Sep 10, 2021
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The evolution of ergonomics: how the family of the latest Russian AK-12 assault rifles is developing

The Kalashnikov group of companies is developing new assault rifles in the AK-12 family, the concern said. Kalashnikov created a new modification of this weapon called AK-12SP with significantly improved ergonomics. This machine was first presented to the public at the Army-2021 forum. Experts note that the AK-12 and its derivatives fully meet the requirements for modern individual small arms and will develop in accordance with today’s trends.

Kalashnikov is developing new assault rifles in the AK-12 family and includes new models in it, the concern said.

Kalashnikov Group of Companies is expanding the AK-12 assault rifle family. In particular, the AK-12SP was developed on its own initiative. This assault rifle is a version of the AK-12, in which a set of technical solutions has been introduced to increase the effectiveness of the assault rifle. The design of the units that make up the basis for the reliability of the AK remained unchanged, ”the press service of the company quoted TASS as saying.

In particular, in the developed AK-12SP, due to new components, ergonomics were improved.

“The AK-12SP buttstock can additionally be equipped with a light folding cheek, allowing to ensure the optimal position of the shooter’s head when firing using optical sights,” the Kalashnikov reported.

In addition, a double-sided fuse was added to the design of the new AK-12 modification – a fire translator, which makes it possible to effectively operate it with both the right and left dominant hand.

“The machine can also be equipped with Picatinny and M-Lok interfaces for installing sighting systems,” added the concern.

Now “Kalashnikov” produces AK-12 assault rifles, which have already been finalized following the results of operation in the army.

“The GC is already producing AK-12, modified according to the results of this operation, the capacities of the enterprises are loaded for a long time,” the company noted.

History of creation

For the first time, the AK-12SP assault rifle was presented at the Army-2021 International Military-Technical Forum in August this year. The mass of an unloaded machine without additional accessories is 3.6 kg. The muzzle velocity is 900 m / s, the rate of fire is 600-700 rounds per minute. These indicators are comparable to the baseline AK-12, due to the general mechanism. A number of media outlets reported that the new ergonomics and components indicate that the new modification of the machine is intended for use in special forces.

AK-12SP will become the newest representative of the family of automatic machines, the development of which began in 2011 at the Izhmash plant, which later became part of the Kalashnikov concern. The prototype AK-12 in 2013 was submitted to the competition of the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation for the creation of a new individual small arms for use together with the “Ratnik” equipment complex.

In 2015, the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation decided that the AK-12 did not meet the requirements of the technical specifications of the competition, and gave preference to its competitors – the AEK-971 family of assault rifles from the Kovrov plant named after I. Degtyarev.

Concern “Kalashnikov” decided to abandon the initial concept of AK-12 and relaunched the project under the working name AK-400, taking as a basis the technical solutions of the AK-74M assault rifle of the previous generation and the commercially successful AK-103 assault rifle of the “hundredth” series.

The fully updated AK-12 assault rifle was sent to the second stage of state tests. In 2018, the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation decided to adopt it as an individual weapon for military personnel of the ground forces. At the same time, the automata of the plant named after. Degtyarev AEK-971 and AEK-973 were also adopted as weapons of special forces.

The basic AK-12 assault rifle with an empty magazine weighs 3.5 kg. The length of the weapon in the firing position is 880-940 mm, with the stock folded – 690 mm. The barrel length is 415 mm. Rate of fire – 700 rounds per minute. Magazine capacity – 30 rounds. The assault rifle is equipped with a telescopic buttstock with improved ergonomics, a new diopter sight and a quick-release device for silent and flameless shooting.

  • AK-12 assault rifle
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The AK-12 assault rifle uses intermediate-caliber cartridges of 5.45 × 39 mm. After the development and adoption of these ammunition, the main weapon of the Soviet and then the Russian army was the AK-74M assault rifle complex, designed by Mikhail Kalashnikov. The new weapon was supposed to replace the outdated AK-74M, which is the main weapon of the Ground Forces of the RF Armed Forces.

Together with the AK-12, the AK-15 assault rifle was adopted for the 7.62 × 39 mm cartridge, previously used in the AK-47 and AKM assault rifles.

Modern capabilities

Earlier, Kalashnikov reported that the AK-12 will adapt to the individual data of each serviceman.

“From the point of view of ergonomics, the AK-12 assault rifle can adapt to the anthropometric parameters and equipment of each particular serviceman,” the company noted.

The ergonomics of the Soviet and Russian AK-74 and AK-74M assault rifles did not allow setting up the assault rifle for maximum efficient use by each fighter. Kalashnikov stressed that the newest AK-12 can be equipped with a wide range of sighting devices without installing any additional adapters.

“Collimator, optical sights and other equipment for the AK-12 can be installed on a machine gun without additional adapters or other devices. As part of the Ratnik research and development work, by order of the Ministry of Defense, enterprises of the optical industry have created various night, thermal and collimator sights, laser designators, front handles, flashlights, ”the company said.

Representatives of Kalashnikov stressed that, following the results of trial operation in the troops, the reviews of the new AK-12 are overwhelmingly positive.

“AK-12 can be effectively used at any time of the day, it is distinguished by good ergonomics and accuracy of fire. Its design has been fully worked out, and the customer confirms this, ”said Kalashnikov.

The appearance of a new generation of automatic machines in Russia was also noticed in the Western expert community. So, the American military-political magazine The National Interest noted in one of its materials that new weapons for Russian soldiers should be reliable and all-weather.

“Russia needs a proven assault rifle that can operate in harsh weather conditions, including snow, mud and sand. The new army assault rifles look familiar: the AK-12 and AK-15 assault rifles are direct descendants of the legendary AK-47, ”the newspaper notes.

The National Interest emphasizes that Kalashnikov assault rifles will be operated by the Russian armed forces for a long time to come.

“The original AK-47 survived the collapse of the Soviet Union and has proven its durability and strength. The AK is as much a part of today’s Russian identity as the M16 is to America. It is safe to say that the Kalashnikovs will still be in operation in 2047, a hundred years after the machine gun first entered the Red Army, ”the newspaper notes.

Classic design

The founder of the Military Russia portal Dmitry Kornev, in a commentary to RT, noted that the AK-12 will become the basis for a whole series of assault rifles of various modifications, like the AK-47 and AK-74 in their time.

“This model is based on the classic design, the scheme of the AK assault rifle, while the design is completely new, in particular, new materials are used, as a result of which it becomes more ergonomic and lightweight,” the expert noted.

The new modification for special forces should be even more convenient and have wider customization options, Dmitry Kornev emphasized.

“The old reliable design, coupled with new modifications, makes the AK-12SP more convenient to use, lighter, and therefore more accurate, because it is more convenient to use in confined spaces. You can hang a variety of additional devices on this machine, including sights, silencers, which may be required by special forces with close fire contact, “the interlocutor of RT explained.

Improvement in ergonomics positively characterizes the AK-12SP, since today all manufacturers are fighting to improve the usability of weapons, Alexander Butyrin, columnist for the Fire Frontier magazine, explained in a conversation with RT.

“It was predicted that the AK-12 would develop taking into account new weapons trends, including tuning. A great advantage of this model is the ability to fire AK-12SP for both right-handers and left-handers. The translation of fire from both sides is needed so that the soldier can shoot from both the left and right hands, this is especially important when firing from a cover, for example, from around a corner, ”the expert concluded.

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