The Russian Ministry of Defence (MoD) has selected two assault rifles manufactured by Kalashnikov Concern as new standard issue firearms for the Russian Ratnik soldier modernisation programme.
“We have already made a deal and selected assault rifles from Izhmash. It won in cost to effectiveness terms. The quality is also acceptable for us,” Deputy Minister of Defence Yuriy Borisov stated on Russian radio on 24 January.
Borisov stated that two assault rifles manufactured by Kalashnikov Concern were selected by the Armed Forces: the AK-12, chambered in 5.45×39 mm, and the 7.62×39 mm AK-103-4.
“We also increase the number of ordered Ratnik systems from 50,000 to 70,000”, Borisov added.
According to Borisov, the AK-12 is quite similar to its predecessor, the AK-74M, and has some common parts. The Russian army is expecting the price of the AK-12 will be 25% more than the AK-74M.
The AK-12 is a fifth generation AK-pattern rifle, featuring several ergonomic improvements, a bolt catch, accessory rails, and a telescopic buttstock. The AK-12 is also has a lower recoil impulse than the AK-74M. Design work on the AK-12 began in August 2011 with the first prototype unveiled on 24 January 2012. The rifle is fed from 30 round AK-74 box magazines, but 60 and 95 rounds magazines are also available.
The 7.62 mm chambered AK-103-4 is the newest revision of the AK-47. It is also equipped with a Picatinny rail, telescopic folding buttstock and effective muzzle device.
The AK-12 is set to be used by only the elite Russian units equipped with Ratnik system. The remainder of the Army is expected to use an upgraded AK-74M, developed by Kalashnikov under military requirements and was shown for the first time at the Oboronexpo fair in August 2014.