Russia’s Izhevski Mashinoctroitelni Zavod (Izhmash) has showcased its new AK-12 assault rifle, the latest evolution of the venerable AK-47 series.
On January 24, Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin visited Izhmash and was shown the AK-12. The company said Russia’s ministry of internal affairs has expressed great interest in the weapon, which may begin state trials in late 2012 or early next year.
Izhmash completed development of the AK-12 and began testing last. The new weapon is intended to adapt the traditional Kalashnikov to modern warfare conditions, yet keep the original’s simple design, low cost of production, reliability and durability.
One of the key features of the new weapon is its modularity: the basic AK-12 will be developed into 20 different civil and military variants and will be able to fire 5.45×39 mm, 5.56×45 mm and 7.62×39 mm calibres, while a ‘heavy’ version will be chambered for 7.62×51 mm NATO-standard ammunition or 7.62×39 mm ammunition.
The new weapon is designed with ergonomics in mind. The rear sight has been moved from the front of the receiver to the rear, and the combination selector lever/dust cover on the right side of the receiver has been replaced by a thumb-activated ambidextrous selector lever above both sides of the pistol grip. An improved adjustable telescoping buttstock is also fitted, which, according to Izhmash, reduces recoil and improves accuracy.
Picatinny rails allow the attachment of modular accessories, including advanced optical sight combinations, laser illuminators, flashlights, vertical foregrips, bipods and grenade launchers.
There are three firing modes, including single shot, three round burst and automatic. Ammunition can be carried in 30 and 60 round box magazines or 95 round drum magazines.
Other changes are a redesigned trigger mechanism and bolt group.
Izhmash general director Maxim V Kuzyuk said that the development of the new family of automatic weapons is a priority for the company, as it intends gaining a large portion of the world market share for assault rifles. Although the new weapon is intended for export, Izhmash said the AK-12 meets the requirements of the Russian military and is ready for domestic production.