An AK-12 assault rifle on display at a Russian arms show. The rifle was selected by the Russian Defense Ministry to be fielded to the country’s ground, airborne and naval infantry forces this year.
As the U.S. Marine Corps actively works to procure new Heckler & Koch M27 rifles for his or her infantry, Russian soldiers consider automatically assault rifle acquisition process.
The Russian Defense Ministry confirmed in January which it intends to field the AK-12 and AK-15 assault rifles for service, which shoot 5.45×39 mm and 7.62×39 mm cartridges, respectively.
“A decision has been manufactured about the AK-12 as well as the AK-15. The submachine guns are already recommended as armament in the ground forces, the airborne force and naval infantry,” the Kalashnikov press office said in January, in accordance with TASS, a Russian state-news agency.
The Russian military has had several false starts in announcing purchasing with the new AK rifles, with retractions issued shortly after your initial celebratory announcements. This time, though, what is the news seems to have stuck.
The new Kalashnikov variants were selected after undergoing trials throughout 2017, Kalashnikov Group CEO Alexei Krivoruchko told TASS. He added the famed rifle manufacturer was ready to begin serial deliveries this season.
“New Kalashnikov rifles combine famous, battle-proven high reliability with modern ergonomics, increased hit probability and capabilities to effectively utilise all modern accessories, from red dot, night and IR sights to [under-barrel] grenade launchers, forward grips, lasers and flashlights, sound suppressors plus more,” the Kalashnikov Group said inside a press statement.
The AK-12 and AK-15 rifles share many in the same parts and assemblies, apart from the ammunition used. Compact versions of both rifles, made for close quarters battle, are available for Russian special operations forces, “or as personal defense weapons for heavy armament and vehicle crews,” the press statement reads.
The two weapons’ specifications, converted from metric, include:
- Caliber: 5.45х39 (AK-12) or 7.62х39 (AK-15)
- Length, overall: 34-37 inches
- Length, shoulder stock folded: 27 inches
- Barrel length: 16.33 inches
- Weight, with empty magazine: 7.7 lbs
- Rate of fire: 700 rounds/min
- Magazine capacity: 30 rounds
The new AK variants are section of the Russian military’s “Ratnik” program, which is looking to marriage future combat gear into one system to the country’s infantry. Other gear pieces supposed to be upgraded include modernized body armor, a thermal and night vision optic that come with a helmet, new communications gear and specialized headphones.
While not all bits of Ratnik are set, parts have already been combat-tested in the ongoing Syrian Civil War, in accordance with Dmitry Semizorov, the CEO with the Central Research Institute of Precision Machine-Making, an exclusive company with significant state oversight.
“You all probably realize that the Ratnik was used in Syria and I am getting at that the combat gear proved its worth during combat operations,” Semizorov said at the defense industry event in Moscow this past year. “I need to assure you that none with the elements of the combat gear’s protection was ever pierced.”
It’s interesting to make note of that before U.S. State Department sanctions were introduced in July 2014 against a slew of Russian companies, the United States included 90 percent in the Kalashnikov Group’s civilian firearms exports, based on Bloomberg.
The company’s American counterpart, Kalashnikov USA, reportedly still sells guns from one of their three dozen dealers through the United States. In order to avoid sanctions, the U.S. counterpart severed ties while using Russian motherland simply sells guns of the company’s own creation, constructed with U.S. parts, based on Bloomberg.
Although, the March Bloomberg article does allege there could be an online of “interlocking shell companies” connecting Kalashnikov USA to top Russian officials.