The Kalashnikov AK-12 and AK-15 are Russian assault rifles derived from the AK-400 prototype. They are the newest derivative of the Russian AK-pattern series of assault rifles and was proposed for possible general issue to the Russian Army. The rifles are intended to eventually replace previous generations of Kalashnikov assault rifles in service with Russian Military and Governmental forces.
On May 25, 2010, Russia’s general news media published a Russian Defense Ministry statement that the AK-12 rifle was to be tested in 2011. The AK-12 rifle demonstration model was presented to Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin during his official visit to inspect the products of the Izhmash arms manufacturing plant in Izhevsk. The AK-12 was intended to be a possible replacement for Russia's current Service Rifle, the less modernized AK-74M. However, the idea of the AK-12 becoming Russia's service rifle was out of question, and the AK-74M remains as the Russian service rifle.
After two years of development and field tests, The Russian Defense Ministry announced that they will officially adopt the AK-12, choosing over a modified and updated version of the AEK-971 (A-545). This decision coincides with the recent sanctions against Russia for the conflict on Ukraine and also to help the Kalashnikov Concern Group financially, which was among those affected by the sanctions. Also, it was planned that the weapon will be promoted internationally, as both a military weapon, and a sporting version. Though there is still no final word regarding the said international promotion of the rifle, moreover the sporting version.
Cancelled prototypeEditThe rifle demonstrated to Prime Minister Putin was apparently a basic AK-74M in standard 5.45x39mm caliber, with some evidence of external modifications, most of which are consistent with the modifications favored by Russia’s specialist, professional military units: Picatinny rails—allowing the attachment of modular accessories, including advanced optical sight combinations, laser sights, flashlights, vertical foregrips, bipods and grenade launchers. An improved adjustable telescoping buttstock is also fitted to the rifle, as opposed to the older folding stock.
The rear sight has been moved from the front of the receiver to the rear to increase sight radius, and the combination selector lever/dust cover on the right side of the receiver has been replaced by a thumb-activated ambidextrous selector lever above both sides of the pistol grip. Firing modes include safe, semi-automatic, 3-round burst, and full auto. To improve accuracy, the rifle has a new muzzle brake and the barrel has improved rifling.
Further changes to the rifle were carried out, including a more refined muzzle brake and elimination of the mounting rail on the gas block.The proposed calibers for the early prototype model of the AK-12 included the 5.45x39mm, 5.56x45mm NATO, 7.62x39mm M43, 7.62x51mm NATO, and 12 gauge (only for the proposed shotgun prototype, the AK-12/76), though development on the prototype was later abandoned and replaced by the well proven AK-400 prototype, which later become the final production model of the AK-12 and AK-15.
Final production model Edit
The new AK-12 and AK-15 has retained the long-stroke piston balanced gas-operating scheme with rotating bolt of the basic model. The AK-12 and AK-15 features Picatinny rail for optical/red dot scopes on the upper receiver, a handguard with ventilation holes, an advanced muzzle brake, an ergonomic pistol grip, and a retractable folding stock. The rifle can be fitted with a suppressor or 40mm GP-25/GP-34 single-shot underbarrel grenade launcher.
The new rifle addresses the Russian Army’s concerns regarding the AK-12’s cost and issues in fully automatic fire and is expected to be muchcheaper to build than the previous model. It incorporates many of the same improvements developed for the previous AK-12 model, but improves the strength and resilience of some of the components.
The new AK-12’s design shares more in common with the existing AK-74 than its predecessor, but it will not be a retrofit to existing rifles. Several improvements were made to the rifle’s receiver, such as an improved and far more rigid top cover interface and a new free-floated barrel. The new AK-12 reportedly outperforms the existing AK-74 by at least the margin requested by the Russian government. The 5.45x39mm AK-12 appears to also be accompanied by the 7.62x39mm caliber AK-15, evidently of similar design.
7.62×39mm, which will replace the AK-103. It has a combat weight of 4.1 kg, a full length of 1,066 mm, a barrel length of 415 mm (16.3 inch), a firing rate of 700 RPM, a muzzle velocity of 715 m/s, a maximum firing range of 800 meters, and a magazine capacity of 30 rounds. It can also fire any rounds compatible with the AK-47/AKM and AK-103 Family of Assault . The only difference between the AK-12 and the AK-15 is their caliber. The AK-15 seems to be a backup should the Russian Army switch back to the 7.62mm caliber.
The RPK-16 squad automatic rifle is a brand new light support weapon which is expected to take over the role of its predecessor, the RPK-74, in the Russian Armed Forces thanks to its groundbreaking features. The bipod of the RPK-74 is replaced by a Picatinny rail and it can also be complemented by a suppressor. It features the traditional Kalashnikov long-stroke piston gas-operating scheme, interchangeable barrels, a Picatinny rail for optical/red dot sights on the top of the receiver, an ergonomic pistol grip, and a folding stock. The RPK-16 is chambered for the 5.45x39mm cartridge. It has a combat weight of 6 kg, a full length of 1,076 mm, it's design enables it to have a 550 mm long barrel (when the RPK-16 is applied as a squad automatic weapon) and a 370 mm short barrel (when the RPK-16 is applied as an assault rifle), a firing rate of 700 RPM, an accuracy range of 800 meters, and a standard 96-round drum magazine. It can also fire any rounds compatible with an AK-74 or RPK-74.
- The AK-12 was the very last weapon that Mikhail Kalashnikov designed.
- Putin praises new Kalashnikov assault rifle—Voice of Russia
- Putin shown up-to-date Kalashnikov assault rifles—RIA Novosti
- Оружейникам придется перевооружаться
- Modern Firearms Page
- Kalashnikov 5: Brand-new AK-12 rifle unveiled
- Kalashnikov AK-12 rifle information
- Kalashnikov Concern discontinues the old AK-12 (Prototype Variants) and replaced them with new AK-12 Model (Final Production Variants)