Kalashnikov AK-12: Gunmaker upgrades assault rifle based on combat experience in Ukraine

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A man fires an AK-12 Kalashnikov assault rifle ahead of a weapons show in Russia in 2020.


Firearms manufacturer Kalashnikov has unveiled an improved AK-12 assault rifle, with modifications based on the weapon’s use in the war against Ukraine.

Sergey Urzhumtsev, chief designer of the Kalashnikov group, told Russian state media TASS on Friday that the upgrade followed “input” gathered from “experience of using the weapon in the special operation” – a euphemism for Moscow’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine.

He added that the first batch of upgraded AK-12s has already been delivered to the “special military operation” area in Ukraine “to specify the feedback”.

As part of the upgrade, the rifle’s two-round burst mode was excluded from the latest design, as it did not significantly increase the weapon’s efficiency and complicated the layout, according to TASS.

The other changes were to make the rifle easier to operate.

The AK-12, according to TASS, has several mounting platforms that allow for the installation of additional equipment such as sights, a front grab handle, a flashlight, a laser designator and devices for silent and flameless fire.

The 5.45mm AK-12 is “the standard assault rifle of the Russian infantry and other units,” according to the Kalashnikov website.

According to the Kalashnikov website, the Russian military has been re-equipped with AK-12 rifles since 2018.

Also on Friday, Kalashnikov said it was launching a drone-producing unit.

“We have set up an unmanned aerial vehicles department. We have consolidated all our capabilities in their development and production and are expanding production multiple times,” said TASS, the president of the Kalashnikov Group, Alan Lushnikov, on Friday.

The new unit will handle ground-based drone launch and control capabilities, as well as everything necessary for the effective operation of unmanned aerial vehicles, Lushnikov said.

The Kalashnikov Group produces tactical-level drones, he said.

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