New assault rifle submachine gun Ratnik Russia 12105173

Military Defense Industry Technology - Rifles for Ratnik
 
New assault rifle and submachine gun for Russian Ratnik future soldier outfit for end of this year.
By the end of the year the Russian military can choose a submachine gun to equip the new Ratnik outfit. At present automatic rifles of two producers are undergoing tests - Kalashnikov (AK-12 and AK-15) and Kovrov enterprise (A545, A762). It is possible that both rifles will become operational, Lenta-ru online publication said.
     
By the end of the year the Russian military can choose a submachine gun to equip the new Ratnik outfit. At present automatic rifles of two producers are undergoing tests - Kalashnikov (AK-12 and AK-15) and Kovrov enterprise (A545, A762). It is possible that both rifles will become operational, Lenta-ru online publication said.
Kalashnikov
AK-12 assault rifle
     
The Ratnik dubbed as "future soldier outfit" is one of the major modernization projects in the Russian army. The most interesting part is the choice of the rifle to replace currently operational AK-74M. The military want to have the new weapon with two calibers - 5.45 and 7.62mm. It is only logical as after the Soviet army switched in 1974 to 5.45x39mm cartridges some units - reconnaissance, commando, etc. continued to use 7.62x39 firearms.

Two producers bid to arm the soldier of the future: the Kalashnikov Concern and the Degtyarev plant in Kovrov. The latter submitted a design which was rejected by the military in the past century. It is AEK-971 with trimmed-out automatics. It means the bolt assembly has a special rocker beam equal in weight with connected tooth wheel. During a shot the rocker beam moves in different direction against the bolt assembly and compensates the strike impulse on the back wall of the receiver and thus considerably decreases the upwards movement of the rifle. As a result, the AEK accuracy of fire in bursts is 15-20 percent superior to AK-74.

The AEK-971 was designed by the Kovrov Mechanical Works for Abakan contest announced by the Defense Ministry in 1978. At that time the military believed the solutions used in the rifle were unfounded and the submachine gun did not even reach the final. However it did not vanish altogether and was upgraded in the 1990s and produced in small batches for the Interior Ministry and other law enforcement agencies. It continued up to 2006 when the Kovrov enterprise stopped weapons production and handed it over to ZiD enterprise. In 2010 it launched small-batch production of AEK-971 and upgraded the rifle. In 2014 the latest modifications were submitted for the Ratnik contest as A545 of 5.45mm caliber and 7.62mm A762.
     
By the end of the year the Russian military can choose a submachine gun to equip the new Ratnik outfit. At present automatic rifles of two producers are undergoing tests - Kalashnikov (AK-12 and AK-15) and Kovrov enterprise (A545, A762). It is possible that both rifles will become operational, Lenta-ru online publication said.
Kalashnikov
AK-15 assault rifle 7.62x39mm
     
The Kalashnikov Concern presented a new version of AK-12 submachine gun. Its history is not that long as of AEK but is also twisty. The design of the rifle began in 2011 specifically for Ratnik. The author of the idea and the head of the project was then Designer General of the concern Vladimir Zlobin. According to arms expert and Editor-in-Chief of Kalashnikov magazine Mikhail Degtyarev, the new rifle created on the basis of AK has practically no interchangeable parts with its prototype.

In was announced in 2015 that the submachinegun began government acceptance tests. In the autumn of 2016 the Army-2016 show featured an AK-12 rifle which had nothing in common with the submachinegun promoted by Kalashnikov for five years.

The new AK-12 (and its AK-15 option for 7.62x39mm cartridge) resembled AK-74M rifle in the modernized Obves set with a telescopic buttstock like that of US M16/M4, ergonomic handle, Picatinny rails on barrel extension, grip, gas tube, etc. "I believe current AK-12 to be an option of AK-74M. They are not amended rifles within one design, they are different firearms. And different rifles should not have the same name," Degtyarev said.

There were claims that the military demanded AK-12 designers to unify the rifle to the maximum with operational AK-74M.
     
By the end of the year the Russian military can choose a submachine gun to equip the new Ratnik outfit. At present automatic rifles of two producers are undergoing tests - Kalashnikov (AK-12 and AK-15) and Kovrov enterprise (A545, A762). It is possible that both rifles will become operational, Lenta-ru online publication said.
Kalashnikov
AK-15 and AK-12 assault rifles
     
The Kalashnikov Concern was reserved in explaining the difference between the initial and final options of the rifle. "The displayed samples were upgraded according to the results of government acceptance tests and differ from previous options by appearance and construction of several important units," it said. In particular, the construction of the barrel extension and the gas unit has been changed. The barrel is overhanging as much as it is possible in AK which has to increase the accuracy of fire. There is also the mentioned telescopic buttstock, a more convenient gun safety lock/fire switch and a possibility to shoot in a fixed burst mode. The main secret of AK-12 is likely the new barrel extension cap with Picattinny rails to mount sights. Kalashnikov representatives say the cap construction makes it possible to mount and safely keep sighting devices on it. Such options of AK-12 and AK-15 rifles were handed over to the military for field tests.

The main intermediate result of the contest is as follows: the Ratnik project will hardly produce a rifle of the future or a new-generation submachinegun. "There are improvements but very modest on the background of excessive expectations triggered by a media campaign. Local successes include ergonomic improvements of existing firearms. There can be no talk about a breakthrough or even a major modernization of the rifles," Degtyarev said.

Many experts and the military see no necessity in replacing the AK-74M which suits the army in general. "The experience of all wars shows that the main requirement is reliability," said military expert Viktor Murakhovsky. "AK-74 is a very successful design but it needs modernization. It is necessary to considerably improve combat engagement convenience, including ergonomics, and provide a possibility to mount additional devices," he said. The expert said that in case of a large-scale war it would be necessary to arm an army up to two million men strong and in this case "a transfer to a completely new rifle would be inappropriate".

Besides, military warehouses have accumulated up to 17 million Kalashnikov rifles which can be modernized through the Obves set if necessary.

Lenta.ru interlocutors believe the Kalashnikov Concern would win the Ratnik contest as its rifle is the best option from the point of view of production technologies, logistics and real army needs. Besides, Kalashnikov enjoys higher lobbying possibilities than ZiD. The capacities of the Kovrov enterprise do not allow launching massive production of the rifle to rearm the troops. It means even in case AEK-971 wins the contest its production is likely to be entrusted to Kalashnikov, Lenta.ru believes.
 

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