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Kalashnikov assault rifle: what will it become in the future

PANAGYURISHTE, (BM) – In 2017, the Kalashnikov concern handed over to the Center for Traffic Management a project video complex capable of analyzing the traffic situation in the capital.

Read more: A hypersonic bullet for an army sniper rifle is being developed in Russia

The manufacturer of the well-known machine gun reaches a qualitatively new level: the technology of neural networks is already used in its products, and drones attract foreign buyers.

Arsenal of the country

Initially, the world-famous machine was produced at the Izhmash research and production association. By 2008-2009, the crisis of the association was clearly defined, which included about a hundred more legal entities.

The Savior was the state corporation Rostec, which carried out a restructuring through bankruptcy and association. The newly formed Kalashnikov concern under the wing of a powerful organization (Rostec owns 51% of the shares) significantly expanded the range of products and opened up for private investors.

Nevertheless, the main products of the company remain small arms: 90% of all automatic and 95% of all sniper weapons leave the factory. The popular belief that the legendary “Kalashnikov” is a simple “bast” weapon, stuck in its development at the level of 74, is already untenable.

At the moment, state tests of the fifth-generation automatic machine, AK-12, are already being completed. The new weapon, despite all its advanced indicators, retains its traditional reliability, ease of development and, of course, comparative cheapness.

In addition to Kalashnikov, currently mass-produced already in the “hundredth series”, and sniper rifles, the concern develops and manufactures modern types of ammunition.

Read more: Top 5 best long-range rifles (sniper rifles) in the world

According to military experts, the leading role in future military conflicts will be played by high-precision weapons, which significantly save money and save the lives of civilians and infrastructure.

The 152-mm (155-mm export) projectile produced by the Krasnopol laser semi-active homing laser allows to hit even moving targets from the first shot.

Equally impressive is the 122 mm Kitol shell. Such ammunition has great export potential: they are interested in countries that seek to transfer their armies to a qualitatively new level as soon as possible: India, Saudi Arabia, the UAE.

In the concern’s development strategy, designed until 2020, an important place is given to expanding the assortment of competitive products in world markets. Therefore, Kalashnikov united not only defense enterprises, but also factories and design bureaus for the production of civilian products.

Among the “brands” of the concern: hunting weapons “Baikal”, sports rifles “Izhmash”, as well as shipbuilding enterprises “Rybinsk Shipyard” and “Vympel”. Many of the civilian goods were presented this year in the group’s pavilion at the Army 2017 forum. Particular attention of visitors was focused on stands with new hunting rifles and promising drones.

The pride of “Kalashnikov” is the group of companies “ZALA Aero” – the largest domestic UAV manufacturer. The devices of the group are capable of not only transporting different volumes of cargo (including up to 6.5 kg), but also shooting and economical monitoring of pipelines and other important infrastructure facilities that span thousands of kilometers.

Read more: Top 5 best assault rifles in the world

In the light of ambitious projects related to the export of energy, ZALA drones will certainly become a welcome commodity. Indeed, on November 27, the Kalashnikov concern announced the creation of a company to provide unmanned aircraft services.

It is assumed that the organization’s customers will be Transneft, Lukoil, Rosneft, Rosatom, Gazprom and many others.

In foreign markets

The representative of the concern abroad in matters of arms export is Rosobornexport, which is actively monitoring the military needs of partner countries. Kalashnikov maintains a good position thanks to the production of models under the NATO cartridge (5.56 mm).

Moreover, the delivery of products is sometimes carried out as a gesture of goodwill on the part of the state: in October 2017, it was reported that Russia transferred the Kalashnikovs to the Philippines to fight terrorism.

Now 18 countries of the world produce automatic weapons under license; in some others, illegal production of these weapons has been launched. The image and sales of the concern in this segment are complicated by the gigantic black market, in which the machine is almost the best seller: for example, they are ready to pay $ 6,000 for “black” Kalashnikovs in India.

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

That is why at the moment the goal of the organization is to promote other types of weapons and, of course, civilian products in foreign markets. Traditionally, hunting weapons of the Baikal brand are very popular in the USA, despite the sanctions.

At the same time, high hopes in the concern are placed on the promotion of the Whirlwind missile system. designed to destroy armored vehicles and low-speed air targets. Installed on aircraft manufactured by Russian Helicopters (also part of Rostec), these missiles are a significant competitive advantage in the global market.

A look into the future

The development strategy, in addition to promising products, emphasizes the need for continuous modernization, increased efficiency, including managerial. At the production level, the company adopted the concept of kaizen, which implies continuous improvement, mainly due to rationalization activities.

The most effective offers of employees, bringing considerable profit to the company, are encouraged by bonuses. The revenues of the concern allow increasing the costs of research and development: the concern has become one of the pioneers of introducing neural networks into real projects, and is also actively developing the direction of robotics.

In December 2016, the “Companion” robotic infantry support complex and the “Nerekhta” small-sized combat robot were tested.

The position of Kalashnikov sets a good example of successful industrial development. Under the wing of the state and a powerful corporation, the company can afford advanced development, equipment upgrades and transformations.

Read more: The eternal dogfight! The AK-47 assault rifle vs. M16 assault rifle

Having made military products the “base” of its production, Kalashnikov is steadily increasing the volume of the civilian segment, gradually becoming one of the leaders in high-tech products.

US experts praise the new Kalashnikov machine gun

The Russian Defense Ministry decided to create the latest weapons, since the Soviet RPK-74 has significant shortcomings. The main advantage of RPK-16 is the presence of an additional bracket, which serves to switch the shooting mode.

They can be changed even with the index finger. In addition, RPK-16 was equipped with a telescopic butt, which allows the shooter to optimize the machine gun for himself.

Also, the lack of RPK-74 was fixed, before it was impossible to quickly replace the barrel. The manufacturer prepared an assault barrel with a length of 410 mm for firing in urban conditions, and for the military, the barrel length is 550 mm.

The machine gun has already successfully completed the tests and is now preparing for deliveries to the troops of the Russian Federation.

All you need to know about RPK-16 machine gun

As we reported on July 8, this year some of the Russian forces, including Spetsnaz will be able to get a new effective weapon – RPK-16. This advanced model of the Kalashnikov light machine gun is already being tested.

The machine gun is similar in design to its predecessor, the old RPK-74, but the developers significantly improved its ergonomic characteristics.

Read more: Dogfight! A-545 vs. AK-12 – which Kalashnikov assault rifle is better?

Improved ergonomics, minimal weight, high accuracy and combat effectiveness – for the Russian army this year they will begin to create a new machine gun.

One of the latest developments – RPK-16 – is being tested. However, the military revealed a number of design flaws, and this will be taken into account.

Three in one

RPK-16 was first presented at the Army forum in 2017. In design, it is in many ways similar to the already quite old RPK-74 machine gun. However, after deep modernization, the ergonomic characteristics have greatly improved.

In particular, the “sixteenth” received a convenient pistol grip with subdigital recesses and a built-in pencil case with accessories for cleaning weapons.

The translator of the fire mode now has a bar under the index finger, and a folding telescopic butt allows the shooter to perfectly adjust the machine gun for himself.

The caliber remained the same – 5.45 x 39 millimeters. One of the innovations is the drum store. This eliminates the serious drawback of the predecessor – the lack of ammunition when firing in long bursts.

The standard RPK-74 magazine holds 45 rounds, the “drum” – 96. According to experts, this is enough for a dense barrage on the battlefield.

Weight is only 4.5 kilograms. The same, for example, the AK-12 assault rifle in a similar body kit. That is, a machine gun can easily be used as a regular assault rifle, shooting with hands. This was not achieved by any arms manufacturer in the world.

Read more: Russian Spetsnaz will receive a new improved Kalashnikov light machine gun

“RPK-74 had two significant drawbacks, although otherwise it proved itself to be excellent,” explains Andrei Kirisenko, world champion in practical shooting, who helped develop RPK-16.

“The store’s capacity was not enough, and because of the bulky weapons, it was difficult for soldiers to they could be dropped, for example, from BMP. In RPK-16, the barrel length was reduced, the butt was made telescopic. It’s convenient to pick up a machine gun and use it even as a simple machine gun.” Kirisenko also said.

A unique feature of the RPK-16 is the single-shot mode of fire. When installing an optical sight, the machine gun turns into a sniper rifle. The accuracy in this case, according to experts, is comparable to the accuracy of SVD – PKK surely hits targets at a distance of up to five hundred meters.

One of the problems of the RPK-74 was the inability to quickly replace the barrel. In RPK-16, this was taken into account. For combat in urban conditions, an assault barrel of 410 millimeters long was provided, and for combined-arms operations – 550 millimeters long.

Incremental evolution

Today, the most common light machine gun in the Russian army and other law enforcement agencies is RPK-74. It was adopted in the mid-1970s.

It has been successfully used in many conflicts and rightfully earned a reputation as a reliable, accurate and unpretentious weapon. RPK automation was almost perfected, and that is why the gunsmiths decided not to reinvent the wheel, but to take as a basis the design, proven by business and time.

Specialists interviewed by RIA Novosti believe that the new generation of machine guns, apparently, will also inherit the main components of the RPK-74.

Read more: Russian Saiga-308 carbine is a self-loading AK under the NATO cartridge

“RPK-16 was operated in an extremely limited way,” says Mikhail Degtyarev, editor-in-chief of Kalashnikov magazine. “Everything that happens to him now is a completely natural way of weapons, which theoretically in the future, according to the results of tests and competitions, can be taken into service with the army.”

RPK-16 passed complex tests for several years. Weapons were tested in all climatic zones. Based on the results of the pilot operation, the military formulated a number of comments and put forward proposals that are being implemented in a promising machine gun.

“The trends are such that they try to reduce weight and dimensions in weapons, increase accuracy, and improve ergonomic characteristics,” adds Kirisenko. “There are a lot of nuances in military tests. Probably, the military asked to make the butt more comfortable, to carry out the fuse differently, something else This is what is called tuning. The basis of the machine gun will not change.”

Combat use

Light machine guns are powerful and effective small arms that do not lose their relevance even today, when there are high-precision assault and sniper rifles.

Hundreds of models and modifications of this type of gunnery were produced in the world. Practice has shown that in numerous small and large armed conflicts light machine guns often played a decisive role on the battlefield.

The machine gunner, a former Alpha special forces soldier, Alexei Filatov, shared with RIA Novosti the experience of operating such weapons in real combat conditions, noting that the RPK-74 special forces preferred a heavier Kalashnikov machine gun (PC).

“Now, of course, they’ve modernized it. First of all, the butt was made shock-absorbing, which allows for more accurate shooting. The PC had its own drawbacks. For example, when firing, there were frequent plugs. Another minus was that after two hundred shots, it’s necessary to change the barrel for heating” the veteran says.

Otherwise, the machine gun starts to “spit” – the bullet flies in the wrong direction, you can’t even get into the growth figure from two hundred meters. Replacement is a short procedure. But you always have to carry a spare barrel with you, which does not facilitate mobility. in an intense battle, the interchangeable barrel will not even have time to cool.” Filatov noted.

Read more: The NX8 optical sight – the compact superiority of the US troops on the battlefield

As for the branded “chip” of machine guns – long, long lines, then, as a rule, in this mode, machine gunners work extremely rarely, preferring to beat short.

Long shooting is mainly used for psychological impact on the enemy. And there are practically no situations where dozens of enemy soldiers or terrorists go to full-fledged positions at once, today there are practically no.

“I watched the shooting in long bursts, for example, in Budyonnovsk, where terrorists seized the hospital,” the commando recalls. “Then our wounded officer lay on the battlefield for three and a half hours. We only evacuated him to the APC from the third attempt. But before to approach him so that the terrorists would not have the opportunity to pop out with a grenade launcher and set fire to another armored vehicle, we gave massive machine-gun fire on the walls. “

In addition, special forces fighters prefer the caliber of 7.62. Although 5.45 mm ammunition is lighter, the bullet is unstable in the air, and a small obstacle, such as tree branches in the forest, can dramatically change the flight path.

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