JVPC | One of ARDE’s Finest

-Praful Kumar

Introduction

Joint Venture Protective Carbine (JVPC) is a selective fire, gas operated, magazine fed semi-bullpup Personal Defence Weapon (PDW) chambered for the 5.56×30 mm MINSAS cartridge. The PDW was previously known as Modern Sub-Machine Carbine (MSMC) which was later redesigned as JVPC after the collaboration between DRDO’s Armament Research & Development Establishment (ARDE) and an Indian state-owned defence company, Advanced Weapons and Equipment India Limited (AWEIL). Headquartered in Kanpur, the AWEIL is one of the seven Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs) that was established in 2021 as part of the restructuring and corporatization of the Ordnance Factory Board (OFB).

MSMC w/ITL Reflex Optic(MARS) | © DRDO
JVPC w/BEL TriNetra MWRS & Foregrip | © DoO

Birth of MSMC-JVPC

In today’s world of asymmetrical warfare, the Indian Army is constantly involved in Counter Insurgency and Counter Terrorism (CI&CT) operations against various local as well as foreign groups which are active in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) and north-eastern states such as Assam, Nagaland etc. A specialized COIN unit known as Rashtriya Rifles (RR) was raised on October 1,1990 to relieve the regular army of its CI/CT commitments and at the same time ensure availability for the primary tasks. The specialized force is equipped as per its operational requirement. This includes various types of small and light arms such as the standard issued AKM clones, the INSAS family of weapons, Carl Gustaf RCL variants, Dragunov Sniper Rifle (DSR), Multi Barrel Grenade Launcher (MBGL) apart from the different types of explosives that the force use during their operations. So where does JVPC or MSMC come into the picture? While operating in these sectors, the Army found itself in urgent need of a new close combat carbine. It’s to be noted that Army previously rejected a carbine from the INSAS family, citing higher recoil from the shorter barrel of the weapon. The higher recoil was attributed to the heavier ARDE’s INSAS 5.56×45 mm cartridge which is a modified version of standard NATO 5.56 (Belgian SS109) cartridge.

Indian Army projected a combined requirement for around 4 lakh carbines. This requirement included an indigenous personal defence weapon or protective carbine and a foreign made carbine, which was supposed to be produced by DoO under the Transfer of Technology (ToT). These carbines were not only meant to replace the several decades old SUB MACHINE GUN CARBINE 1A1 (Indian version of British Sterling L2A1) in-service with the Indian Armed Forces but were also supposed to complement the sturdy AKM at close combat ranges of operations including urban and semi-urban CI/CT environment. In response to the projected requirement of an indigenous PDW, ARDE and Directorate of Ordnance (DoO) independently developed their separate weapons – MSMC and Amogh. Both of these carbines are chambered for the 5.56×30 mm MINSAS cartridge which is a miniaturized version of ARDE’s INSAS cartridge. DoO derived Amogh out of its Excalibur rifle, an improved version of INSAS rifle and ARDE came up with a completely new semi-bullpup design slightly resembling the German H&K MP7 4.6×30 mm PDW. Moreover, looking at an assured production order for over 3 lakh weapons, DoO established its 41st factory at Korwa, Uttar Pradesh. The decision was ill-fated as neither of the two weapons managed to clear army’s stringent field trials. Army rejected Amogh after multiple trials and declared MSMC unfit for induction in its current form, but decided to select ARDE’s design with modifications. This led to the collaboration between ARDE and DoO giving birth to JVPC.

H&K MP7A1 w/Zeiss RSA-S Optic and folded foregrip. | © Mr. Kris

JVPC – One of ARDE’s Finest

JVPC demolishes the infamous conundrum of India which, despite having a wide range of indigenously developed ballistic missiles, nuclear-powered ballistic submarines and Anti-Satellite (ASAT) capability, can’t design good small arms. It featured in the Multi-player version of the popular First Person Shooter (FPS) video game, Call of Duty : Black Ops 2. The commercially successful game was developed by Treyarch and published by Activision Publishing, Inc. Although the weapon was made according to the Army’s General Staff Qualitative Requirements (GSQRs), it will be a great addition in the inventory of Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs) which comes under the Ministry of Home Affairs (MoHA) and state police forces. It was designed for the purpose of personal defence and close quarter battles. Many of these forces need such a weapon and they’re quite essential for CI/CT operations. Their modernisation will eventually reduce the dependence on Indian Army for CI/CT operations and instead, they can focus more on anti-infiltration operations at the Line of Control (LoC).

JVPC (Black) w/TriNetra MWRS | © AWEIL

Design & Specifications

The JVPC is an easy-to-handle weapon with a semi-bullpup design configuration. The configuration has its action slightly behind its trigger  which makes it different from a bullpup PDW like FN P90; also the magazine well is inside its pistol grip similar to machine pistols like MAC-10 and B&T MP9, submachine gun like IMI/IWI Uzi and PDW like H&K MP7. The JVPC weighs less than 3 kg without a loaded magazine. The highly compact weapon is about 22 inches in length, which goes up to about 29 inches with its extended buttstock. These characteristics allow enhanced maneuverability even in concealed areas. The weapon is fed by a 30-round 5.56×30 mm MINSAS box magazine which is inserted through its magazine well. The weapon uses a long-stroke gas system with a piston-driven(w/ small operating rod) rotating bolt, unlike the blowback-driven telescopic bolt of IMI/IWI Uzi Sub-Machine Gun (SMG). Due to the momentum from the added mass of the piston rod, the system is more reliable as it enables better extraction, ejection, chambering, and locking of the bolt. Thus, the weapon is more dependable for in-spec as well as out-of-spec ammunition. The barrel length is about 12 inches or 300 mm with 1 turn in 250 mm RH.

The effective firing range of the PDW is 200 m. Its design includes multiple MIL-STD-1913 picatinny rails (P-Rails) on top receiver cover and lower handguard for mounting different types of modern optics, foregrip and flashlight. Additionally, if required, P-Rails on upper handguard can help mount Laser Aiming Modules (LAMs) although there can be zeroing issues. The design also includes an ambidextrous fire selector with 3 modes (S,1,A); the cyclic rate of fire in auto-mode is close to 800 rounds per minute (rpm). Prototypes of the weapon were seen with stamped metal sheet made upper receiver coupled with polymer lower handguard, while they’ve used the metal injection molding technique in the manufacturing of production models.

The 5.56×30 mm MINSAS cartridge was developed by the ARDE for personal defence uses. According to ARDE, the ammunition has some good armor penetration capability which is either better or comparable to FN 5.7×28 mm and H&K 4.6×30 mm cartridges used in the FN P90 PDW and H&K MP7 PDW respectively. The ammunition is being manufactured at Ammunition Factory Khadki in Pune.

5.56×30 mm MINSAS | © DRDO

Weapon’s Data

Caliber5.56 mm
Cartridge5.56×30 mm MINSAS
Mass (w/o loaded magazine)3 kg
Overall length750 mm (Buttstock extended ) 350 mm (Buttstock retracted )
Barrel length300 mm (11.8 inches)
Rifling1 turn in 250 mm RH
Effective range200 m
Magazine capacity30 rounds
Rate of fire (cyclic)800 rpm

Ammunition Data

Cartridge5.56×30 mm MINSAS
Length and Width42 mm
Overall Weight9.2 g
Bullet Mass3 g
ConsistencyFigure of Merit <5cm
Effective RangeTill 200 m
Muzzle Velocity655 m/s +/- 15 m/s
24 layer Kevlar penetrationTill 200 m
3.5 mm Mild Steel (MS) plate penetrationTill 200 m
Ballistic genatine at 5 m range16 inches
Design features of JVPC | © DoO
Accessories | © DoO

Current & Potential Users

It’s not new for a DRDO-developed firearm, which was originally designed and developed to meet the requirements of Indian Army, to end up first in the hands of other forces such as state police forces, coast guard and CAPFs. JVPC’s brother from another mother, Amogh 5.56×30 mm MINSAS carbine is already in-service with a couple of users including Indian Navy. Quite ironic for the design that beat Amogh for the Indian Army’s protective carbine requirement to get left behind. The weapon was ceremonially accepted by the then Minister of Home Affairs, Mr. Rajnath from the then Minister of Defence, Mrs. Nirmala Sitharaman in the year 2017. It marked its service induction into the CAPFs and state police forces. This led to successful user trials of the weapon which in turn changed the fate of the weapon.

In 2017, Chhattisgarh Police became the first user of the weapon with an order of 640 units. CRPF purchased over 5000 units in the year 2019 and CISF is also a known user of the weapon. According to Mr. Sandeep Unnithan of Indian Today Networks, another force that is responsible for the protection of Prime Minister, Special Protection Group (SPG) conducted successful trials of the weapon. Finally, in 2020, DRDO announced that the weapon had completed all the phases of Indian Army’s trials. The weapon reportedly, met all the parameters of qualitative requirements and now awaits orders. With induction into different forces and successful user trials, the weapon will attract more orders. After getting snubbed by the Belgian small-arms manufacturer, Special Frontier Force (SFF) might also end up inducting the weapon in its inventory. It’s German cousin is already in service with the counterpart of Indian Navy’s Elite surface warfare group, MARCOS, and the force might look to induct the weapon in the upcoming future.

H&K MP7 w/EOTech Optic & AN/PEQ-15 |NSW Operator

JVPC’s connection with AK-203i

India recently signed a contract with Russia for procurement of 6,01,427 AK-203i (Indian version of AK-200 family) rifles through Indo-Russia Rifles Pvt Ltd (IRRPL), a joint venture between DoO, Kalashnikov Concern with Rosoboronexport holding a minority stake. This deal along with 1.44 lakh american-made SiG-716i 7.62×51 mm NATO rifles will help in the modernisation of Infantry by replacing in-service INSAS variants. Apart from this, Indian Army is still in the search for around 1 lakh carbines. But how does this connect AK-203i with JVPC? The rifle-manufacturing facility located in Korwa which will manufacture these AK-203i assault rifles is the same DoO factory which was originally established for the production of JVPC.

Reticle of BEL TriNetra MWRS & ITL MARS Optic | © Mr. Sandeep & Mr. Kevin

Images of JVPC from a recent DoO Expo by one of our frequent guest authors, Mr. Palash Choudhari

By Alpha Defense

Alpha Defense initially a solo venture but now a defense group by people from various demographics of India covering defense news and updates. We believe in unbiased analysis of every subject in hand. Our mission is to provide simplfiied defense information to the public.

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