Russia unveils fifth-generation AK-12 assault rifle
Russia’s Izhevsk Machine Building Plant (Izhmash) has officially unveiled its new fifth generation Kalashnikov AK-12 assault rifle.
Until recently, the new Kalashnikov rifle remained shrouded in mystery. The reason for that was that the plant started developing the new model on its own initiative. The Defence Ministry did not place an order for its development and generally greeted it with little enthusiasm. The development of the new rifle was initiated mainly by the plant’s Chief Designer Vladimir Zlobin and was completed in 2011. The new rifle is practically a base model, which enables the clients to make any additional changes to the design and ergonomics of the weapon, says an official of the Izhmash Company, Elena Filatova.
“One of the features that is specific to the new Kalashnikov rifle is its modular nature. It is designed as a base model which can serve as a basis for making about 20 different modifications of weapons which could be used for both civil and military purposes and with different caliber bullets,” Elena Filatova said.
The difference between the new AK-12 and its previous models is that it can be operated with one hand. The designers decided to install safety switches on both sides of the rifle rather than on the just right-hand side. The capacity of its magazine has been doubled to 60 rounds, while its accuracy has been improved, the new model has enhanced target pointer and a higher quality of barrel. The designers have built integrated Picatinny rail at the top of the cover to enable the use of additional equipment such as optical, bore sighter or night vision equipment. This makes it possible to use the weapon around the clock. To improve the weapon’s firing accuracy, the rifle’s dynamic and other features have been modified.
The brand-new model meets all of the Russian Defence Ministry’s key requirements apply for Russia’s military personnel. At the same time, it is also manufactured for export purposes. The Izhmash designers have managed to improve the characteristics of the rifle while at the same time preserving the qualities of the conventional Kalashnikov rifle which made it famous around the world. These include the simplicity of the rifle and reliability and durability. The rifle will start undergoing formal tests towards the end of 2012- beginning of 2013.