In the latest issue of”Rossiyskaya Gazeta” published an interview with the Executive Director of the Union of Russian armourers and the head of the Center for analysis of strategies and technologies Ruslan Pukhov. We offer our readers the text of this interview.
Russian weapons designers are testing new samples of machine guns and pistols
Soon the Russian army will be joining the machines of new generation: A-545 or AK-12. Completed testing the new sniper rifles SVDM. Under a new army equipment of the “Warrior” created bicaliber weapons systems. Developed a cartridge caliber 8.6 mm.
The best samples of Russian machine guns, pistols and ammunition were shown at the largest exhibition of small arms in the United States. About novelties and new trends in Armory the fashion of the “Russian newspaper” said the Executive Director of the Union of armourers of Russia, head of the Center for analysis of strategies and technologies Ruslan Pukhov.
Ruslan Nikolayevich, what are today Russia’s position in the global market for military small arms? And what is its share in the total volume?
Ruslan Pukhov: due To objective circumstances (relatively small cost of the sample) export of small arms contributes negligibly to the total of the major cost parameters. Only a few percent. However, Russian arms occupy a strong position in the global market and expand the geography of sales of military weapons.
Recent major contracts in this field you can mark the delivery of 10 thousand Kalashnikov assault rifles to the security forces of Afghanistan in the past year, the construction of a plant for the production of 100 thousand automatic machines of Kalashnikov design in Venezuela. Signed up although smaller in size, but quite original contracts. For example, for the supply of 100 machines for underwater shooting ADS in one of the countries of the CIS and of guns PC in Finland. As you can see, the brand is associated with the name Kalashnikov remains in the price.
Kalashnikovs are oriented towards export “hundredth series” are in high demand. Traditionally popular in the Russian market of specialized small arms for various special forces and police and hunting weapons.
But to hold the positions necessary for Russia to enter the world market of new generations of small arms, including those created in the framework of the implementation of the new army equipment of the “Warrior”.
And what weapon will receive a Russian infantryman has a set of “Warrior”?
Ruslan Pukhov: As you know, in the test program as a main complex of small arms to “Warrior” are two samples of AK-12 presented by the concern “Kalashnikov”, and the machine And-545 with balanced automatic configuration, developed at the Kovrov Plant named after V. A. Degtyarev. The choice is actually very difficult, because both systems meet all customer requirements.
While the AK-12, which is sometimes called a Kalashnikov fifth generation, has high continuity with previous patterns of family AK. However, it’s not just the established model of the AK-12 does not require a body kit – he’s already equipped with everything you need. It staff installed a modern receiver and handguard, which are integrated Picatinny rail. This allows you to install on the weapon additional equipment. The machine becomes lighter and has a completely new ergonomics.
A-545 is a further development of the design of the machine AEK-971, are working in the carpet from the seventies of the last century. Scheme with balanced automatic configuration implies less recoil when firing, but is it important for a soldier, when you consider that when using the 5.45 mm cartridge malinowskogo impact the already minimal. Therefore, balanced automation, in my opinion, is nothing more than a pleasant moment for the arrow, but its importance should not be exaggerated.
A much more important factor for the customer is the shortage of production capacity of “Zid”. For the production of A-545 for mass production need, in fact, to build a new plant. And this is an additional investment and time.
Lately a lot of talk about the effectiveness of the cartridges are “intermediate” calibers range between the 5.45/5.56 mm and 7.62 mm. Why a new machine is not done for the new caliber?
Ruslan Pukhov: Indeed, the issue of new cartridges calibers 6 or 6.8 mm now popular all over the world, especially in the West. However, despite the creation of samples for such calibers (including in Russia), still no army in the world took on a massive armament of weapons under the cartridges. The reasons of a total denial of transfer of firearms to a new caliber is obvious – absolutely awesome value required corresponding to the number of cartridges for any large army.
At the same time, it is not excluded that in the further evolution of firearms will result in transition to its new generations on new calibres increased efficiency.
However, on the theme “Warrior” the Ministry of defence orders bicaliber weapon system having, in addition to the basic variant of the 5.45 mm, also options under the old “intermediate” cartridge 7.62 mm model 1943. Versions of the guns in the 7.62 mm to the “Ratnik” will be released for “niche” applications, however, it is possible to speak of a certain “Renaissance” of caliber 7,62 mm, caused by the combat experience of recent conflicts.
What, in your opinion, the overall situation of the development and manufacture of small arms in Russia? What is the position of our country in the global ranking in this area?
Ruslan Pukhov: the Soviet Union and now the Russian Federation, undoubtedly, was and is one of the world leaders in small arms. Suffice to say that the Kalashnikov rifle, with all its variations and clones produced in the world, has become the most popular example of small automatic weapons in history.
Today in our country do not stop the development of firearms in a wide range – from pistols and shotguns to heavy machine guns and a unique underwater weapons. There are constant works on the ammunition, the weapons of new design schemes and so on. Here we are at the most advanced scientific-technological level.
However, objectively it turns out that the basis of the small arms of our army to this day make up the samples, initially developed in the period from the late forties to early sixties, the same AK entered service in 1947. Isn’t there the threat of technological inferiority?
Ruslan Pukhov: Let us first answer the question about the place of firearms in the system of modern weapons in General. With all the symbolism of the machine as the “main weapon” of the soldier, it is clear that as a means to defeat the enemy in modern war the small arms fire will play a minor role. Now this circumstance is somewhat offset by the participation of the armed forces of the leading countries in the various local conflicts, counterinsurgency and anti-terrorist actions where the value of small arms fire remains high. However, the main direction of military construction remains probable participation in the high-tech war with a strong military and economic relations of States. Not to mention the possibility of a nuclear conflict.
So firearms now is not critical weapons systems. If the arms and in the production of the waste samples, as well as large stocks of small arms stored as a mobilization reserve the purchase of new samples of small arms, clearly not a priority for military-technical policy, especially in conditions of budgetary constraints.
It is therefore not surprising that the issue of replacement in the army of the same old “Kalashnikov” (now performed by the AK-74) for a long time was not a priority. Especially considering the fact that now, from a technical point of view, in General, is almost impossible to achieve a radical increase fire effectiveness of new models of small arms in relation to previous generations – what design delights any use. A relatively small increase in the efficiency of fire new samples does not justify the cost of upgrading.
Can you give specific examples of what you are thinking?
Ruslan Pukhov: Very interesting machine Nikonova with offset recoil was adopted in the nineties as the an-94. But he never became a full-fledged replacement for the AK-74. For one reason – bulk purchase of new machines for the sake of a slight increase in fire effectiveness would not be justifiable luxury. Even the US army still retains the old armed with automatic rifles like M16/M4, despite recurring projects to replace them.
At the time, considerable publicity was purchase by Ministry of defence of Russia of sniper rifles in the West, including Austria and the UK. Overcome this dependence on imports thus far?
Ruslan Pukhov: It was a decision that allowed not only to get modern sniper systems to equip relatively few professional snipers, but also to get acquainted with advanced Western developments in the field of such weapons.
To date in Russia are created and produced their own contemporary professional sniper systems, in particular the “Orsis” T-5000 or instrument Design Bureau (TU-8). Institute TSNIITOCHMASH is working on the creation of high-precision sniper complexes of a new generation of tactical and technical tasks presented FSO, FSB, Ministry of internal Affairs and the Ministry of defense of Russia – in particular complex sniper “Accuracy” in calibers 7.62 mm and 8.6 mm. In 2015 had begun the state tests of military sniper complex TSNIITOCHMASH created on the theme “Warrior”.
In 2015, successfully completed tests of the upgraded Dragunov sniper rifle (SVDM). As a deep modernization of the widely known SVD, SVDM received a number of important innovations by comparison with the basic version. In the framework of the state defense order SVDM already beginning to join the army.
Go and work on upgrading a sniper rifle SV-98.
Ruslan Nikolaevich, shows firearms and ammunition SHOTShow held regularly in the United States, in our country know little about them. It is, as they say, not at the hearing. You took part in it. Where it took place and what was in scope?
Ruslan Pukhov: Exhibition of The Shooting, Hunting, and Outdoor Trade Show (SHOT Show 2016), oddly enough, was held in the world capital of gambling Las Vegas. She is, without doubt, is one of the most important events in the world of small arms. It was attended by 1,600 exhibitors from 25 countries. This event is held annually for the past 37 years.
First salon of weapons aimed at the U.S. small arms market, which is considered the largest in the world. And traditionally it was dominated by American gun company.
This year the Armory show marked the administration of President Barack Obama can significantly tighten the rules on gun ownership for American citizens that obviously will affect their sales. Related nervousness really felt, although all the participants showed optimism, which is not surprising.
The increase in the number of crimes with application of firearms and mass casualties in the US led to the fact that since 2010, gun sales in the country began to grow steadily. However, threats on the restriction of the sale also played into the hands of traffickers of small arms, nearly causing the excessive demand.
That distinguished salon of weapons of 2016 from the previous one?
Ruslan Pukhov: I think it accentuated the feminization. Arms manufacturers in the U.S. increasingly focused on the female audience, so many booths, you could see a sniper rifle in pink, purple handguns, and special equipment for women’s concealed carry weapons. By the way, this is not a tribute to modern fashion, and calculated step. In the U.S. from 2001 to 2013, the percentage of female hunters has grown from 10 to 19 percent, in other words, there are already 3.3 million women hunters.
Of the new products that could be highlighted?
Ruslan Pukhov: From actually small arms can be noted, a new family of pistols from a reputable company Glock. This Austrian company has presented two new models of pistols – G17 Gen4 and G19 Gen4 MOS the MOS. Not far behind, and American producers, for example, Smith & Wesson introduced a new model of gun SW22 Victory, which caused great interest of visitors. Weapons to American law enforcement agencies, including the Department of defense, Ruger has developed a model gun with a simple title American Pistol. In this particular case, I note the work of the American PR – the new pistol is being promoted under the slogan “everything else is already non-American”.
Was presented to our country and what is generally the attitude of the Russian weapon over the ocean?
Ruslan Pukhov: it is Possible to answer briefly: Russian weapons go down in price. Great interest was aroused by a new precision air rifle M2R production company “Ataman”.
Exhibited different variations of the Kalashnikov. Interesting patterns shown by local craftsmen. In the U.S., many small firms and even individual entrepreneurs, specializing in the modernization of Russian models of small arms for specific customers. Very unusual look, for example, AK-50 Leviathan – a Kalashnikov rifle in a large caliber .50 BMG – 12.7 mm. It is actually “free essay on the topic” AK, only chambered for the large-caliber machine gun. Moreover, this “Leviathan” was created not in some major weapons Corporation, has made its usual American, a big fan of weapons and fan of designer Kalashnikov. Even more surprising, the Creator of the shooting “Leviathan” is going to release it for sale and I am sure in market success.
The theme of our most famous gun in General sounded very actively at the exhibition. There were lots of different accessories, such as a new pistol grip for the improvement of AK. And showed them not only the Russian manufacturers.
Ruslan Pukhov: These systems were very diverse and seemed very bright. For example, the company Safariland Group introduced a new line of personal protection equipment, simply put, bulletproof vests which on the classic “body armor” were not that good. They resembled, rather, protective gear “Batman” from the famous film – something of a cross between a knight’s armor and a space suit.
Than the exhibition could be useful for domestic developers and manufacturers of small arms?
Ruslan Pukhov: I will Remind readers that the Union of Russian gunsmiths unites more than 50 enterprises and organizations related to the development, production and sales of civil and service weapons and ammunition. And participation in such events enriches considerably the horizons of all who are associated with weapons production, allows you to “keep abreast” of the modern world trends in the development and manufacture of small arms.
It’s no secret that after 2014 the sanctions war’s impact on our producers, for which practically closed the markets of not only military, but also civilian weapons countries”sanctioners” although demand for our weapons there, and very significant. And market laws are very severe – if you forgot to return to the market very difficult. In my opinion, we still have to remind myself to Western customers, taking advantage of every opportunity. And so participation in the exhibitions, similar to the us SHOT Show 2016, because we think in the circumstances it seems more than appropriate.
During the business meetings at the exhibition as a representative of the Union of gunsmiths have tried to convey to our foreign colleagues the idea that the Russian arms industry is not static and is open to cooperation.
And, of course, to get acquainted with their achievements clearly, that is, “to feel hands”, then to share their observations with those who are engaged in the development, production and sales of Russian small arms. And readers of “Rossiyskaya Gazeta”.