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The Russian military’s new assault rifle has passed its field tests

Yahoo News

The AK-12 assault rifle has passed military field tests and meets all of the Russian armed forces’ design and operational standards, gunmaker Kalashnikov Concern says, according to Jane’s 360.

The AK-12’s success in military trials sets it up to become the standard weapon for soldiers in Russia’s Ratnik — or Warrior — future weapon system.

Work on the AK-12 began in 2011 with the AK-200 as a base model. Kalashnikov Concern presented prototypes in early 2012, and the first generation of the weapon was also successful in military tests.

However, according to Jane’s, the Russian military requested design alterations and wanted the new weapon to be cheaper to make. The company then produced the second-generation version of the weapon, using a 5.45 mm round with the AK-400 as its base model. The second-generation model also addressed issues regarding full-automatic fire.

The 5.45 mm AK-12 is being developed with the 7.62 mm AK-15 — both of which are to be teamed with the 5.45 mm RPK-16 light support weapon. The Russian military has also been testing A545 and A762 assault rifles — 5.45 mm and 7.62 mm, respectively — made by Kovrov Mechanical Works.

Both the AK-12 and the AK-15 keep some traditional Kalashnikov features and are compatible with magazines used by earlier versions of the AK-74 and the AKM rifles, according to Modern Firearms. The new weapons are designed to offer better accuracy in all conditions, can be fitted with add-ons like sighting equipment and bayonets, and can carry a 40 mm grenade launcher under the barrel.

5,45mm_AK 12_6P70_assault_rifle_at_Military technical_forum_ARMY 2016_03

5,45mm_AK 12_6P70_assault_rifle_at_Military technical_forum_ARMY 2016_03

(A right-side view of the final production model of the AK-12, which is based on the AK-400 prototype.Wikimedia Commons)

Arms experts have said the AK-12 is not a grand departure from the AK-74, which is the current standard weapon for the Russian military.

“There are improvements but very modest on the background of excessive expectations triggered by a media campaign,” Mikhail Degtyarev, editor-in-chief of Kalashnikov magazine, told Army Recognition in May, making specific mention of ergonomic improvements.

Nor do observers see the wholesale replacement of the AK-74 on the horizon, as that weapon is “a very successful design but … needs modernization,” military expert Viktor Murakhovsky told Army Recognition. “It is necessary to considerably improve combat engagement convenience, including ergonomics, and provide a possibility to mount additional devices.”

Alongside the AK-12/AK-15 package, Kalashnikov Concern has been working on an AK-74 upgrade that includes a folding and telescoping stock, rails for add-ons, and a more ergonomic fire selector and handgrip.

AK-74M

AK-74M

(The Russian military’s AK-74M in the field.Russian Defense Ministry)

The Russian military has been designing and testing a variety of futuristic gear for the Ratnik program over the past year.

That includes modernized body armor, bulletproof shields, tactical computers, and a helmet equipped with night vision and thermal-imaging devices.

According to Russian state-owned outlet RT, the country’s military has also debuted a combat suit with a “powered exoskeleton” that purportedly gives the wearer more strength and endurance, as well as high-tech body armor and a helmet and visor covering the entire face.

The suit, however, remains a few years from production, and it’s “unclear whether these type of suits will eventually make it to the battlefield,” Stratfor analyst Sim Tack told Business Insider in June.

The US military is also looking to make broad changes to parts of its arsenal as well. Congress appears to be on board with those moves.

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12 Responses to The Russian military’s new assault rifle has passed its field tests

  1. Vekar says:

    Greater accuracy… Outstanding! Something always lacking in AK designs, dont like the smaller cartridge though, body armor keeps getting better and you need more speed and oomph to pierce. Hate that weak ass collapsible stock, damn shame.

    The idea of issuing guns that are pre-camouflaged though… I like that.

  2. Mark Schumacher in LV says:

    The Russians know how to build airplanes and they know how to build rifles…Anything AK is an excellent choice. Wouldn’t mind having an SU50 sitting in my hanger either.

    • Vekar says:

      AK’s are not actually rifles they are in the machinegun area, the Mosin Nagant is a grand example of a damn fine rifle though.

      Now if the Russians would make a hybrid of the machinegun/rifle category with a larger AP cartridge…

  3. BMF says:

    Staying with the 5.45 round seems like a mistake. Like Vekar noted, it just doesn’t have the power to get through modern hard armor, even in its AP form.

    Unless the Russians plan for all their future conflicts to be like those of the US — waged against farmers, goatherds, and other non-soldiers — they should be thinking about a more powerful weapon, and their issue ammo should be AP.

  4. Jimmy Neutron says:

    It’s just another AK. I don’t see anything new about it.

  5. NC says:

    War is definitely a racket and we are at an arms race with Russia. All of this money from the military industrial complexes in every country going into weapons rather than making the world a better place. What can we say these days, “War is Peace”, right? So sad.

  6. Enemy of the State says:

    I get what all you guys are saying about “the more powerful round” but that dont win wars

    wounded is what wins .. because if you wound 1 guy you effectively take at least 1 or up to three more guys out of the fight dealing with the wounded, than there is the, wound 1 guy , and 4 come to his rescue , than now you have a target rich environment where up to 3-8 guys can be targets thinking they are coming to his aid, but in reality they have just entered the slaughter zone

    you flat out kill the guy ,, every other soldier walks on past him

    I know how I’ll be dealing with this kind of trouble if it ever comes to my hood…nope , not sayin’

  7. Ed teach says:

    Bring back the Russian issued 5.45 ball. It explodes when it hits due to a hollow space behind jacket. It’s banned here.I

    I agree with EotS, wound. That shooting of Scalise was a fine example of how to ruin someone physically for life with a long agonizing death.
    Gabby giff-tard wasn’t using her brain so her wound mattered little.

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