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Russia’s newest assault rifle goes into series production to face AK-74 legend

MOSCOW, (BM) – BulgarianMilitary.com reports on the start of serial production of the A-545 assault rifle, citing a source in the military-industrial complex. “The contract with the Ministry of Defense has been signed, production is underway,” the source said. The A-545 is developed on the basis of AEK-971.

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As specified, a new model of small arms created for equipment “Warrior”. Earlier, the military department reported that the A-545 should go into service with the Airborne Forces by the end of 2020, along with lots of sniper rifles SV-98, SVDS and VSSM, AFM “Val” submachine guns and other small arms.

Recall that the adoption of new AK-12 and Ak-15 assault rifles, as well as AEK-971 and AEK-973, became known in January 2018. The first two, which are modernized versions of a Kalashnikov assault rifle, were chosen for the role of mass weapons, while special forces units will use the products of the Degtyarev plant.

Among the main advantages of the new version of Kalashnikov are simplicity and reliability. As for AEK, it also performs better when firing from an unstable position.

AEK-971 dates back to the 70s: weapons were developed for the Abakan contest of the Soviet Ministry of Defense. Then preference was given to the machine gun AN-94, which later received the designation “Abakan”. In the 90s, AEK-971 was modernized, which gave him a ticket to a new life. Subsequently, weapons were released in small batches.

AEK-971 was built according to the traditional layout scheme. Structurally, it largely repeats the Kalashnikov assault rifle: the weapon used a rotary shutter and reload automation based on a gas engine, which is driven by powder gases discharged through a gas pipe above the barrel. The A-545 modification uses 5.45 mm caliber cartridges, while the A-762 uses 7.62 mm caliber cartridges.

Recall that the US Army recently began to receive new models of small arms: it is a MCX-SPEAR rifle and a SIG-LMG-6.8 light machine gun, which is manufactured by SIG Sauer. These samples were created as part of a large-scale rearmament program for the Ground Forces NGSW (Next Generation Squad Weapons) and use 6.8 mm caliber cartridges.

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If the complexes of the SIG Sauer will win in the competition, they will replace the US Army’s famous M4 carbines and M249 machine guns.

Principle of Operation and Design

The main competitors of the A-545 today are:

  • Nikonov’s assault rifle, AN-94 Abakan, has sufficient reliability, but it has an unacceptable complexity of the device and has the advantage of accuracy only when firing a fixed burst;
  • a remake from the Kalashnikov Concern, under the AK-12 brand, which is the same AK-74M plastic-hung and improved ergonomically, at the same time not having high efficiency or accuracy.
  • consisting of the AK-74M, which they are trying to bring to standard, but also only in terms of ergonomics, it is no longer possible to increase the accuracy or efficiency of fire from it.

It should be noted that, despite the high accuracy of the two-cartridge queue, an automatic machine with an offset recoil impulse does not guarantee the same accuracy in the conduct of automatic fire.

At the same time, its design is very complicated, and is not suitable for arming linear parts, a conscript soldier simply will not understand the intricacies of rods, rollers and cables, which will lead to the rapid decommissioning or repair of weapons.

AEK balanced, shock-free automation in this case is more efficient, its main characteristic feature is the presence of cargo on the counter-passage of the shutter.

If you take a conventional gas vent AKM-AK-74 or advertised by the Kalashnikov concern AK-12, for example. When fired, gases from the burnt gunpowder falling into the gas chamber push the bolt of the bolt back toward the arrow. The slide frame, rolling along the guides, cockes the trigger, removes the spent sleeve from the chamber and throws it out.

At the same time, this movement significantly pulls the body of the machine, moving its barrel away from the line of sight. Having rolled back to the extreme point, the bolt frame stops with a sharp push, the return spring rolls it back. This process also pulls the weapon in the hands of the shooter. Returning the shutter, it grabs the cartridge from the magazine and sends it to the chamber, after which, turning, it locks it.

In the balanced automation of weapons, part of these actions is compensated by the movement of the counterweight, thereby reducing the fluctuation of the weapon in the hands of the shooter and thereby increasing the accuracy of the weapon. The shock of the bolt frame is compensated in its front and extreme rear position, it is clear that this mechanism does not compensate for jerking during movement.

It is enough to note that in the AK-107 and AK-108 submachine guns of the Kalashnikov design, as well as the A-545/762 of the Koksharov design, the accuracy of automatic firing is two times higher than that of the linear AK-74M, AK-101 or AK-103.

Read more: A legend of automatic pistols still serves special forces around the world

The device itself is relatively simple, its main parts are the receiver, in which the barrel, control stick and butt are fixed, the shutter frame and return spring are placed in it. On the trunk is a gas vent with a counterflow device.

Fire controls are located on the right side of the receiver, but at the same time there is the possibility of their quick rearrangement on the other side, which should facilitate the use of the machine left-handed.

Handguard and pad are made of glass-filled black polyamide.

On the A-545, an automatic machine, the entire standard body kit of Russian production can be installed:

  • grenade launchers GP-25 and 30;
  • bayonet-knives of a standard design;
  • various types of DTK and tactical silencers type ATG;
  • Ammunition is produced from standard stores of the AK family.

This greatly simplifies the operation of weapons in the troops.

The submachine gun can be used as old-style stores: submachine guns with 30 rounds, from the RPK-74 light machine gun with 45 rounds. So are the new, four-row stores for 60 rounds. Sample A-762 chambered for 7.62 × 39 uses the entire range of AKM and RPK stores, including a “can” of 75 rounds.

Ammunition

For firing from all of the above weapons, standard army cartridges are used, which are in service with the RA. First of all, it is a cartridge of 5.45×39 mm caliber. This ammunition has several advantages over the earlier “seven” (7.62 mm arr. 1943). Among the advantages of the cartridge is worth noting:

– flatness of the trajectory, long range of a direct shot, in other words, this is such a shot at which the height of the trajectory does not exceed the growth of the target;
– greater wearable ammunition, if the wearable stock of the “seven” is 300 rounds, then for 5.45 mm – 440 rounds and higher;
– the high speed of the bullet’s flight, 5.45 mm, allows the target to make much less body movements between the shot and the hit, in addition it will take less lead.

Read more: Top 5 best American assault rifles in the world

Read more: Top 5 best assault rifles in the world

Despite these advantages, 7.62×39 mm also has its advantages, which the low-impulse cartridge does not possess. So, for example, a normal silent complex has not yet been developed for the 5.45 mm caliber, while under the 7.62 mm PBBS and the US cartridge are rather mass produced, the bullets of which have a subsonic speed. In addition, the “seven” has a significant assortment of bullets for various purposes, which cannot be said about the “five”.

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