Sep 9, 2021
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Evolution of “Vityaz”: what qualities does the newest submachine gun of the Kalashnikov concern possess?

The Kalashnikov concern’s new submachine gun is designed to equip air force pilots, special forces and other security forces, the company told RT. The task to create such a weapon was set after the deaths of Russian pilots Oleg Peshkov and Roman Filipov during the Syrian campaign. Kalashnikov believes that the new submachine gun will become a worthy weapon for pilots of the Aerospace Forces, crews of military vehicles, law enforcement officers and special forces. Experts hold different points of view regarding the effectiveness of the developed weapon for inclusion in the arsenal of pilots, but they agree that the brainchild of the concern is optimally suited for use by law enforcement agencies.

Concern “Kalashnikov” expects that its new submachine gun will be included in the arsenal of pilots of the Russian Aerospace Forces, special forces and other security forces. This was reported to RT by Vladimir Onokoi, head of the Directorate for Military-Technical Cooperation of the Kalashnikov group of companies.

“We were instructed to develop weapons for more effective self-defense of pilots. We understand that small-scale production will increase the cost of the product. Therefore, this development is adapted to the requirements of the special forces and law enforcement agencies, “- said Onokoi.

As the interlocutor of RT explained, the new submachine gun was developed on the basis of the PPK-20 and does not yet have its own name. In August, on his YouTube channel, Kalashnikov reported that the weapon was developed on an initiative basis in accordance with the tactical and technical assignment for the Vityaz-MO development work.

“PPK-20 has been improved, its dimensions have been significantly reduced. At the state flight test center of the Ministry of Defense in the city of Akhtubinsk, PPK-20 tests were carried out, which showed the possibility of placing it in an ejection seat, tests are continuing to assess the effectiveness of the changes made, “the press service of Kalashnikov said.

It was noted that upon completion of the tests, the enterprise is ready to start producing submachine guns, including for export supplies.

Versatile weapon

According to the concern, due to its compactness and high firepower, the PPK-20 is of interest in the PDW (Personal defense weapon) niche. Such a submachine gun is suitable not only for pilots and special forces, but also for crews of military vehicles in need of small-sized automatic weapons.

“Its length with the stock folded is only 41 cm. The test program at the enterprise showed that the use of 7N21 cartridges ensures penetration of the 3A protection class bulletproof vest … The initial bullet flight speed is about 470 m / s, the range of a direct shot at a growth target is 360 m “, – say in” Kalashnikov “.

The caliber of the submachine gun is 9 × 19 mm, the magazine capacity is 30 rounds, the total length is 700 mm, and the weight is 2.5 kg. The weapon is equipped with a fire mode translator, which simultaneously serves as a fuse. The new mechanism provides the convenience of using the weapon with the right and left hand. All manipulations take place without taking the hand off the handle.

A Picatinny rail is integrated in the upper part of the PPK-20, and slots of the international M-Lok standard are installed on the sides. These elements allow you to mount the entire range of additional equipment – sights, laser designator, thermal imager, flashlights, etc.

An important advantage of the PPK-20, the developer calls the ease of use “in a mass gathering of people, in urban development, inside the planning or on transport.” With the butt folded, the weapon fits into a regular backpack without any problems and has a quick-mount silent firing device.

From the video presentation of the PPK-20, published on the Kalashnikov YouTube channel, it follows that the submachine gun is adapted to perform tasks indoors, where there are armed intruders.

“Despite its small size, the new submachine gun has a very functional adjustable folding stock. The shooter can adjust it to fit his anthropometry. The handle, in my opinion, is the most comfortable. The fuse is double-sided and easy to use even for an untrained shooter, ”says Vladimir Onokoi.

According to the specialist, the slots of the international standard M-Lok do not interfere with the soldier’s movement and provide ventilation of the barrel. Also, the innovation of the submachine gun was the system of fastening the device for silent shooting (silencer).

“All these elements make it very interesting for various units of Russia and foreign customers as a personal guard weapon, a weapon of combat in urban conditions and in situations where concealed carrying of weapons is required,” Onokoi said.

  • A submachine gun from the Kalashnikov concern at the Army-2021 forum
  • RIA News
  • © Ramil Sitdikov

Syrian experience

However, the primary task of the new submachine gun is to provide protection for the pilots of the Aerospace Forces. It is assumed that these weapons will be included in the wearable emergency stock (NAZ) – a set of weapons and special equipment necessary for the pilot’s survival during ejection. The entire set is located under the seat of the VKS officer.

“Earlier, the pilots were equipped with AKS-74U assault rifles. Now the NAZ includes a Stechkin pistol. But this weapon is outdated: the AKS-74U has not been produced since 1993, the APS is a 70-year-old development, ”Vladimir Onokoi reminded.

At the same time, as the interlocutor of RT explained, it is impossible to miniaturize the usual Kalashnikov assault rifle to the required dimensions due to the presence of a gas outlet system in it, although earlier the concern’s designers demonstrated the ability to make compact and powerful automatic weapons.

Thus, in 2017, at the Army International Military-Technical Forum, the concern presented a prototype of the AM-17 small-sized assault rifle and its silent modification AMB-17. The weapon was created to replace the AKS-74U, however, as the developer notes, these products have a gas outlet system and also “do not fit into the specified dimensions” to enter the arsenal of the VKS pilots.

According to the expert, it is the new submachine gun that is designed to “solve a very important task” posed after the tragedies that happened to Russian pilots in Syria. Recall that on November 24, 2015, in the north of the Arab Republic, a Turkish F-16 shot down a Russian front-line bomber Su-24M.

Both pilots – the crew commander Lieutenant Colonel Oleg Peshkov and the navigator Captain Konstantin Murakhtin – ejected over the territory occupied by the enemy. Murakhtin landed safely and was evacuated during a search operation, and Peshkov was killed by terrorists.

Another tragic incident during the Syrian operation occurred on February 3, 2018. In Idlib, the Jabhat Fath al-Sham * militants managed to knock out a Su-25SM attack aircraft, which was commanded by Major Roman Filipov of the Guard. On the ground, the officer entered into an unequal battle with the enemy, was seriously wounded and, not wanting to be captured, blew up a grenade. Both Peshkov and Filipov were awarded the title of Hero of Russia posthumously.

  • Pilot Roman Filipov
  • © Photo from personal archive

In an interview with the Military Acceptance program of the Zvezda TV channel, the chief designer of Kalashnikov, Sergei Urzhumtsev, said that, in addition to the modified PPK-20, the NAZ could include an unloading vest (ammunition for convenient location of stores) and a compact modification of the Lebedev pistol (PLC) …

“The Kalashnikov submachine gun itself is an additional weapon system. If the pilot has the opportunity to use it, then this will mean greater firepower, density of fire, more ammunition (up to four magazines. – RT) and so on, ”said Urzhumtsev.

“Save life”

In an interview with RT, the editor-in-chief of Kalibr magazine, Alexander Kudryashov, said that the submachine gun developed by Kalashnikov has both strengths and weaknesses.

“If the pilot was forced to eject, then the calculation always goes to the rescue operation. By and large, only evacuation can save his life. If we talk about self-defense, then the objective disadvantage of any submachine gun is its short range and weak penetration. At the same time, in the theater of military operations, the enemy is almost always in a bulletproof vest, ”explained Kudryashov.

The expert believes that the final assessment of the new Kalashnikov submachine gun should be given by the pilots themselves. At the same time, Kudryashov is confident that the weapons created by the concern will be needed by law enforcement agencies and units performing assault tasks in residential areas.

“What Kalashnikov offers is definitely suitable for replacing the AKS-74U. This machine gun is very dangerous to use in populated areas due to the fact that it is capable of piercing through a car, walls of houses, that is, there is a great risk of touching civilians. A submachine gun is more suitable for use in residential areas, ”the expert says.

Shooting sports teacher Maxim Parmenov also believes that the improved version of the PPK-20 is optimal for equipping law enforcement agencies. At the same time, in the RT commentary, he did not support Kudryashov’s skepticism regarding the use of this weapon by the pilots of the Aerospace Forces.

“The Stechkin pistol is morally obsolete. In my opinion, it is obvious that pilots need new and more advanced self-defense weapons. Kalashnikov employs people who know their job very well. It seems to me that they offered an effective weapon for the flight crew, ”says Parmenov.

As the expert noted, the new Kalashnikov submachine gun was created on the technological basis of the PP-19-01 Vityaz, a compact melee weapon popular in Russian and foreign special forces.

“We are observing the evolution of the Vityaz, which is in service with Russian special forces and is exported. It is a compact, fast-firing and reliable melee weapon, ”concluded Parmenov.

* Jabhat al-Nusra (Hayat Tahrir ash-Sham, Jabhat Fath ash-Sham, Front al-Nusra) – the organization was recognized as terrorist by the decision of the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation dated December 29, 2014.

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