The appearance of a made in Indonesia bullpup assault rifle is not a first in itself, as the first firearm in that configuration was exhibited at Indo Defense 2006, another project, this time a Designated Marksman Rifle in 7.62 mm calibre being shown ten years later. Both were developed by the R&D division of PT Pindad, the state-owned defence company.
At the 2022 edition of Indo Defense a new bullpup assault rifle, this time chambered for the 5.56×45 mm NATO calibre was unveiled by PT Republik Armamen, a private company part of Republik Orp, a holding that regroups numerous companies operating in the defence business that was formed in 2014.
The new rifle is known as IFAR 22, for Indonesian Future Assault Rifle, and is available in two version with different barrel lengths, respectively 20-inch (508 mm) and 16-inch (406 mm), barrels being provided by PT Pindad.
The design is user-friendly also for left-handed soldiers as not only all commands can are available on both sides, but also the brass ejection port can be reverted, switching the opening on the left to avoid spent cases to hit the shooter. A typical gas piston operated rifle, the IFAR 22 rate of fire is of 600-800 rounds per minute, the three-position selector being installed on top of the pistol grip allowing the shooter to operate it easily, The IFAR 22 is fed by a standard STANAG 4179 30-round magazine.
A full-length Picatinny rail is available on top of the receiver; the two rifles exhibited in Bangkok were fitted with a transport handle fixed to that rail, the handle also being fitted with a full length Picatinny o top, allowing installing different types of sight. The shorter barrel version was seen with flip up iron sights, while the 20-inch version was equipped with a red dot sight and a magnifier, with a laser pointer installed at the forward end of the rail.
At 3- and 9-o’ clock we find KeyMod slots permitting the direct attachment of accessories or, as in the case of exhibited weapons, a short element of Picatinny rail. A short Picatinny is available at 6-o’ clock, where a front handle was installed.
The huge advantage of the bullpup configuration over the traditional one is its compactness, the 20-inch rifle being only 780 mm long while the shorter version with a 16-inch barrel is 698 mm long, respective weights being 3.7 and 3.6 kg.
According to information acquired by EDR On-Line at the exhibition, the IFAR 22, which we understood being still at prototype level, was tested in early 2022 by the Indonesian Army R&D branch, which fired several thousands of round. PT Republik Armamen is of course looking at the national market as launch customer, albeit the Indonesian Army is still receiving the last SS2 rifles, a conventional design model also in 5.56 mm, but its presence at Indo Defense also shows the will to promote it on the international market.
Photo courtesy J. Roukoz