO and was developed for use by police and internal security forces. The SBC-1 is based on the SS1-V5 though lacks full-automatic fire, being issued to customs officials.
In practice, the SS1 saw widespread deployment across the various Indonesian military branches. It has since gone on to see combat action in a variety of localized conflicts including anti-terror missions. The SS1 has been recently updated through the "SS2", an automatic weapon also by PT Pindad, chambered to fire the 5.56x45mm NATO cartridge from a similar gas-operated, rotating bolt function. This assault rifle entered service in 2006 and is replacing the SS1 series as of this writing (2012).
Beyond usage by the Indonesian military, the SS1 has been purchased by the governments of Cambodia, Mali, Nigeria and the United Arab Emirates.