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    Russian Assault Rifles & Machine Guns Thread: #1

    GarryB
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    Post  GarryB on Sat Jan 24, 2015 11:08 am

    The 5.45mm M74 is damn complicated and amongst AK-users only Russia had the ability to mass-produce it... so I wonder is it very expensive if somebody want to buy the techs and facilities for producing M74.

    The M74 cartridge?

    Actually it is fairly straight forward in design and not complicated at all... In fact here in NZ 5.45mm ammo is about $15 a packet of 20 hunting rounds while NATO 7.62mm Winchester is about $40 a packet of 20 rounds.

    the main thing about the 5.45mm round is its excellent ballistic coefficient... it is a very low drag round that would be excellent as a long range round.

    there is talk about new more powerful propellents for the new underwater rounds for the ADS, where the new super cavitating projectile takes up most of the length of the case so more powerful propellent is used to get useful velocities with the reduced propellent capacity and the big heavy projectile.

    Using that propellent in a standard round to boost muzzle velocity and allow heavier bullet weights would be interesting... a 100 grain bullet at 950m/s would be interesting...

    What I'm suspicious of, is kalashnikov's actual involvement. It's more of an opinion, rather than a hard fact.

    All the books I have ever read of the man he never says he designed the rifle alone... he always talks about all the help he got.

    In it's time AK was a radical innovation, how could an inexperienced designer come up with this, combining parts of different guns in just a right proportions? Sheer talent? Possible, but when we look at his achievements afterwards, they don't seem very innovative, other than simply modifying the existing design.

    Talent... sure... but also lots of hard work... they worked on that weapon design for half a decade.

    Most parts were not optional... the shape of the 7.62 x 41mm and later the 7.62 x 39mm round demanded a curved magazine... the sides of the cartridge case are not parallel so they wont stack properly in a straight magazine.

    the gas system above the barrel lowers the recoil line and makes the rifle easier to control and was common design practise already.

    the gas system and locking system and the whole ratio of the bolt weight compared with the bolt carrier gave it reliability and it was a clever design, but there were many clever designs before and after. The main advantage of the K design was its simplicity and durability.

    And I know very well that Russian state machine has always loved to make heroes out of thin air, so don't be surprised at my scepticism.

    More disappointed than surprised... if Stoner and Browning can be heros why can't Kalashnikov?

    how many successful inventors actually made something better after their magnum opus? plus after nearly 70 years AK design is mostly valid- true sign of a classic, can't say that for stg-44.

    Well Mikhail Kalashnikov did better than that... the AK, AKM, AK-74 and of course the RPK and RPK-74 and last but not least... the PK series machine guns...
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    Post  GarryB on Sat Jan 24, 2015 11:19 am

    Anyway... enough boring nonsense... how about this:

    Russian Assault Rifles & Machine Guns Thread: #1 - Page 30 12773810

    Russian Assault Rifles & Machine Guns Thread: #1 - Page 30 Ao27b10
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    Post  higurashihougi on Sat Jan 24, 2015 11:26 am

    @Garry: what I means is if some coutry (for example Vietnam tongue  tongue) want to produce the M74 5.45mm, is it very expensive or difficult to do so, either by doing the research themselves, or buying the techs and facilities from Russia ?

    What I knew about M74 catridge is, it is quite complicated and only thanks to modern electronics technology that Russia can mass-produce the M74.

    Actually I myselft disagree with Vietnam's Galil purchase, because it is basically a modified copy of AK with more cool apperance and not very breathtaking improvements. For me Vietnam should have been either purchaseed an entire new one like AK-74 or kept using the AKM which is already effective.
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    Post  etaepsilonk on Sat Jan 24, 2015 4:47 pm

    Admittedly, I'm not very knowledgable in the subject I'm discussing now.
    Just read that soviets did some serious studies in intermediate cartridges, like ".30 short", and M1 carbine...
    On the other hand, hugo schmeisser (inventor of stg-44) spent a lot of time at izhmash, so who exactly can say that he didn't play the part? Wink
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    Post  par far on Sun Jan 25, 2015 4:32 am

    Now that the Russian army is going adopt the Ak 12, what is going to happen to all the Ak 74m, that are in stock?
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    Post  George1 on Sun Jan 25, 2015 4:38 am

    par far wrote:Now that the Russian army is going adopt the Ak 12, what is going to happen to all the Ak 74m, that are in stock?

    stock probably
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    Post  GarryB on Sun Jan 25, 2015 8:30 am

    @Garry: what I means is if some coutry (for example Vietnam tongue tongue) want to produce the M74 5.45mm, is it very expensive or difficult to do so, either by doing the research themselves, or buying the techs and facilities from Russia ?

    Neither Cuba or Venezuela are particularly rich countries and both have "bought" ammo factories from Russia.

    The round itself is quite normal... just a steel core round that is fully jacketed with an empty tip and a lead plug.

    There are plenty of rather more complicated rounds in mass production...

    What I knew about M74 catridge is, it is quite complicated and only thanks to modern electronics technology that Russia can mass-produce the M74.

    Modern electronics?

    It went into production in the mid 1970s how modern could the electronics have been then?

    My digital watch has more processing power than most computers of that period...

    Actually I myselft disagree with Vietnam's Galil purchase, because it is basically a modified copy of AK with more cool apperance and not very breathtaking improvements. For me Vietnam should have been either purchaseed an entire new one like AK-74 or kept using the AKM which is already effective.

    they could have set up production of the AK-103 if they wanted to keep the larger calibre like the Venezuelans did... I am a bit biased as well.

    I have read that Israeli special forces kept using AKMs because they were lighter than the Galils...

    Just read that soviets did some serious studies in intermediate cartridges, like ".30 short", and M1 carbine...

    They did a lot of studies on intermediate cartridges, but at the end of the day full power rifles and pistol calibre sub machine guns were doing the job so there was little actual progress.

    the germans didn't introduce the Stg-44 because they were forward looking or somehow more advanced than everyone else.

    They introduced the new round because they were getting caned by Soviets with 7.62 x 25mm SMGs that out fire powered their own 9 x 19mm SMGs.

    they wanted a weapon that could replace both the SMG for fire power but had something of the power and effective range of a proper rifle round.

    The M1 carbine on the other hand was an attempt to arm crew and other soldiers for which a rifle is too large and bulky.

    The Federov Avtomat was also an attempt to combine short range fire power with hitting power over combat ranges.

    On the other hand, hugo schmeisser (inventor of stg-44) spent a lot of time at izhmash, so who exactly can say that he didn't play the part?

    I am sure he kept the toilets very clean... Hahahaha.. Just joking Twisted Evil

    The Germans tended to over engineer weapons, and being a good nazi... I rather doubt he helped as much as he could.

    He left the Soviet Union in 1952 with the other Nazi weapon specialists, which suggests to me he didn't even assist with the stamped steel fabrication of the AK, which didn't start until the AKM was produced in 1959.

    Assuming he had some input just because he worked at that enormous factory is fairly flawed logic... lots of famous names worked there... it was their main small arms factory.

    Now that the Russian army is going adopt the Ak 12, what is going to happen to all the Ak 74m, that are in stock?

    Release them to allies or other branches of Russian government... like border guards, MVD, FSB, etc etc.
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    Post  par far on Sun Jan 25, 2015 11:57 pm

    GarryB wrote:
    @Garry: what I means is if some coutry (for example Vietnam tongue  tongue) want to produce the M74 5.45mm, is it very expensive or difficult to do so, either by doing the research themselves, or buying the techs and facilities from Russia ?

    Neither Cuba or Venezuela are particularly rich countries and both have "bought" ammo factories from Russia.

    The round itself is quite normal... just a steel core round that is fully jacketed with an empty tip and a lead plug.

    There are plenty of rather more complicated rounds in mass production...

    What I knew about M74 catridge is, it is quite complicated and only thanks to modern electronics technology that Russia can mass-produce the M74.

    Modern electronics?

    It went into production in the mid 1970s how modern could the electronics have been then?

    My digital watch has more processing power than most computers of that period...

    Actually I myselft disagree with Vietnam's Galil purchase, because it is basically a modified copy of AK with more cool apperance and not very breathtaking improvements. For me Vietnam should have been either purchaseed an entire new one like AK-74 or kept using the AKM which is already effective.

    they could have set up production of the AK-103 if they wanted to keep the larger calibre like the Venezuelans did... I am a bit biased as well.

    I have read that Israeli special forces kept using AKMs because they were lighter than the Galils...

    Just read that soviets did some serious studies in intermediate cartridges, like ".30 short", and M1 carbine...

    They did a lot of studies on intermediate cartridges, but at the end of the day full power rifles and pistol calibre sub machine guns were doing the job so there was little actual progress.

    the germans didn't introduce the Stg-44 because they were forward looking or somehow more advanced than everyone else.

    They introduced the new round because they were getting caned by Soviets with 7.62 x 25mm SMGs that out fire powered their own 9 x 19mm SMGs.

    they wanted a weapon that could replace both the SMG for fire power but had something of the power and effective range of a proper rifle round.

    The M1 carbine on the other hand was an attempt to arm crew and other soldiers for which a rifle is too large and bulky.

    The Federov Avtomat was also an attempt to combine short range fire power with hitting power over combat ranges.

    On the other hand, hugo schmeisser (inventor of stg-44) spent a lot of time at izhmash, so who exactly can say that he didn't play the part?

    I am sure he kept the toilets very clean...  Hahahaha.. Just joking  Twisted Evil

    The Germans tended to over engineer weapons, and being a good nazi... I rather doubt he helped as much as he could.

    He left the Soviet Union in 1952 with the other Nazi weapon specialists, which suggests to me he didn't even assist with the stamped steel fabrication of the AK, which didn't start until the AKM was produced in 1959.

    Assuming he had some input just because he worked at that enormous factory is fairly flawed logic... lots of famous names worked there... it was their main small arms factory.

    Now that the Russian army is going adopt the Ak 12, what is going to happen to all the Ak 74m, that are in stock?

    Release them to allies or other branches of Russian government... like border guards, MVD, FSB, etc etc.


    Releasing them or just giving them to allies pups be a very good idea, the American bastards are giving Uzbekistan ass holes amoured vehicles. Giving them to allies would be a good way to counter the bastard Americans.
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    Post  GarryB on Mon Jan 26, 2015 9:29 am

    It is a bit of a catch 22 situation... they want to support their allies, but they don't want their allies to expect free stuff and become dependent on them... that is not healthy for either side.
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    Post  higurashihougi on Mon Jan 26, 2015 9:41 am

    It is ironic that weapons of Iraq and Afghan allies of the U.S. are supplied by... Russia.
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    Post  Regular on Mon Jan 26, 2015 2:07 pm

    higurashihougi wrote:It is ironic that weapons of Iraq and Afghan allies of the U.S. are supplied by... Russia.
    Well not for free. Russia always helped coalition in Afghanistan. Even if puppets change Russia pretty much gets back to usual businesses. Libya is buying Russian again.
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    Post  Kyo on Tue Jan 27, 2015 3:04 pm

    US-based RWC is not entitled to produce Kalashnikov-branded automatic rifles

    Kalashnikov signed a contract with RWC earlier covering annual supplies to the United States and Canada amounting up to 200,000 rifles

    MOSCOW, January 27. /TASS/. The US-based Russian Weapon Company (RWC) filed an application to register Kalashnikov trademark in the United States but has not yet received the right to manufacture branded products there, Concern Kalashnikov told TASS on Tuesday.
    The company spokesperson said, "RWC is interested in keeping the share in the US market. They filed an application for trademark registration and had announced independent manufacturing of Kalashnikov automatic rifles in the US territory. They also set up a Kalashnikov US company."
    He added that RWC has been the exclusive distributor of Kalashnikov products in the United States for many years. Their business was suspended after the Russian company was hit by US sanctions. According to the spokesperson, RWC has no right to proceed with cooperation and even contact Russian representatives because of sanctions.
    He added, "Such measures will regrettably affect consumers in the US in the first instance."
    CNN said earlier that RWC intended to start in-house manufacturing of automatic rifles in the second quarter of 2015. CNN was cited to say that weapons would bear the AK-47 name well known in the West and "made in USA" marking.
    Kalashnikov signed a contract with RWC earlier covering annual supplies to the United States and Canada amounting up to 200,000 rifles. However, the US imposed sanctions against the company last summer.
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    Post  higurashihougi on Wed Jan 28, 2015 3:59 pm

    Would like to ask one question Question

    Given that both VSS Vintorez and AS Val, both of them use the same catridge and have similar barrel length, and both of them have full auto mode... so why should we make 2 disntinctive kinds of rifle, not a "2 in 1" (both assault and sniper) single rifle ?
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    Post  par far on Wed Jan 28, 2015 6:49 pm

    What company does the Russian army get it's ammo from?
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    Post  GarryB on Thu Jan 29, 2015 12:30 am

    Given that both VSS Vintorez and AS Val, both of them use the same catridge and have similar barrel length, and both of them have full auto mode... so why should we make 2 disntinctive kinds of rifle, not a "2 in 1" (both assault and sniper) single rifle ?

    Because unlike in video games most soldiers have specific roles that don't change that much.

    A guy on a recon mission wants an assault rifle, so you issue the AS, and provide him with a range of ammo types depending on the situation.

    Another guy who is the designated marksman in that unit gets special ammo and the VSS.

    Could he do the job with the AS?

    Possibly, but he could probably also do the job with an AKM with a suppressor fitted and subsonic ammo.

    the VSS is a better precision weapon than the AS which makes the AS cheaper and simpler, with no need for take down design options.

    What company does the Russian army get it's ammo from?

    There were a dozen small arms ammo factories in Russia... there will be less and less over time, until there are only a couple. Barnaul and Tula are big ones, but there are others.
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    Post  higurashihougi on Fri Jan 30, 2015 4:44 am

    GarryB wrote:Because unlike in video games most soldiers have specific roles that don't change that much.

    A guy on a recon mission wants an assault rifle, so you issue the AS, and provide him with a range of ammo types depending on the situation.

    Another guy who is the designated marksman in that unit gets special ammo and the VSS.

    Could he do the job with the AS?

    Possibly, but he could probably also do the job with an AKM with a suppressor fitted and subsonic ammo.

    the VSS is a better precision weapon than the AS which makes the AS cheaper and simpler, with no need for take down design options.

    I know that each soldier has a specific role but I still don't get it, considering the similarity and interchangeablity of the Val, Vintorez and Vikhir, what is exactly the thing which prevent people from making a unified multirole rifle with 9x39 ammo. Are the differences between Val and Vintorez considerbale enough so that people have to make two disntinctive weapons, not one unified weapons ?

    Probably I am still very ignorant about mechanics and guns... but I think if using Val in semi-auto mode and add a telescope... in that case it may not very different from Vintorez... so why make two different gun.

    I am very sorry for my ignorance.
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    Post  GarryB on Fri Jan 30, 2015 10:43 am

    Are the differences between Val and Vintorez considerbale enough so that people have to make two disntinctive weapons, not one unified weapons ?

    The AS has a folding stock, but is otherwise very similar to the VSS.

    The VSS can be stripped down and carried in a suit case,with a solid stock.

    At the end of the day they are very similar weapons firing the same ammo from the same magazines.

    They could have made one weapon for both roles, but they clearly had two different roles that required weapons and they produced two very closely related weapons to fulfil those roles... a bit like an M4 carbine, an M16A2 rifle and the heavy barrel M16 LMG being three different weapons with the same calibre used for different roles and having non interchangable parts.

    To the AS and the VSS you would also have to add the SR-3 in 9 x 39mm which is like the AS and the 9A-91 which is like the AS and the VSK-94 which is like the VSS.

    All are compact 9x39mm weapons in the assault rifle or sniper rifle class.

    All are capable of full auto, with the new models of the SR-3M having a 30 round mag, so they could all perform assault rifle and sniper rifle functions within the limitations of the calibre. (ie no 1,000m shots with any of them).

    Probably I am still very ignorant about mechanics and guns... but I think if using Val in semi-auto mode and add a telescope... in that case it may not very different from Vintorez... so why make two different gun.

    Because there was a requirement for two different guns for two different roles.

    It simply doesn't make sense to equip recon units with a quiet assault rifle like AS, if their snipers or designated marksmen are armed with SVDs... even bullpup SVDs. So when they asked for quiet assault rifles they also asked for quiet sniper rifles.

    If you want a weapon to replace both then the SR-3M would be a good choice...

    Russian Assault Rifles & Machine Guns Thread: #1 - Page 30 28a6cf10

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    BTW to complete the family there is the SR-1 Gyurza in 9 x 21mm calibre:

    Russian Assault Rifles & Machine Guns Thread: #1 - Page 30 0_7f7610

    and the SR-2 SMG in 9 x 21mm calibre:

    Russian Assault Rifles & Machine Guns Thread: #1 - Page 30 Fizza410
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    Post  Austin on Sat Feb 07, 2015 6:39 pm

    The Kalashnikov Concern

    Mikhail Barabanov

    http://mdb.cast.ru/mdb/1-2015/item2/article2/

    OAO Kalashnikov Concern is the leading Russian developer and maker of assault and sniper rifles, guided artillery projectiles, and a broad range of civilian products, such as hunting and sports rifles, machine tools, and instruments.

    The Kalashnikov Concern is one of the latest examples of the Russian defense industry’s trend towards the establishment of specialized, integrated, and majority state-owned holding companies. The concern was established with the Izhevsk Machinery Plant (Izhmash) at its core; it acquired its current name on August 12, 2013. The government is now trying to reorganize the concern along the private-public partnership principle.

    Background


    The importance of Izhmash is based on its role as the leading Soviet and Russian maker of small arms for more than a century.

    The Izhevsk State Factory was founded in 1807 in Izhevsk, now the capital of Udmurtiya province, to mass-produce army rifles. During the war of 1812 it supplied the Russian army with small arms and edged weapons.

    In 1893 it launched production of the new standard-issue Russian firearm, the famous Mosin 7.62mm rifle (of the 1891 design). Production of that rifle ended only in 1947. Since then, the company has become the leading maker of small arms for the Russian army. Its output is higher than that of the small arms factories in Tula and Sestroretsk.

    During World War I and World War II, the Izhevsk plant ramped up its production capacity and substantially increased the range of its products. Also, in 1922 it launched production of hunting rifles, and in 1929 it began to make motorcycles and machine tools.

    Having become a large defense production hub by 1945, the plant in Izhevsk entered a period of rapid growth and development. It substantially increased its civilian product range, with an emphasis on machine tools and instruments.

    In the early 1950s Izhevsk launched production of electro-vacuum devices (magnetrons) for air defense radars. In 1969 its magnetron division started making repair and maintenance hardware for guided weapons.

    Between the mid-1950s and the 1970s the Izhevsk Machinery Plant developed and manufactured geo-physical and meteorological rockets, including the S-325B, M-100, M100B, M-120, M-7, and MMR-06.

    Many believe that the rapid rise of Izhmash after World War II was made possible by the energetic lobbying efforts of Dmitry Ustinov, who served as Soviet armaments minister in 1941-1953, defense industry minister in 1953-1957, head of the Soviet Council of Ministers’ defense industry commission in 1957-1963, secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party for defense issues in 1965-1963, and Soviet defense minister in 1976-1984. In 1966 the Izhevsk Machinery Plant launched a separate facility, the Izhevsk Auto Plant; the project was lobbied by Ustinov.

    Nevertheless, the Izhevsk Machinery Plant has never lost its focus on weapons-making. In a landmark event, in 1946-1948 Mikhail Kalashnikov designed a new assault rifle for the 7.62x39 mm ammo (standardized in 1943). Kalashnikov worked at the Central Small Arms Research Range at the time. The project also involved specialists of the No 2 Kovrov Weapons Plant. After the MoD chose the new rifle as its new standard-issue weapon, in late 1947 Kalashnikov was assigned to the Izhevsk plant, where the rifle was to be mass-produced. He went on to work at the Izhevsk plant’s design bureau until his retirement.

    Following a series of field tests of the first batch of the rifles made in Izhevsk in mid-1948, the MoD entered two modifications of the Kalashnikov assault rifle into service in mid-1949: the standard AK, and the AKS, which had a steel buttstock. In 1949 the Izhevsk plant and another weapons factory in Tula began to make Kalashnikov rifles in very large numbers.

    In 1959 the Soviet defense industry launched production of an upgraded version of the Kalashnikov rifle, the AKM (6P1). The Kalashnikov rifle design was used by the Izhmash design bureau to develop machine-guns chambered for 7.62x39mm ammo (RPK) and 7.62x54mm ammo (PK), although these machine-guns were then mass-produced by other companies.

    Another important weapon developed by Izhmash is the Dragunov SVD (6B1) sniper rifle that uses the 7.62x54mm ammo. It was designed in 1958-1963 by a team led by E.F. Dragunov. Izhmash has been mass-producing the SVD since 1963.

    The Kalashnikov rifle later received a radical upgrade to the AK-74 (6P20) specification, which entered into service with the Soviet Army in 1974 after a competition to design a new generation of automatic weapons for the 5.45x39mm ammo. The AK-74 design was used to create a whole family of automatic weapons, including the shortened AKS-74U assault rifles and the RPK-74 hand-held machine-gun. Izhmash began mass production of the AK-74 in 1974. In 1991 the model was discontinued and replaced with the modified AK-74M version.

    In the years after WWII, Izhmash became the leading Soviet developer and maker of sports, commercial, and hunting rifles.

    In 1984 Izhmash began preparations for mass production of guided artillery projectiles. It went on to launch production of the Krasnopol, Kitolov, and several other projectiles.

    In 1975 the Izhevsk Machinery Plant was restructured and renamed Izhmash Production Company. The new company incorporated the Izhevsk Auto Plant.

    Post-Soviet period

    The break-up of the Soviet Union, the ensuing economic crises and savage defense spending cuts were a heavy blow for Izhmash. The MoD had accumulated huge stockpiles of small arms at its arsenals, so there was no longer any point in the government placing large orders for new weaponry with Izhmash. The company lost its biggest customer. Its arms export deals were few and far between, especially since it was now facing stiff competition in a purely commercial environment. The market was flooded by Kalashnikov rifles made by foreign producers, mostly from former Soviet countries that acquired the license back in Soviet times. The situation was compounded by the deteriorating production standards at Izhmash itself. There were serious problems with the quality of its small arms. They undermined the company’s competitiveness and damaged its reputation.

    In the 1980s the Soviet MoD had launched a program to choose a new assault rifle for the 5.45x39mm ammo because it was unhappy with the performance of the standard-issue AK-74 (especially its accuracy in automatic mode and ergonomics). The competition was announced in 1978, and in 1981 the MoD began testing 12 prototypes as part of the Abakan R&D program. On the basis of these tests, the MoD chose a new design developed by an Izhmash team led by G. Nikonov: the AS delayed-recoil assault rifle. The design was then improved in 1986, and designated as the ASM.

    In 1991 the ASM rifle passed state trials, but it entered into service with the Russian army only in 1997; it was designated as the 5.45mm Nikonov Assault Rifle, 1994 Model (AN-94 Abakan, 6P33). The Izhevsk Machinery Plant began to produce small batches of the AN-94 in 1998.

    The MoD could not afford to place large orders for the AN-94, and the whole program was not regarded as a priority because the Russian armed forces had much bigger problems to deal with. The AN-94 was not popular with the troops, either, because it was less simple to operate and maintain than the AK-74. As a result, production of the AN-94 all but ended after 2000, and it is no longer regarded by the MoD as a serious contender for any future contracts. Limited numbers of this assault rifle are still being used by various MoD and Interior Ministry special task force units.

    In the early 1990s Izhmash developed and launched production of the “100 Series”, a modified Kalashnikov version that has proved very successful. The series is essentially an export version of the AK-74M, modified to use other types of ammunition. The model range includes the AK-101 (6P43), which is chambered for NATO-standard SS109 5.56x45 ammo, and the AK-103 (6P45), which uses the old Soviet 7.62x39 ammo (adopted as standard in 1943). It also includes the AK-102, AK-104, and AK-105, which are modifications of the AK-101, AK-103, and AK-74M, respectively, with their barrel shortened by 101 mm.

    There are also the AK-101-1, AK-102-1, AK-103-1, AK-104-1, and AK-105-1 modifications, which have a simplified firing mechanism than supports only the single-shot firing mode. The AK-101-2, AK-102-2, AK-103-2, AK-104-2, and AK-105-2 have a modified firing mechanism that supports a three-shot burst mode. The AK-103-3 is an updated modification with an ergonomic pistol grip, an additional safety button, Picattiny rails on the body and the fore-end, and a removable bipod (that also serves as the front grip).

    The AK-105 is used by the FSB, the Interior Ministry, extra-departmental security, and other Russian uniformed agencies. The FSB and the Federal Protection Service also use limited numbers of the AK-103 and AK-104. There is significant demand for the 100 Series Kalashnikovs in the foreign markets, with exports growing in recent years. Most of the customers are third-world countries. The most popular model is the AK-103 chambered for 7.62x39mm ammo. The largest contract was placed with Rosoboronexport in May 2005 by Venezuela, which has bought 100,000 AK-103 rifles, an AK-103 production facility, and an ammunition factory. The value of the contract was 431m dollars. The projects to build the production facilities in Venezuela fell well behind schedule, and local production of small batches of the AK-103 began only in 2014. The Venezuelan facility’s annual output will eventually reach 25,000 AK-103 rifles and 60m rounds of ammo. Large deliveries of the AK-103 were also made to Libya just before the fall of the Gaddafi regime.

    In the late 1990s Izhmash also developed the AK-107 rifle (for 5.45x39 ammo) and AK-108 (for NATO-standard 5.56x45 ammo). Both versions are also known as the Alexandrov-Kalashnikov rifle. They use a balanced automatic firing mechanism that emulates, to some degree, the solutions used in the AEK rifles made by the Kovrov plant. Neither of the two models seems to have attracted any great interest from domestic or foreign customers, and there is no evidence to suggest that they have entered mass production.

    To summarize, neither the AN-94 nor the 100 Series rifles have managed to generate large domestic contracts for Izhmash. In 2009 the company announced plans for a deep upgrade of the AK rifles, known as Series 200 – but for now, these plans remain on paper.

    The company’s survival in the 1990s and 2000s was largely made possible by the success of its commercial and hunting rifles in foreign markets. One of the most successful products was the Saiga family of hunting carbines. Based on the Kalashnikov assault rifle design, they are chambered for 7.62x39 ammo, and entered production in 1992. Izhmash then went on to develop and launch production of a whole range of Saiga carbines, both rifled and smooth-bore, and chambered for various ammo types. These carbines are exported to 27 markets, including fairly large exports to the world’s biggest market for commercial small arms, the United States. In 2011 Izhmash sold 442m roubles worth of small arms to U.S. customers. In recent years, up to 90 per cent of its civilian small arms output was destined for the United States.

    On the whole, however, by the late 2000s Izhmash had entered a period of deep decline. Russia was in real danger of losing one of its most important defense companies, along with all the expertise residing at Izhmash. The company’s payroll collapsed from 40,000 in 1989 to 4,700 in 2013. The average monthly wage stood at only 14,000 roubles in 2011.

    The former Izhevsk Auto Plant became Izhmash-Auto, an independent company, in 1996. In 2000 it was privatized, and then went bankrupt. In 2010 it was acquired by the Russian Technologies state corporation, and transferred to the operational control of AutoVAZ via the United Auto Group division.

    In the end, the government also came to the rescue of Izhmash itself. In 2008 it was designated as the lead company of a new holding division within Russian Technologies specializing in close-combat weapons systems. The holding includes several other large makers of small arms, ammunition, and close combat systems, such as the Izhevsk Mechanics Plant, the Vyatkskiye Polyany Molot Machinery Plant, the Koshkin Automatic Lines Design Bureau (Moscow Region), and the Progress Technology Research Institute (Izhevsk).

    It was announced at the time that the new holding company controlled 95 per cent of the domestic Russian market for military small arms, and more than 90 per cent of Russian exports in that category (via the Rosoboronexport intermediary).

    In 2010 Russian Technologies conducted an audit of the Izhmash group, which revealed a dire state of affairs. The group included about a hundred different legal entities, some of which were in the process of bankruptcy and liquidation. Most of the 32 divisions that were still alive and kicking had a multi-tier management structure, with a lot of duplication and high overheads. As of early 2011, the Izhmash group had a debt burden of 19bn roubles. Some of its divisions had wage arrears of up to six months. Most of the group’s machinery and equipment needed replacing, and the facilities that were still up to date were working at 20 per cent of their capacity at the very best.

    In early 2011 Russian Technologies appointed Maksim Kuzyuk first deputy director-general of Izhmash. He was tasked with improving the group’s finances. He oversaw the process of restructuring Izhmash via a series of bankruptcies and mergers. As a result of that process, by 2011 he had transformed the group into a single legal entity, OAO Izhmash Research and Production Company, fully owned by Russian Technologies. In 2011 the latter appointed Kuzyuk director-general of that new company. In the first quarter of 2012 it took over all the existing contracts, assets, and personnel of the old Izhmash divisions, and launched another round of restructuring.

    Dmitry Rogozin, who was appointed deputy prime minister in 2012, was actively involved in the Izhmash rescue effort.

    Finally, on August 12, 2013 the Izhmash Research and Production Company was rebranded to become OAO Kalashnikov Concern, in honor of the creator of that company’s most famous product (Mikhail Kalashnikov died in November 2013).

    Current state


    The Kalashnikov Concern is the lead company of Russian Technologies’ small arms division, which also includes four other companies mentioned above.

    In September 2013 Russian Technologies decided to transfer a 49-per-cent stake in Kalashnikov to private shareholders using the public-private partnership principle. The private investors are Andrey Bokarev, president and co-owner of Transmashholding; and Yuri Krivoruchko, director-general of Aeroexpress and a member of the Transmashholding Board of Directors. Under the terms of the deal, Bokarev and Krivoruchko paid 2.5bn roubles into the Kalashnikov Concern’s authorized capital fund, using their own money and bank loans to finance the deal. The 2.5bn was used to pay off some of the Kalashnikov debts and finance the company’s development program. Russian Technologies still retains a 51-per-cent stake in Kalashnikov.

    Russian Technologies is planning to invest 1.2bn roubles in Kalashnikov over the next two years; another 1.2bn roubles will be invested by private shareholders. Russian Technologies also says it will spend more than 4.5bn roubles on upgrading the Kalashnikov production facilities by 2017.

    In January 2014 Yuri Krivoruchko was appointed director-general of the Kalashnikov Concern, while also retaining his de facto control of Aeroexpress. Krivoruchko has close ties with Russian Technologies. In 2006 he served as the main expert and consultant of the Rosoboronexport department for regional and offset programs. In 2006-2009 he was deputy director-general for sales and post-sale service, executive director for sales, vice president for sales and marketing, and senior vice president for sales and marketing at AvtoVAZ, another Russian Technologies division.

    One of Krivoruchko’s advisers at the Kalashnikov Concern is Aleksandr Shemyakin, a former officer of the Main Intelligence Department (GRU) of the Russian General Staff.

    In accordance with the small arms industry development strategy developed by Russian Technologies and the Russian Ministry of Industry and Trade, by 2020 the Kalashnikov Concern should become the leading Russian developer, maker, and supplier of small arms to foreign markets, and provide the full range of services for its products throughout their lifecycle, including disposal. The concern will continue to pursue R&D projects to develop future weapons systems. The revenues of its small arms division are to increase fourfold by 2020 to 24bn roubles (meaning that the figure stood at 6bn in 2012). Its annual small arms output is to increase by 200 per cent to 1.9m units, with a similar rise in productivity to 2.5m roubles per employee.

    The Kalashnikov Concern’s R&D division, the Design and Technology Center, is led by Designer-General Vladimir Zlobin. He worked at the Sports and Hunting Weapons Central Design and Research Bureau (TsKIB SOO) in Tula until 2011; he was in charge of designing special weapons systems for the FSB, so information about most of the projects he was involved in remains confidential.

    When the government launched the restructuring and rebranding of Izhmash, the company was in a difficult financial situation. According to its 2012 Annual Report, it made a net loss of 403m roubles that year, with revenues standing at only 1.16bn roubles. The value of its net assets was negative (minus 439.6m roubles, with an authorized capital of 100,000 roubles) and the company was saddled with almost 8.8bn roubles of long-term and short-term debt as of December 31, 2012.

    In 2013 the Kalashnikov Concern made a net loss of 1.7bn roubles. It supplied 231m roubles worth of weaponry to the Russian MoD that year, including 192m delivered under the defense procurement program.

    In early 2014 it was announced that the concern would spend 1.3bn roubles of the 2.5bn generated by additional share issues on repaying its debts to Sberbank. As of early 2014, those debts stood at 2.1bn roubles. Kalashnikov also needed 750m roubles to fulfill its obligations to Rosoboronexport.

    The aggregate payroll of all Kalashnikov divisions is 20,000 people. As of 2013, 4,700 of them were employed by the head company (Izhmash), and another 7,000 by the Izhevsk Mechanics Plant.

    In the spring of 2014 Kalashnikov reported fairly good Q1, 2014 results. It produced 31,000 small arms over the reported period. The figure represented 41 per cent of the entire 2013 output, and an increase of 230 per cent compared to Q1, 2013. Commenting on these results, Krivoruchko said that “the concern has been tasked with ramping up its annual output to at least 150,000 units, and the Q1 results demonstrate that we are on track to meeting that target. That kind of output will enable us to meet the entire domestic demand and increase our exports”.

    Krivoruchko added that the key objectives for 2014 included integration of the various Kalashnikov divisions into a single operation, cost-cutting, optimizing the corporate structure, improving efficiency and financial indicators, entering new markets, and effective management of the Kalashnikov brand. The output target for 2014 is about 200 aircraft cannon and at least 150,000 military and civilian small arms.

    In 2016 Kalashnikov intends to launch a new ammunition facility in Izhevsk, worth an estimated 2-3 billion roubles. The facility will produce approximately 10 ammo types of 4.5mm to 14.5mm caliber.

    The Kalashnikov Concern is one of the Russian companies on which the United States imposed sanctions in July 2014. These sanctions could have a major adverse impact on the company’s economic situation in the coming years, especially since the U.S. market is so important for the Kalashnikov commercial weapons range. It cannot be ruled out, however, that Kalashnikov will be able to save some of its U.S. sales by using intermediaries or launching local production in the United States.

    Key programs


    AKM and AK-74M assault rifles: Despite their obsolescence, these weapons still account for the bulk of Kalashnikov’s military weapons sales in the domestic and foreign markets (though the actual sales volume is not large). Both models are made by the head company of the Kalashnikov Concern, i.e. Izhmash The company is working on an upgrade program for the AK-74M under a contract with the Russian MoD.

    AN-94 and AK 100 Series:
    See technical details on these weapons in the Current State section of this article. We believe that the AN-94 has been discontinued. It has been reported that Kalashnikov is working on an MoD-commissioned upgrade program for the AK 100 Series. The AK-103-03 chambered for 7.62x39 mm ammo is currently being tested for the role of an auxiliary weapon in the Ratnik future infantry gear kit.

    AK-12 assault rifle: This is a modern, “fifth-generation”, weapon chambered for 5.45x39 mm ammo. There are also plans to develop versions for 7.62x39, NATO-standard 5.56x45 and 7.62x51, and Grendel 6.5x39 mm ammo. Led by V. Zlobin, the AK-12 development program has been ongoing since 2011. It is essentially a deep upgrade of the classical Kalashnikov assault rifle design. The AK-12 is a basic platform that will later be used to develop a family of about 20 different modifications for the civilian and defense markets. These modifications will include a shortened version of the rifle, a submachine gun, a hunting carbine, and a shotgun.

    The AK-12 entered an MoD comparative trial program in 2013 as a component of the Ratnik infantry gear kit. Its competitor in the program is the A-545 balanced-action assault rifle developed by the Degtyarev Plant. The A-545 is an upgrade of the AEK-971, which is made in Kovrov. (Degtyarev Plant also offers the A-762, a modification of the A-545 chambered for 7.62x39 mm ammo, as an auxiliary weapon for the Ratnik kit). It has been reported that the AK-12 was not initially allowed to participate in the state trials program because it failed to meet several requirements. In the end, it was allowed to participate on the condition that Kalashnikov itself would provide the necessary financing.

    According to unofficial reports, the military had initially stated their preference for the A-545 as the main Ratnik weapon, but the AK-12 still has good chances of winning because of the Kalashinkov Concern’s substantial political leverage. Formally, the winner is to be announced in late February 2015 – but it cannot be ruled out that, regardless of the MoD’s decision, the AK-12 and the AK-545 will be slugging it out for a long time to come.

    Sniper rifles.
    Izhmash began small-batch production of the SV-98 and SV-99 sniper rifles in the early 2000s. The former is chambered for the 7.62x54 mm ammo (there are also versions for the NATO-standard 7.62x51 and Lapua ammo); the latter uses 5.6 mm ammo. Both rifles are used by the Interior Ministry and security services. In 2013 the SV-98 model received an upgrade. Kalashnikov also continues to make the SVD sniper rifle and its SVDS modification.

    Submachine guns.
    Izhmash makes relatively small batches of Bizon and Vityaz submachine guns for the Interior Ministry and security services. Both models use various types of 9 mm ammo. The AK-9 is a new silent model chambered for 9x39 mm ammo. All these submachine guns are based on the AKS-74U design.

    Pistols. The Izhevsk Mechanics Plant makes PM, PYa, and PSM 9mm pistols; MP-71 service pistols; MP-412 revolvers; MTsM, MR-35M, and MR-438 sports pistols; as well gas and air guns and non-lethal pistols.

    Grenade launchers. The Kalashnikov Concern has developed the GP-34 sub-barrel 40 mm infantry grenade launcher that can be mounted on all types of assault rifles. There is no information to suggest that the system has entered production.

    Special-purpose weapons.
    In September 2014 Kalashnikov CEO Krivoruchko said that the company was developing two special-purpose assault rifles for the FSB, and a range of automatic weapons on the basis of the AK-12 design for the Federal Protection Service. The new weapons will use 7.62x39 mm ammo, and replace the AK-103, AK-104, and AKS-74U models.

    Aircraft cannon.
    In the early 1980s Izhmash launched production of the GSh-301 30mm aircraft cannon, which was developed by the Tula-based Instrument Design Bureau (KBP). All MiG-29 and Su-27/Su-30 fighters can be equipped with the cannon.

    Remote-controlled turrets for armored vehicles.
    Divisions of the Kalashnikov Concern are known to be developing these systems, but they have yet to be demonstrated to the public.

    Sports weapons. The Izhmash sports range includes the TsV-55 Zenit 7.62mm rifle; the Rekord and Rekord-CISM rifles; various modifications of the Biathlon-7-2, Biathlon-7-3, and Biathlon-7-4 rifles; SM-2, Ural-5-1, and Ural-6-2 small-caliber rifles; and Saiga-12 Model 340 and Saiga-MK-107 rifles and carbines for shooting practice.

    Hunting weapons.
    The Kalashnikov head company offers the Medved, Saiga, Tigr, and Korshun self-loading rifled carbines; Bars, Los, Sobol, SM-2KO, and BI-7-2KO rifled magazine carbines; and Saiga-series self-loading smooth-bore carbines.

    The Izhevsk Mechanics Plant offers a broad range of smooth-bore hunting rifles, including the MR-18M, MR-133, MR-153, MR-155, MR-27M, MR-43, and MR-233. It also offers MR-94 combined rifles, MR-18MN, MR-161K, MR-142K, and MR-143 hunting rifles (the latter being the hunting modification of the Mosin rifle); the MR-221 Artemida SbS gun; and the OP-SKS, which is the hunting version of the Simonov self-loading carbine.

    Repair and maintenance hardware for guided weaponry. The Izhmash division of the Kalashnikov Concern makes STOR repair and maintenance systems for guided weapons; KPM testing appliances; MTO maintenance appliances; KRAS auto diagnostics and repair stations; AKIPS automated mobile measuring and testing stations; MZIP spare parts storage and transportation vehicles; and MU calibration appliances.

    Guided artillery projectiles.
    The Izhmash division continues to make the Krasnopol 152mm guided artillery projectiles developed by the Tula-based Instrument Design Bureau (KBP).

    Missiles.
    In July 2013 the Kalashnikov Concern signed a 12.8bn-rouble contract with the Russian MoD to make a large batch of the Vikhr-1 9K121M (AT-16) guided anti-tank missiles developed by KBP. The missiles will be used to equip new Ka-52 attack helicopters. Final deliveries are to be made by the end of 2015. Kalashnikov planned to produce the trial batch and complete trials by the end of 2013.

    The annual value of the contract is roughly the same as the entire annual turnover of the Kalashnikov Concern was before the signing of that contract. None of the Kalashnikov divisions has any prior experience with guided anti-tank missiles. In November 2013 Oleg Bochkarev, deputy head of the Russian Cabinet’s Defense Industry Commission, clearly stated that the Vikhr-1 contract was essentially a form of government assistance to the Kalashnikov concern. “The large contract for Vikhr-1 guided missiles will stabilize the company,” Bochkarev said.
    GarryB
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    Post  GarryB on Sun Feb 08, 2015 1:21 am

    Thanks Austin... a good read.

    From memory I believe that they are also planning to develop and produce small arms ammo like sniper ammo for 50 cal sniper rifles and 338 Lapua Magnum ammo and 7.62 x 54mm rounds for the sniper rifles in that calibre.

    They also didn't mention the VS-121 sniper version of the SVD...
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    Post  George1 on Wed Feb 25, 2015 10:28 pm

    Russia’s KBP to Develop Special Module for Small Arms

    Russia’s Instrument Design Bureau is working to create a module for small arms that will make it possible to fire at underwater targets from the ground. This was announced by Alexey Sorokin, a representative of the Instrument Design Bureau, on Monday.

    “We are currently performing a number of development activities. In particular, we plan to design a special module for small arms that will make it possible to fire at underwater targets from the ground,” the official said, noting that the Instrument Design Bureau is also improving a sighting system of its ADS automatic rifle.

    It’s worth mentioning that the IDEX 2015 international exhibition of arms and military equipment is held in Abu Dhabi on February 22-26. The event is attended by more than 1,000 companies from 52 countries. Russian military products are presented by 21 companies, including Rosoboronexport, Uralvagonzavod, Instrument Design Bureau, Almaz-Antey, Splav, Bazalt and others.
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    Post  Kyo on Sat Mar 14, 2015 2:31 am

    Five worst AK-47 clones worldwide
    magnumcromagnon
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    Post  magnumcromagnon on Sat Mar 14, 2015 4:35 am

    Kyo wrote:Five worst AK-47 clones worldwide

    Good ole' Romanian AK's, you can always rely on them to be rubbish.

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    Post  TR1 on Sat Mar 14, 2015 4:59 am

    Is that Roumanian grip actually comfortable?

    Always looked so stupid.
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    Post  cracker on Fri Mar 20, 2015 4:07 pm

    uuhhhhhhhh.... not really a top 5 worst... Those are pretty good AKs (except the butt ugly chinese bullpup). Especially the iraqi tabuk, be it the standard AK or "sniper rifle" (if it's used inside 400m it's perfect).

    Romanian AKs are probably shit yeah, but not that bad. The only AKs I wouldn't rely on are those half hand made in pakistan. Either way, the korean AKs (which are found in many black market and in africa, with no markings at all) are made with such little quality controls that they can be dangerous.

    I also always found stupid the grip on the romanian AKs, it rather increases the wobble than a well placed hand on the handguard. And it's very ugly.
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    Post  GarryB on Sat Mar 21, 2015 6:05 am

    Wasn't there a Hungarian AK variant with a big muzzle device with big holes in it and a plastic backwards facing front hand pistol grip?

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