Russia’s Kalashnikov Doubled Supplies of AK-12 Assault Rifle

There could be a cause for concern as the Kalashnikov Concern announced that it had completed a three-year contract with the Russian Ministry of Defense and claimed to have doubled the supplies of the AK-12 assault rifle in 2023.

There could be a cause for concern as the Kalashnikov Concern announced that it had completed a three-year contract with the Russian Ministry of Defense and claimed to have doubled the supplies of the AK-12 assault rifle in 2023.

“The Kalashnikov Concern has shipped a batch of AK-12 rifles in the framework of an additional contract with the customer. Kalashnikov has fulfilled the 2023 commitments to produce AK-12 on time and in full volume. The number of supplied AK-12 rifles has nearly doubled against the previous year,” the company announced, according to a report from state media outlet Tass.

Kalashnikov President Alan Lushnikov had previously announced that the company had completed a three-year contract with the Defense Ministry on AK-12 supplies ahead of schedule.

Chambered for the 5.45mm cartridge, the AK-12 will eventually replace the Russian AK-74 rifles, which have been used since the Cold War. Russian sources have suggested that the 5.45mm AK-12 has higher ergonomics compared to the AK-74 and AKM. The Kremlin had previously highlighted the AK-12’s increased accuracy, the unique survivability of its barrel, and the new production technology that went into making it.

A 2020 contract called for more than 40,000 AK-12 assault rifles to be handed over to the Russian military. It is unclear how many have been produced for the subsequent contract.

AK-12: The Weapon for the Russian Soldier of the Future

The upgrade has further increased the fire density and extended the barrel operation due to a new technology. The rifle was designed as a component of the Ratnik outfit program and was accepted into service in late 2018. The Ratnik “soldier of the future” combat outfit for Russian troops includes a new combat uniform that utilizes lightweight body armor designed to protect up to 90 percent of a soldier’s body, as well as a highly integrated, wireless networked communication system that provides greater situational awareness and sharing of vital information and intelligence between each soldier and unit.

The heart of the new AK-12 is practically unchanged from the first AKs that rolled off the production line in the 1940s: it features largely the same fire control group, long-stroke gas operation, and “rotating two-lugged bolt.” This new weapon features three firing modes: single shot, three-shot burst, and automatic fire.

Yet, the AK-12 was still only selected after a lengthy and robust trial to find a replacement for the legacy AK-74, and as The National Interest had previously reported it also puts the spotlight on “how the Russian military’s arms procurement is highly resistant to change.

Legacy of Kalashnikov

The AK-12s are produced by Kalashnikov Concern, an affiliate of the Kalashnikov Group, which is the largest Russian manufacturer of assault and sniper weapons, as well as the Vikhr-1 guided missiles. The company also makes a range of non-defense products including hunting guns and rifles, sporting firearms, and machining tools. It is also the renowned maker of the AK-47 assault rifle.

The company that is known today as the JSC Kalashnikov Concern was actually founded not by gun maker Mikhail Kalashnikov, the gun designer who created the infamous AK-47. Rather the company was actually founded in 1807 by Tsar Alexander I of Russia!

Technically, it isn’t even a company, but the Russian defense manufacturing concern, and has been the main supplier of small arms for Imperial Russia, the Soviet Union, and the Russian Federation for well over 200 years. Until 2013, it was also known as the Izhevsk Machine-Building Plant. In recent years, it has supplied about 95 percent of all small arms in Russia as well as exporting to twenty-seven countries around the world.

The Concern has also been the leading manufacturer of sporting rifles and the only company to produce biathlon rifles in Russia. Famous Russian athletes who have used the Biathlon rifle at various sporting events and competitions have included Alexander Tikhonov, Alexander Privalov, Vladimir Melanin, Viktor Mamatov, Valery Medvedtsev, Renata Safina, Svetlana Ishmuratova, Olga Pyleva, and Anna Bogaliy-Titovet.

Moreover, while Mikhail Kalashnikov actually worked at the Izhevsk Machine-Building Plant, he and his estate actually have no ties to the company. The AK-47’s designer had maintained in his lifetime that he had been motivated by service to his country and made no direct profit from the weapon production.

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