The Singapore Assault Rifle 80 (SAR 80) is an indigenously built, conventional assault rifle from Singapore.
History and development
In the late 1960s, the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) adopted the AR-15 as their main service rifle. Due to difficulties in obtaining the rifles from the United States, the Singaporean government purchased a license to domestically manufacture the M16 rifle, which was then designated the M16S1. However, the domestic rifle requirements were not sufficient to allow Chartered Industries of Singapore (CIS, now Singapore Technologies Kinetics) to economically maintain operations at its rifle factory. Export sales of the M16S1 were not a viable option. Due to the requirements of the license agreement, CIS had to request permission from Colt and the US State Department to allow any export sale, which they rarely granted.
In 1976, CIS began to develop its own assault rifle with the aim to supply these rifles for the SAF and for foreign countries. To save time, CIS invited some engineers from the British company Sterling Armaments Ltd. In the early 1970s, Sterling engineers had developed their own 5.56 mm rifle design, the LAR, but this had been shelved when Sterling acquired a manufacturing licence for the US-designed Armalite AR-18 assault rifle. While Sterling could not legally sublicense the AR-18, their LAR design was available. As a result, the new Singapore rifle design closely resembled the LAR with certain AR-18 elements.
The first prototypes came out in 1978 and the final design was approved by the SAF in 1984 under the name of SAR 80. This rifle was used to some extent by Singapore Army and was also exported to some countries, including Sri Lanka, Somalia and Croatia.
The SAR 80 is a gas operated, selective fire weapon of simple construction. It uses short stroke gas piston that pushes the massive bolt carrier with rotating bolt. The bolt carrier rides on two guide rods. Each rod has a recoil spring around it, and the gas piston rod has its own return spring. The receiver is made from steel stampings. The pistol grip, handguards and buttstock are made from plastic. Ammo is fed using STANAG compatible magazines. The rifle has a gas regulator that can be turned off completely in order to safely launch rifle grenades from the muzzle.
The successor to this weapon is the SR-88.
It has been mistakenly reported in many foreign articles (including Jane's Guns Recognition Guide) that this weapon is the standard assault rifle of the Singapore Army. On the contrary, it was not widely adopted and Singapore soldiers were never trained on the weapon.
Although consideration was given to replace the M16S1 with the SAR 80 due to its lower manufacturing costs and reliability, it was not well received because it was less user friendly and heavier. As a result, the M16S1 remained the mainstay of the Singapore Armed Forces until it was replaced by the SAR 21 in early 2000s. Only 20,000 SAR 80 were bought by Singapore, and most have been phased out in favour of the newer SAR 21. As of 2000, an undisclosed number of SAR 80 are still being stored in Singapore Police armouries and used in Army logistics units.
fr:SAR 80 pl:Karabin SAR-80 ru:CIS SAR-80