The latest version of Russia's world-famous Kalashnikov assault rifle, the AK-12, has shown up a range of problems during initial testing, the head of the weapons-making agency responsible for trials of the new gun said on Friday.
"The trials are ending, they are around 80 percent complete right now, but there are a series of flaws in it," said Dmitry Semizirov, General Director of the Tochmash state arms firm based near Moscow.
Semizirov declined to elaborate on what the defects were, saying this was "the developer's confidential information."
The weapon was developed by Izhmash, the Izhevsk-based gun maker which has built Kalashnikov rifles since the 1950s.
Another source, however, told RIA Novosti the faults were fixable. "The weapon tests will be completed at the end of November this year as planned," he said.
Izhmash's General Designer Dmitry Zlobin has defended the new weapon, saying the AK-12 was sent for preliminary trials precisely to "highlight all snags and weaknesses in the new development." Having received Tochmash's expert observations, Izhmash's designers will incorporate any necessary changes to the weapon ready for state trials in the second half of 2013, he added.
Series production is due to begin at the end of 2013.
Development of the AK-12 began in mid-2011. The new weapon retains the overall layout and features of the 5.45-mm caliber AK-74, in service with the Russian Army since the 1970s, but has minor modifications and ergonomic changes.
Zlobin has claimed law enforcement agencies have shown strong interest in the new weapon, on which a range of firearms are to be produced including pistols, submachine guns and assault rifles for general military and special duties tasks.
Izhmash, and Izhmekh, another gun-maker, are to be amalgamated in a new state-controlled small-arms holding under the Kalashnikov brand, under a government plan to consolidate the industry, Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin said earlier this month.