"With all the changes we have been able to maintain firm and reliable operation of the AK. Away from gas operated mechanism, we could not avoid, however automatics began to work much smoother, "- said the chief designer of the machine, Vladimir Zlobin.
Considering the performance improvements during burst and automatic fire, I really can't see why they wouldn't base the new rifle on the AK-107/-108 design. If they can mass produce these, then they should be able to mass produce it now.
Based on the AK-12 is planned to create a whole line of automatic rifles - Short for special forces to the machine-gun set to infantry. In this now creates a few samples of AK-12 ammunition of various calibres under - the traditional 5.45, 5.56, 7.62 (all mm), and fundamentally new caliber, the number is on the "Izhmash" clarify refused, citing a Russian state secret.
Ahhaa! The machine gun version for the infantry would need a machine gun cartridge and in the Russian Army that means the 7.62 x 54mm round. Now this round is hardly secret as it has been the standard rifle and machine gun round in the Russian and then Soviet and then Russian Army for 130 years, and we know the 6 x 51mm and then the revised 6 x 49mm rounds were developed to replace the 7.62 x 54mm round in service as the standard battle rifle, sniper rifle, and Machine gun cartridge.
The fact that they refer to the secret calibre suggests my guesses above were correct and they are working on a 6 x 49mm calibre machine gun and possibly also designated marksman rifle to replace the Pecheneg and the PKM and the SVD in service.
The replacement for the Pecheneg might simply be a Pecheneg in the 6 x 49mm calibre as it is a relatively new design.
Remember with the new rimless case and smaller round the Pecheneg in 6 x 49mm calibre will be smaller and lighter, but if its reported performance figures are correct... 1,200m/s muzzle velocity with a 120 grain projectile then its long range performance should be very good.
Of course with the new improved powders as developed for the underwater ammo for the ADS, it might have even better performance... the muzzle velocity is already pretty high so I would further improve performance with a longer heavier 140 grain projectile at 1,000m/s+ for longer range engagements.
Such a long slim projectile will have very good aerodynamics and will retain velocity much better than the older 7.62mm calibre round that was heavier but also fatter.
Promising machine is equipped with a bayonet, grenade launcher device, bracket, for designators for all kinds of sights, including the night.
The frustrating thing is that the original Ak with its sight bracket and extra bayonet lug to attach grenade launchers too was already much better than most western rifles.
The under barrel grenade launcher clipped on to the bayonet lug of the AK and AKM, and to make it compatible the AK-74 has two bayonet lugs if you look carefully... the forward one is for the bayonet while the rear one is to allow compatibility with the grenade launchers GP-25 and GP-30 and GP-34.
The M203 US equivalent requires the front handguard to be replaced completely to be fitted, while in a Russian unit the launcher can be unclipped and clipped on another rifle as easily as a bayonet.
It is the same with the optics... a latch holds the scope in place and a flick of the latch you can remove the scope again.
The only advantage of rails is that you can mount multiple scopes in front of each other, which I admit is worth copying.
Having rails all over the front of the rifle is nice for special forces, but most grunts will not bother with most of the tacticrap... a forward pistol grip is handy in urban combat, but otherwise a grenade launcher, a scope, and perhaps a suppressor is about all most soldiers will want to mount on their rifles and the old model AKs already supported that.
With the new FELIN based soldier system however standard troops will likely now be getting their own night vision device that can be mounted on their helmets or hand held or mounted as a scope on their rifle.
If this new rifle doesn't have a cheap relatively low power scope fitted as standard then I suspect the next "from scratch" rifle will, so for day operations the scope is used and for night operations the night vision monocular can be attached in front of the scope to allow operations at night without needing to rezero the rifle.
We also of course need to keep in mind that this is the new AK and KBP will likely be offering their ADS in competition, and the AEK rifle will likely also be put forward as will likely a further evolution of the AN-94... and remember the latter won the last competition in the mid 1990s.
"Now comes the assembly of the machine, which has the working title of the AK-12, all the parts under it ready. In December, the prototype will be ready "in iron", and before the new year the company will be conducted the first firing, "- said Zlobin, -"Izvestia".
So it hasn't been made yet and is not going to be ready for testing till the end of December...
"If a fighter is injured or his other hand is busy with something, he can still perform all the operations with a gun - switch safety, distort the bolt and even change the magazine," - said one of the designers. The Russian military still skeptical about the new development of Izhevsk gunsmiths.
Suggests the controls have been moved closer to the pistol grip... perhaps my suggestion of a push through safety near the pistol grip so you can push with your thumb to make the gun safe or push back with your palm to make the gun ready to fire, or vice versa with a left handed shooter... but either way you can take the weapon from safe to fire with the hand you grip the pistol grip with whether you are left or right handed... this will be a step forward in my opinion.
Of course how the soldier with the injured or busy off hand can cock the weapon is another question... of course being pedantic I can say a right handed shooter can already do these things with one hand by taking their hands off the pistol grip and using their right hand to manipulate the cocking handle and safety selector.
Does this mean that ejecting a magazine now involved pushing a button and having the magazine jump out like an M16 mag?
I hope not, I prefer the more solid Russian mag method... the FN FAL has a similar rock back to lock mag insertion and I prefer them to dropping mags all over the place.
Accuracy of fire and range of the new AK this is not called - these characteristics to be identified during the testing.
Engagement range for the ADS is given as 600m which is quite a distance and would require a scope to actually achieve.
The thing is that the bullet design means that at this range the 5.45mm round should still tumble on impact and be quite lethal even at this range.
The 5.56mm relies on velocity and bending forces on the bullet to fragment for lethal effect, so even from an M16 length 20 inch barrel it becomes less effective at more than 200m. In the more common shorter barrel M4 there is no range at which it will reliably fragment, so it becomes much less lethal.
Should be interesting to hear the results...