The Pindad SS2 series assault rifle is a modernized version of the original SS1 model, itself based on the Belgian FN FNC family.
Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited:
The Indonesian concern of PT Pindad obtained a local-license production agreement from the Belgian firm of Fabrique Nationale to manufacture the FN FNC for the Indonesian military forces. This locally-produced version became known as the "SS1" to which several variants were conceived of from the base assault rifle form. At its core, the weapon was a gas-operated system with a rotating bolt system and fired the 5.56x45 NATO cartridge (as in the FN FNC). The SS1 was introduced in 1991 and proved a serviceable frontline assault rifle for Indonesian military needs for several decades thereafter.
In the early part of the new century, attention was given to developing a more modern and indigenous design to succeed the SS1 family - this ultimately becoming the "SS2" ("Senapan Serbu 2" / "Assault Rifle 2"). The SS2 incorporated many of the design and functionality lessons learned through production and operational use of the Belgian FNC. Additionally, Indonesian armed forces also relied on the American M16. The resulting weapon, therefore, became a decidedly mixed beast of sorts though a capable design in its own right.
Externally, the SS2 is a very refined design, somewhat mimicking the lines of the famous American M16 assault rifle. The skeletal stock of the SS1/FNC remains and keeps its folding nature intact. The receiver has been cleaned up to an extent and sports smooth contours. The top of the receiver is home to an M16-like carrying handle (with integrated iron sights) than can be removed in favor of optics via a Picatinny accessories rail system. The pistol grip is ribbed and ergonomically-angled as in the SS1 while the trigger unit has been slightly reworked with a larger loop. The magazine feed is found ahead of the trigger and supports STANAG detachable box magazines of 20- or 30-round counts. The forend is ribbed for a firm grip while the upper segment is perforated for improved heat dissipation. As in the SS1, the SS2 features a top-mounted gas cylinder with a bottom-mounted barrel assembly. A protruding forward iron sight is clearly identified at the end of the forward grip while the barrel is capped by a slotted M16-style flash hider.
Like the SS1 before it, the SS2 is branched out into other related, though useful, battlefield forms. The SS2-V1 is the base primary assault rifle form while the SS2-V2 is nothing more than the carbine form with a shortened barrel assembly and shorter forend grip. The SS2-V4 is a Designated Marksman Rifle (DMR) form intended to fill the role falling between the assault rifle soldier and the dedicated sniper. Optics in this version are standard. The SS2-V5 is a compact form based on the assault rifle version and will see issue to vehicle crews, special forces groups and paratroopers. In all, the various versions are chambered for the same 5.56x45mm NATO cartridge, utilize the STANAG magazine and keep a consistent form to the original SS2 design. This, of course, makes logistical and economic sense to any government military budget today.
To date, production and delivery of SS2 rifles has been somewhat limited since inception began in 2006 though the intent is to outright replace the outgoing SS1 family. Tens of thousands have been ordered since 2005. Of course large-scale acceptance of the weapon will be the ultimate deciding factor when judging the SS2's quality and usefulness on the modern battlefield.
PT Pindad has also saw fit to develop the SS3 - intended to follow the SS2 in service. This version is also chambered for the 5.56x45mm NATO cartridge and retains much of the capabilities of the SS1 and SS2 prior. However, the design of the weapon if of the "bullpup" configuration which presents some benefits (and restrictions) in its overall operation. Bullpup assault rifles are proving exceedingly popular in today's gun market as the configuration consist of relocating the magazine feed aft of the pistol grip, making it part of the stock which, in turn, promotes for a more compact form while keeping a full-length barrel in use. Accuracy is said to be increased in single-shot fire for the operator can keep the primary bulk of the weapon close to his/her body. However, the stock is fixed and cannot be conveniently collapse as in conventionally-design weapon systems. The arrangement also keeps the cartridge ejection port dangerously close to the operator's face, favoring right-handed shooters. Automatic fire suffers somewhat due to increased muzzle climb.
To date, operators of the SS2 series rifles include Bangladesh, Indonesia and the United Arab Emirates. The UAE is set to produce the firearm locally under license. Bangladesh has acquired the SS2-V5 version for service with the Black Eagles special forces. The Indonesian Army and the special forces group Kopaska both operate the series.
Brunei, Iraq and Myanmar have expressed interest in committing to the Pindad product.