Copy of Russian PKT 7.62mm machine gun will be produced in United States

The US-based Purple Shovel company is planning to produce a copy of the Kalashnikov PKT 7.62 mm medium machine gun, several US media outlets say. According to the ImportGenius website of customs declarations, the Ukrinmash company (a subsidiary of the Ukrspecexport company) sold a package of documents on the manufacturing of the KT-7.62 medium machine gun worth UAH7 million (USD267,000) in December 2017. This set comprised an explanatory note, assembly drawings, specifications, engineering drawings of the machine gun's components, and 3D models.

Copy of Russian PKT 7 62mm machine gun will be produced in United States 925 001
Russian-made 7.62mm PKT machine gun (Picture source Vitaly Kuzmin)

This is noteworthy that the KT-7.62 is a non-licensed copy of the Kalashnikov PKT machine gun. The Kiev-based Mayak plant (a subsidiary of the Ukroboronprom concern), the manufacturer of the KT-7.62, is not reported to have obtained a relevant license to produce the PKT. Ukrainian designers have not introduced any major changes to the design of the weapon. The KT-7.62 is said to have received a barrel with increased service life (up to 25,000 shots) and an ammo box made of soft canvas. Other features of the weapon are identical to those of the baseline model. It should also be mentioned that the Ukrainian-made barrels of both cannons and small guns have low service life; therefore, the statement, according to which the KT-7.62 machine gun is fitted with a high-performance barrel, seems to be an exaggerated one.

According to the official catalogue of the Mayak plant, the KT-7.62 tank machine gun is chambered for Soviet/Russian 7.62x54R (also designated M1908) cartridge. The weapon has a full weight of 18.5 kg (including a body of 10.5 kg and an ammo box of 8 kg), a muzzle velocity of 855 m/s, and a rate of fire of 800 rounds per minute. The KT-7.62 is fed by a belt with a capacity of 100, 200 or 250 cartridges. The Mayak plant also produces a non-licensed copy of the PKM medium machine gun under the KM-7.62 designation.

According to the blog of the Center for Analysis of Strategies and Technologies (CAST), Pentagon supplies Soviet-originated weapons to allied Middle Eastern guerilla forces in order to counter the terrorists of the Islamic State (IS, forbidden in Russia). The US Department of Defense (DoD) is planning to deliver 62,000 Kalashnikov AK assault rifles, 7,500 Kalashnikov PKM medium machine guns, 3,500 Degtyaryov-Shpagin DShK heavy machine guns, 3,400 RPG-7 rocket-propelled grenade launchers, 744 Dragunov 7.62 mm sniper rifles, and unspecified numbers of the SPG-9 recoilless rifles and 82 mm mortars in 2018-2019. The contractors of Pentagon are reported to be procuring Soviet-originated firearms in Eastern Europe.

The Purple Shovel company is also planning to supply Kalashnikov-type firearms to the Untied States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM). The enterprise is known to have obtained rights (provided by the US Government, not by Russia's Kalashnikov Group) to sell Kalashnikov AK assault rifles that will be produced by the Inter Ordnance company in Florida. The Kalashnikov USA enterprise is also planning to build a line to produce AK rifle in this very state. The company says it has broken any connections with the Kalashnikov Group. It is also planning to manufacture the world-known AK; however, at present the Kalashnikov USA produces only its own KS-12 carbines.

It should be mentioned that several US enterprises are manufacturing non-licensed copies of the renowned RPG-7 rocket-propelled grenade launcher. For instance, the AirTronic USA company has already sold a number of the PSRL-1 (a copy of the RPG-7) grenade launchers worth USD360,000 to a logistic agency of the US DoD. The RR Defence Systems company based in Chicago is also planning to produce its own copy of the RPG-7.

However, the US efforts to produce Soviet-originated weapons have been almost fruitless up to date. "This is an ongoing effort, and we have yet to find any [US-based] manufacturers," USSOCOM press secretary Ken Macgregor told the Tampa Bay Times newspaper.

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