AK-12 : The 5th Generation AK 7.62mm, 5.56mm and 5.45mm Rifle

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The next-generation AK rifle, formally referred to as the AK-200, has been named the AK-12. Its name refers to 2012, the year it will go into production. Izhmash is referring to it as the fifth generation Kalashnikov rifle1 .

President Dmitry Medvedev with an early AK-12 prototype

The controls have been modified so that they are more ergonomic and can be operated by an injured solider with only one available hand. Rails have been added to make the gun compatible with modern accessories.

The AK-12 will be made available chambered in 5.45mm, 5.56mm NATO, 7.62x39mm and a new not yet named caliber. It is possible that this new caliber is the 6.5mm Grendel. Wolf Ammunition recently said they were in talks with Izhmash to produce Saiga rifles chambered in 6.5mm.

The company had said that the gas and piston system remains unchanged from the earlier AK models, but it is not clear if they are going to use the older AK-74 gas system or the newer improved AK-108 “balanced recoil” system. The AK-12 will be available in a range of sizes, including a short barreled model for Special Forces.

AK-12 Prototype.

The AK-12 will be officially unveiled in the near future.


  1. The first generation being the AK-47 followed by the AK-74, AK-74M, AK-1xx and now the AK-12 


Steve Johnson

Founder and Dictator-In-Chief of TFB. A passionate gun owner, a shooting enthusiast and totally tacti-uncool. Favorite first date location: any gun range. Steve can be contacted here.


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  • Reverend Clint

    the prototype in the second pic looks a good 4-5 inches shorter

    • Reverend Clint

      or has a longer gas system

      • Winston Smith

        Nah, the second one definitely has a shorter barrel. Also note how wide that mag is!

      • Komrad

        @Winston Smith
        It’s probably a quad stack 60 round magazine.

    • Nater

      Yeah, it’s the ‘carbine’ model. The little, sub-carbine AKS-74u probably wasn’t terribly effective with it’s 8″ barrel. That’s just not enough barrel for a round that relies on velocity. With the AK-100 series, Izhmash dropped AKS-74u sized models and instead produced rifles with 12.5″ barrels.

      K-Var will sell you barrels and gas systems in that length if you want to have your 16″ barreled AK turned into an SBR.

  • KB

    I know nothing about guns, beyond wasting a lot of time on IMFDB trying to remember how to identify a chinese ak from a hungarian ak. What’s the prognosis on the future of the Kalashnikov model? Does it or the russian small arms industry benefit from access/trade/contact with western methods of arms innovation, the way ar-15 is such a diverse market on the private side? Can russia produce anything like the HK416 or the KRISS?

    • jdun1911

      Prognosis? It still be around when we’re all six feet under. However Russian made Kalashnikov have been losing ground to AR. One of the major problem with Kalashnikov is the really really bad ergo. I doubt AK-12 will fix that. They need to design the body like the Sig 556 or XCR. Both are Kalashnikov variant.

      The Russians arm manufactures does benefits from western innovation. As you can see in the picture the AK-12 has 1913 rails and grip pod are western inventions.

      The Russians produce a lot of great firearms. It’s not like firearms that was invented 100 years ago are obsolete. In fact every new firearms that is made used the same design that was invented 100 years or more.

      The Musket more or less stay the same for 300-400 years. We are currently in that cycle.

      • Lance

        And yet Russia fails to make us brass case 5.45mm ammo us westerners can reload. That’s just mean.

    • Nater

      Why do you even need to reload 5.45? It’s $255 for a 2,610 round case. Brass cases don’t equal reloadable, you need boxer primers as well. Berdan primers are technically reloadable, but you can’t find them so it’s a moot point.

      • Lance

        $255 is too expensive when 5 years ago a 1000 case was $109. In any event If importation where to halt having ammo to reload would ensure to keep me happy firing my 74 for many years to come.

      • Niceness

        Nater and Lance mentioned ammo prices:

        If now $255 can get you a 2610 round box, this means 1000 rounds are just $97. You can’t get cheaper than that.

      • Komrad

        @Lance
        Even if someone pulls an Olympic Arms and makes a 5.45mm pistol and surplus imports stop, Bear, Wolf, and I believe Tulammo all import lead core ammo. Plus Hornady makes ammo now too, meaning there is a domestic manufacturer. If import of surplus ammo stops, then there would be a market for brass cased ammo/brass and someone would fill that need. Don’t worry too much.

  • Raoul O’Shaughnessy

    A more ergonomic AK? with rails added? So they re-invented the Galil?

    • Reverend Clint

      must have realized that people are not 5’2″ anymore

      • Tuulos

        That short stock works pretty well when you are wearing body armour, combat vest etc.

  • Alex-mac

    Hopefully the AK-107 is going to be the main rifle of the special forces with it’s 3 round burst and the new 60 round magazines. A poor militarys AN-94.

    The Russians are still motivated primarily by rugged reliability and cost in their small arms. I don’t blame them, they have a huge amount of territory to defend and they haven’t got the money of the U.S nor the population of China to defend it.

    Whatever the shortcomings of their main rifle, remember there are Russians behind those AK’s, a potent force indeed.

  • http://www.quarry.nildram.co.uk/ Tony Williams

    “1.The first generation being the AK-47 followed by the AK-74, AK-74M, AK-1xx and now the AK-12″.

    Actually, if you follow the Russian designations (and they should know what they’re talking about) the AK-47 was only the prototype, of which a couple of hundred were made and exhaustively field tested in the period 1947-1949. As a result, many modifications were made before the gun was officially adopted as the AK. Note, just “AK”, not “AK-47″.

    The next generation was arguably the “AKM” of the late 1950s, which featured a stamped instead of milled receiver – quite a major change, resulting in a much reduced weight.

    The AK-74 was therefore the third iteration to see service.

    • Komrad

      I’d like to see a source on the claims that AK type rifles were never adopted by Russia with the designation “AK-47″ because I believe that is false. The AK-47 was called the AK-47 because it was accepted into military service in 1947.

      • http://www.quarry.nildram.co.uk/ Tony Williams

        This is from my co-author Max Popenker, the Russian specialist in small arms history, who wrote the following in our book “Assault Rifle”:

        “Mikhail Kalashnikov, then an army sergeant, working with his small team, thoroughly redesigned his first design, initially known as the AK-46. He changed the receiver design, replaced the short stroke, separate gas piston with now familiar long stroke piston integral with bolt carrier; he also replaced the separate safety and fire selector with also now familiar single lever. It must be noted that some of these features were borrowed from competing designs, most notably the Bulkin, or suggested by others. After trials held in 1947, the modified Kalashnikov design, the AK-47, was officially recommended for adoption. The Soviet army ordered significant numbers of AK-47 rifles for final troop trials, which were conducted in extreme secrecy. During the following two years, the Avtomat Kalashnikova incorporated more than 100 various modifications and changes. Finally, in 1949, the improved rifle was officially adopted as “7.62mm Avtomat Kalashnikova”, or simply “AK” (with fixed buttstock) and “AKS” (with underfolding buttstock). It must be noted, that designation AK-47 was officially used only for prototype rifles, submitted for trials in 1947, and never appeared in any Soviet official documents regarding army issue rifles.”

        I also have a dual-language exhibition catalogue on The Weapons of Kalashnikov, produced by the Artillery Museum of St Petersburg (which despite the name includes small arms as well as artillery). This illustrates and describes a large number of weapons in all of their variations. This uses the term “AK-47″ only to refer to the prototypes – until it reaches one labelled “7.62mm assault rifle AK, adopted by the Soviet Army in 1949″. After that, they are all listed as “AK”.

      • Komrad

        I stand corrected.

    • W

      facts…glorious facts

      • Lance

        @Tony

        Dont forget the Type 56 and East German MPI5K and other national made AKs LOL

    • http://www.thefirearmblog.com/blog/ Steve (The Firearm Blog)

      The Russians are saying the Ak-12 is the 5th gen. What would you say are the first four are? (from the official Russian/Izshmas point of view?)

      • http://www.quarry.nildram.co.uk/ Tony Williams

        Max will know better than I, but if the AK, AKM and AK-74 represent the first three, the fourth is presumably the AK-101-105 group.

        Having said that, I tend to lose track of the plethora of recent AK variants…

  • Lance

    The full sized AK-12 will have a standard 74 gas system as you can see in the pic with Medvedev.. The biggest add on over a 74M is more 1913 rails for NATO based optics. Since Russia has stopped AK-74 production for the next 5 years I doubt there be too many sales of these AKs. Some smaller sized ones for Spetz naz work will offer newer gas system.

    The problem is that if a nation wanted a rifle to fit scopes lasers and extra grips on it they buy US or Canadian made M-4 or M-16s. Most Nations like Iran, or North Korea, China Egypt, Libya, and Vietnam to name a few don’t want spec ops optics and other stuff on there weapons they want it simple for simple solders. Jdun1911 is right about the AK losing ground internationally to AR based weapons. Even NATO nations like Bulgaria and Romania and Hungry don’t want safisticated features tor rifles who lack the edge the optic could bring. Poland is dumping the Beryle AK-101s they used since mid 90s for a new rifle possibly a HK 416 based weapon.

    • Sid

      The AKs make sense for untrained-minimal support soldiers. But, the weapon looses appeal when optics and modularity become primary elements. The primary sellling point of the AK during the Cold War was that it was cheap. In some cases, given away.

      The AK-47 and AK-74 are wonderful weapons for mass attacks when used by poorly trained soldiers. But when the rounds have to hit the target, the weapons systems offered by Brazil, Israel, Europe, and the US are more appealing.

      • Sid

        Sid, everything you’re saying is foolish. I bet those poorly trained Russian soldiers know more about fighting and optics then you do. I’ve fired many AK’s and they can hit targets just fine if the shooter is good. In a US report where they acessed the Soviet armies capabilities, they said the Soviets were one of the most trained and professional units in the world. And if you think I’m full of bullshit. Then go and read it yourself.
        http://www.bits.de/NRANEU/others/amd-us-archive/fm100-2-3(91).pdf

      • ragnarok220

        Most nations like Iran, or North Korea, China Egypt, Libya, and Vietnam to name a few want spec ops optics on their guns, they just don’t have American defense budget to pay for them.

        As for Poland Beryle will be replaced by Radon (NOT a HK 416 based weapon) in 2014.

      • W

        “The AKs make sense for untrained-minimal support soldiers.”

        absolutely, such is the reason why it was contrived during the closing days of World War II, in a era of massed infantry divisions, battlefronts, and millions of conscripted soldiers. The AK47 made perfect sense in this regard. A weapon had to be reliable and effective in the hands of a conscripted soldier, which was the reality of the massive, Cold War-era armies.

        “The AK-47 and AK-74 are wonderful weapons for mass attacks when used by poorly trained soldiers. But when the rounds have to hit the target, the weapons systems offered by Brazil, Israel, Europe, and the US are more appealing.”

        Yes, it is differences in doctrine, considering massed battlefronts are a less credible threat than terrorist actions requiring highly trained, specialized soldiers equipped with equally specialized small arms.

        “Sid, everything you’re saying is foolish. I bet those poorly trained Russian soldiers know more about fighting and optics then you do.”

        Considering the Russian army is a force whose capabilities are severely crippled because their fuel is sold to commercial interests, soldiers’ rations sold to third party members, budget cuts effectively make modernization impossible for the ground forces, lack of spare parts for vehicles (ground, sea, and air) forcing cannibalization of other vehicles, and composed largely of criminal or incompetent conscripted soldiers, their credibility to fight a war with a western counterpart is seriously lacking.

        The Soviet Armed Forces were a far cry from the Russian Federation’s forces, being capable of out-mustering NATO and equipped with a wide variety of specialized units in their disposal (most notably the outstanding Spetsnaz units), though they were still largely a conscripted army that relied on blitzkrieg style warfare that remained untested against the sophisticated technology and firepower of western counterparts. The 1980’s was a interesting timeline in the Cold War; truly a testament of numbers versus technology.

        The Soviet Army had the capability of crushing Germany and venturing into Paris (though winning against the US long term is subject to furious debate), though that sun has long set on the Russian Federation. Considering conditions were deplorable for elite “A” divisions, these conditions only worsened after the fall of the Soviet Union, severely damning any capability the average Russian/Soviet soldier potentially had.

        “In a US report where they acessed the Soviet armies capabilities, they said the Soviets were one of the most trained and professional units in the world. And if you think I’m full of bullshit. Then go and read it yourself.
        http://www.bits.de/NRANEU/others/amd-us-archive/fm100-2-3(91).pdf

        I have this FM sitting on my book shelf (next to a outstanding book called “Red Army” by Ralph Peters) and, being a US Army Field Manual, describes the task, organization, equipment, and doctrine of the Red Army. It is a outstanding piece to have. The Soviet military has always intrigued me (despite Communism being a outright failure), though I believe the Soviets were far more capable than people thought they were. I find it interesting that in school or college i never read about Vasily Chuikov, Georgy Zhukov, or Vo Nguyen Giap.

    • Lance

      Sid you you don’t now much most Russian troops don’t have optics still for there rifles and the easiness and cheapness of the AK is what made it so appealing to 3rd world countries. Yes if your talking about SpetzNaz and Airborne forces you can say high effective Russian forces are. But Im not talking about Russia im talking about the rest of the world. I know your just yelling and pulling crap when you resort to personal attacks Sid.

  • Burton

    Is that a 60 round magazine!? That’s cool if it is.

  • Walter

    I communicated with Popenker last night and he stated that this rifle hasn’t been seen yet and may just be marketing hype by Izhmash.

    • Niceness

      The Russkis always do it that way. They hype a product and gauge the response. I bet they themselves don’t know when it’ll enter serial production. Look at the new GS pistol, same things. Hype at gun shows and then nothing. Who knows when these things will come out.

  • Walter

    The rifle in the picture looks like a standard AK with a big mag.

  • Hrachya Hayrapetyan

    They’d better modify the rifle to one with a short stroke piston (IMHO)!!!
    I think , because 6.5mm Grendel is based on 7.62×39 case , it’ll take minimal costs to make an AK chambered in 6.5 Grendel (roughly: they need a new barrel only).
    Nice looking AK …but I don’t see any major improvements in design.

  • MarkM

    We got to hear the inside track from the Command level already complaining the AK platform is neither modern or user friendly. They want something 50 years newer in concept, and the millions of AK’s in storage aren’t helping tip the scales for it at all.

    What would really tell us about a new rifle is if they buy extrusion or polymer molding machines and import them, along with a barrel hammerforge. We have no idea if HK, FN, or Beretta is on contract to consult on firming up a weapon. After all, if HK can make the SA80 reliable, then any of those companies can direct a T&E cycle to take the burrs off about any feasible idea.

    The Russians aren’t sitting around drinking thru another early winter, somethings up, and we’re stymied by language and professional contacts in the Euro gun market to know. I don’t see this as any different than Colt withdrawing the 901. It’s tactical marketing with diversion in mind.

    • ragnarok220

      How many of those Command level officers are using AK on regular basis ?
      This really sounds like some one in the army wants to get some kickbacks…

    • jay

      Mark, the Russians are hammer forging their barrels for a long time. They just don’t brag about it.

  • Vitor

    If it gets chambered in 6.5mm, it will be a quite leap in effective range. The 6.5mm can easily make 800 meters.

    • ragnarok220

      The “leap in effective range” will also require good optics. Giving the size of its army, I don’t think Russia has that kind of budget, it would be lot cheaper to stay with the old SVDs.

  • Benjamin

    There’s nothing wrong with the AK design. Reliable, accurate enough for combat within 300m, easy enough to use and generally a sound design. It’s hard to call any iteration of it outdated. It’s great that they bother updating the AK, actually.

  • http://world.guns.ru/ Max Popenker

    the gun that pres.Medvedev holds on the 1st photo is so-called AK-74M3, which is more or less basic AK-74M with tons of accessories bolted on, plus an ambi safety/selector and 60-round 4-stack magazine

    2nd photo shows one of the very few AK-107 prototypes, again with 60-round magazine

    The “AK-12″ is yet to be seen, as it is more of a concept than a rifle. In my opinion, IZHMASH is trying to make a good face after a major flop
    There’s a lot of BS going about ‘new AK’ over the Internet, but i will believe in anything only after seeing real prototypes

    the key thing to remember that Russian MoD is yet to issue requirements for a new rifle, and depending on who (whose fraction or lobby) will write those requirements, results may vary greatly – remeber, there are THREE major small arms makers in Russia that could, at least in theory, compete for a future assault rifle contract – IZHMASH from Izhevsk (with this AK-12 or any other ‘AK-whatever’), ZiD from Kovrov (with AEK-971 or its derivatives, see http://world.guns.ru/assault/rus/aek-971-e.html ) and KBP from Tula (with A-91M or its derivatives, see http://world.guns.ru/assault/rus/a-91m-e.html ).

    • Hrach Hayrapetyan

      Max
      What do you think about possibility of new AK to be chambered in 6.5mm Grendel?

      • http://world.guns.ru/ Max Popenker

        It sure COULD be chambered for 6.5Grendel, bout would it be? Honestly, i do not know yet

    • W

      that makes perfect sense max.

      i’m sure izhmash is trying very hard to produce a competitor to the increasingly popular AR15 platform.

    • http://www.thefirearmblog.com/blog/ Steve (The Firearm Blog)

      The second photo comes from an Izshmash press release where they refer to it as the Ak-12.

      • William C.

        If that is true I wouldn’t be surprised if the “AK-12″ is a refined version of the AK-107/108 rather than being based off the AK-74M.

        Max Popenker, you mentioned the AEK-971 series and A-91M as being possible competitors for future contracts, but what about the winner of the “Abakan” tests, the AN-94?

        I’m not too familiar with the “balanced system” employed by the AK-107/108 but could a similar principle be applied to a design using a short-stroke gas piston system?

      • http://world.guns.ru Max Popenker

        Steve, they can call it any names, but the facts remain the same – AK-12 is does not exists yet as a complete prototype, to the best of my knowledge
        and the photo, IIRC, is older than 1st mention of AK-12
        IZHMASH PR department is full of it.

      • http://www.thefirearmblog.com/blog/ Steve (The Firearm Blog)

        Yea, I know they are full of it, but its all the info I have got ;)

        I really don’t understand that company. They seem to belong to a very different era

  • Sid

    Sid,

    I didn’t say the Russians were untrained. I said the AK makes sense as a purchase for untrained soldiers. The Russian gun industry is looking to build a weapon that will sell. If you read the attached article, the Russian army has plenty of weapons. They don’t intend to buy the new AK.

    As to my training, I was in the light infantry then moved to the MPs. I have served since 1986. I know enough about weapons maintenance in a fighting force to know that the AK is a low-to-no maintenance weapon. It is not an accurate weapon when compared with modern rivals.

    Go back and read Lance’s comment that I linked to. The AK is losing ground on the international market. Now, hold that thought if you can and make the leap to my comment that “The primary sellling point of the AK during the Cold War was that it was cheap. In some cases, given away.” You may notice that I did not mention the Russians. I write that out because I am not certain how you missed it the first time. Maybe, English is not your first language. Maybe, you are blinded by your prejudice. I don’t which.

    • http://world.guns.ru/ Max Popenker

      > to know that the AK is a low-to-no maintenance weapon
      believes like that cost more than one soldier its life
      Uncleaned AKM or AK-74, left after intensive shooting of standard issue corrosive ammo in the racks for a week or two can freeze solid (gas piston would literally ‘glue’ itself to the gas tube), especially in a humid climate, and would require a sledge hammer to cock the gun for the first time after storage

    • Some Guy

      I always thought AKs were inaccurate, having only shot the 7.62 flavor, but I recently got a chance to shoot an AK in .223/5.56, and I was surprised how accurate it was. Maybe I’m not much of a marksman, but with iron sights out to about 200 yards, the AK was just as accurate as a Bushmaster AR we were also shooting. (Anything past that, and I can’t see too good without optics.)

      I’m starting to think the “flex” of the stamped receiver doesn’t matter as much as the round you’re firing. 7.62×39 is just fine within 100 yards, but stinks as you get further out.

      • Sid

        The 5.56mm AKs were probably more accurate than the 7.62 originals. I only have experience with 7.62 and 5.45 versions. But the 5.56 models were designed and marketed for the civilian market. Also, they did not have the modularity of today’s modern assault rifles.

        Again, what sold the AK to the world was the insanely low price and low need for maintenance. I still feel that making a more complex AK or one that needs optics while having to actually justify the price…. they will be competing with modern rifles that offer more accuracy.

      • Lance

        Most 5.56mm AKs are accurate like the 5.45mm versions but many experienced jamming problems and so most East European nations either stayed with 7.62 and 5.45mm (Bulgaria, Romania) or is looking into new weapons (Czech Republic and Poland). The AK-101 failed to sell like older AKs and the AK-103 did.

  • J Purdy

    Meet the new gun, same as the old gun.

  • W

    I believe the AK platform has the ability to be a highly modular, modernized 21st century battle rifle, though like the US, the Russian arms industry and military procurement branch is conservative and reluctant to change tried and true designs.

    The AK has the ability to be as modular and flexible as a AR15 (it practically is with aftermarket accessories), though needs a more innovative safety so the user can operate it faster.

    Consider the 21st century reality the AK faces. The world is now producing more wealth than ever in history, thus world armies have been invested in significantly more in terms of training, equipment, and expertise. These vast improvements in the traditional military paradigm have allowed more sophisticated weaponry to be fielded in the hands of troops that would otherwise be using Cold War era equivalents. So long as this trend continues, the need for conscript-friendly firearms may be eclipsing; given new revolutions in digital communications technology, asymmetric warfare, increasingly technical skill-intensive equipment, and prioritization on the infantry squad rather than division, i am fairly optimistic that the idea of conscripting soldiers is a relic of the past…say a military wants to be capable and relevant in the 21st century.

    • jdun

      Any rifle can be redesign to be modular including the AK. The problem is cost and if third parties willing to support it like they did with the AR and 10/22.

      I understand why Izhmash is staying with the same body on the Kalashnikov. It very hard, long, and painful process to relearn the basic operation of a new firearm in a big institution like the Russian military. However sooner or later Izhmash and the Russian military needs to address the short coming of the classic Kalashnikov design.

  • MrSatyre

    Better work like they promise, or the “guilty will be punished!”

  • Denny

    The gun seem to have good looking muzzle end and it has useable optical rail. With all this and conventional AK mechanism, what can be better? And that is regardless of caliber used. It will be always more rugged than AR15 variant.

  • JT

    Medvedev seems to have the same transfixed on his face whenever he picks up some weapon prototype. Like it has breasts on it or something.

  • BLG

    So will the AK-12 eventually be translated into the Saiga line for civilians?

  • http://kalescliff.blogspot.com/ Thomas Everett Haynes

    I’m noticing a trend…

    It is “Spetsnaz” not, Spetz naz, or SpetzNaz.

    Also, how it the AK not modular? The trigger group is easily removable, as is the butstock, grip, and handguard. And from what I can tell, the only reason it is not considered ergonomic is because of the safety, which is not a problem if you just leave it off and only put it on when you are not using it, as from what I understand, is as intended. Or the charging handle, which is about as ergonomic as an M1 garand.

    A well made one is as accurate as any other rifle, so long as you don’t abuse it, and it can take abuse…

  • Lapkonium

    Woah, wait.

    This post is a mistake. AK-200 and AK-12 are different guns. AK-200 is a minor improvement of AK-74M (picatinny rails + shitty comb ala additional safe mode switcher). AK-12 is said to be a recent development with much more differences from the original kalashnikov design (it is not yet known, not even a prorotype has been disclosed)

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  • GarryB

    The rifle in question is for the Russian military, so I rather doubt the unknown calibre will be the Grendel.
    I suspect the 6 x 49mm calibre they were playing around with a while back is more likely, though it was intended as a replacement for Sniper rifles and machine guns (ie SVD and PKM), so when they say they have developed versions in different barrel lengths perhaps they are including a rifle to replace the SVD and a LMG to replace the PKM.
    Of course the other calibre could simply be the 9 x 39mm subsonic round for sneaky beaky operations.

    Personally I think the ADS appears to have more promise than an AK-74M with rails and a big mag.
    They could put rails and use big mags with existing rifles so what is the point of wasting money on this when they should be spending money and focusing on the from scratch new weapons family to replace everything further down the track.

    How can they justify such a long testing and development period if it is just rails and a new mag?

    I have heard that they are working on a new equipment attachment system that makes the weapon easier to hold, but I would rather hear the date that the first decent photos of it will be revealed to the public.

    BTW all this dribble about AKs being inaccurate especially in the 7.62 x 399mm models is just that.
    Western special forces used AKs and they would hardly use a spray and pray weapons. Of course the myth of the super accurate western rifles has been shown to be false in Afghanistan where results show 200-300m is the real practical engagement range for assault rifle cartridges in terms of accuracy and lethality.

  • GarryB

    Based on this information in an article on the new weapon:

    [quote]Based on the AK-12 is planned to create a whole line of automatic rifles – Short for special forces to the machine-gun set to infantry. In this now creates a few samples of AK-12 ammunition of various calibres under – the traditional 5.45, 5.56, 7.62 (all mm), and fundamentally new caliber, the number is on the “Izhmash” clarify refused, citing a Russian state secret.[/quote]

    I would say that in the machine gun versions of the AK-12 that the unknown secret calibre is the 6 x 49mm or something developed from it since… perhaps using the new high energy powder used in the under water round for the ADS.
    The 6 x 49mm round was designed to replace the 7.62 x 54mm calibre weapons like the SVD and PKM, so a machine gun based on the AK-12 would be interesting, though a Pecheneg rechambered to 6 x 49mm would also be lighter and smaller and very interesting.

    The question is, if the AK-12 includes a machine gun, does it also include an SVD replacement rifle too?

    Perhaps an AK-12 in 6 x 49mm will replace the SVD, while in the new sniper units the snipers could use a mix of this rifle and an SV-98 in 338 Lapua Magnum calibre?

    • Lance

      Not going to happen no plans are in the Russian modernization budget to replace the AK. AND 6×49 has been around for a while and it never gain traction against the older but proven 7.62X54R.

      • GarryB

        The portion of the news article I posted talks about a fundamentally new calibre in combination with talking about machine gun versions.

        The Russians, with the Pecheneg have clearly voted with their feet that the RPK LMG is heavier than an assault rifle but lacks the range and firepower of a real GPMG so the Pecheneg is their FN Minimi, but heavier and with more range and power.

        After making this change they are hardly going to make the machine gun version of the AK-12 in 7.62 x 54mm because it will end up just being a PKP (Pecheneg).

        The only rational answer is that because they need to upgrade 70% of their military by 2020 that a new calibre replacing a 130 year old calibre is a very likely thing.

        The article clearly states a fundamentally new calibre… now if you say it is too expensive to drop the 7.62 x 54mm round and adopt the experimental 6 x 49mm then what calibre are they talking about… and how can that new calibre be used?

        If the new calibre is the Grendel then why bother with a 5.45mm or 5.56mm or indeed a 7.62 x 39mm calibre version? The Grendel doesn’t make sense unless it is the new calibre the Russian Army has decided to adopt… and to be perfectly honest the 5.45 doesn’t need replacing… there aren’t any problems with it.

        The Grendal is also hard to describe as a Russian State secret.

        This new calibre is either the 6 x 49mm or a further development of said round and its purpose was to supplant and then replace all 7.62 x 54mm calibre weapons in the Russian military with a new longer ranged round that offered the same or better performance in a modern rimless case.

        They are developing a new future soldier set and I suspect that means replacement of a lot of existing kit. They have shown in many spheres that the process will consist of the max possible upgrade of existing material while the next gen replacement is developed from scratch.
        T-90AM, Su-35, BTR-82, AK-200 to be replaced by the next gen Armata, PAK FA, Boomerang, and next gen from scratch weapon family.
        They might buy lots of the upgraded stuff to fill real gaps, or they might wait and produce the new generation stuff and the upgraded stuff together if the new generation stuff is expensive. Armata will not be cheaper than T-90AM so even though they are not buying them now the T-90 will likely form the future backbone of the Russian Army into the 2020s, though it might be a T-90AM turret on an Armata chassis as a cheaper tank to replace the upgraded T-72s and the T-80s as they are withdrawn.

      • Lance

        Sorry Garry but the 6×49 has been around for a whole decade and no one is making weapons for it. The Russian Army announced it will NOT replace current small arms especially AK-74s for over 5 years and even then they want more of the current PKM and AK-74M weapons. This weapon probably will be for export or SpetzNaz anyway. As for the T-90 yes some new T-90s are in service but the Russian Army is also upgrading T-80s and they plan to build a new tank in 5 years to replace all T-72, T-80, and T-90 tanks by 2030.

  • GarryB

    No need to say sorry Lance… this is all just speculation… no one will die or go to prison if they are wrong… :)

    The 6 x 49 certainly has been around for a long time, but do you think they will drop such a program and start from scratch?
    It was designed as a replacement for a 130 year old cartridge and didn’t enter production or service because a decade ago there was neither the money nor the will to update the armed forces with new weapons and equipment. Now there is money, but if the round was developed and it did what was wanted then dust it off see if there are any obvious breakthroughs that might further improve it and then put it into production and service… or are continuing with a 130 year old cartridge, or spending a lot of money to start from scratch when physics and performance requirements have not changed?

    What other calibre could they be talking about?

    They are known to be testing 338 LM rifles for their new Sniper brigades, but you would hardly load that in a machine gun or assault rifle.

    If this was a commercial product for export only then why would they need the permission of the military to reveal the details?

    This is and always was described as an upgrade temporary fix for the Kalashnikov before a new from scratch weapon family was ready by 2020.

    A retired Russian general said they had 15 million Kalashnikovs in stock and didn’t need any more… BTW by that logic the Russian Army has 20,000 tanks in stock so will not need any new tanks for 30 years.

    [quote]The Russian Army announced it will NOT replace current small arms especially AK-74s for over 5 years and even then they want more of the current PKM and AK-74M weapons.[/quote]

    They announced they will not buy any more AK-74Ms, just like they announced they would not buy any more BMP-3s and BTR-80As etc etc.

    They don’t want old weapons, they want initially upgraded weapons, and then new generation weapons. Medvedev said it was a waste of money buying old weapons.

    These new weapons will likely be deployed to special units first, but will likely become standard kit when they introduce their version of the French FELIN.

    As I said, if it was for export then they would reveal it sooner. It clearly will eventually be for export otherwise there is no point in the 7.62 x 39mm or the 5.56 x 45mm calibre versions, but this upgrade is driven primarily by the Russian Armys complaints about the basic AK… just like the T-90AM was intended to eliminate or minimise the faults of the T-90S.

    The Armata is the tank family they are developing for their heavy armour brigades and it will not be cheap. Right now they are choosing to upgrade T-72s rather than buy lots of T-90AMs and that makes a lot of sense because right now the T-90AM is expensive and the upgraded T-72 offers a lot of the features at a fraction of the cost. It means they will have more money left over when the Armata is ready so they will be able to buy more.
    However the Armata will not be cheap either so joint production of Armata and T-90AM2 will likely take place.

    The T-80 is a dead tank. It is a Ukrainian tank. They will be kept in service and receive maintainence and minor upgrades but they will be used till they are worn out and discarded. They are a dead end for Russian forces.

    Keep in mind that the heavy brigades will have all its vehicles based on the Armata chassis so these units will be expensive.. artillery, air defence vehicles, BMP and BTR like transports… all using tank chassis.

    It is going to take quite some time to build that number of heavy vehicles and they have already stated that the Tank is no longer the focus of the Army.

    I would suggest that this means that with their plans for 2,000 operational tanks and 5-6,000 tanks in reserve for a total of lets say 8,000 tanks that the current 2,000 T-80s they have in service will diminish over time and wont last beyond 2020 in my opinion. Of the remaining 6,000, probably 800 could be T-90s so by 2015 when Armata production is about to start just over 5,000 of the tanks in the Russian inventory will be upgraded T-72s. The T-80s will need to be replaced as they leave service and there are probably a number of T-90s that have been written off because of a general lack of maintainence and care, so for this period the backbone of the Russian Armour fleet will be upgraded T-72s, and even if Armata production is an enormous 500 tanks a year it will take 10 years to even get close to replacing the T-80s and T-72s.

    By that time of course the T-90AM will be cheaper and use mature technology so it might make sense to replace the upgraded T-72s with T-90AMs in the post 2015 period to get a balanced fleet of T-90AMs and Armatas.

  • GarryB

    Can I just say again… they have money now and are looking at old obsolete stuff to replace and update.
    Now I don’t think SVDS rifles and PKM and PKP (Pecheneg) machine guns are obsolete, but the round they fire is 130 years old… they have spent money on a replacement that we know about… the 6 x 49mm… and now they have the money and during a period of introducing new weapons it becomes a good opportunity to also change calibres.

    An Izhevsk Saiga rifle for export in 6.5 Grendel would not warrant such secrecy… AK-100 rifles in 5.56mm weren’t a secret either.

    • Lance

      Thank you for being civil and nice about agreeing and disagreeing.

      As for tanks yeas the T-80 and T-84 are popular in Ukraine more than Russia. But the T-80 is NOT dead either. But Russian defense web site did say T-80s will be upgraded to be kept in service for another few decades. The T-90 is a T-72 so I see upgraded a T-72 to a somewhat T-90ish status is very cheap to do.

      As for the AK-74 from what I’ve seen a upgraded for the M will be mostly inclusion of rails for accessories. over all the 74 will remain Russian service rifle. How ever they have not said they replace current and older AKs they wont buy anything now. Most funds the Russian defense ministry got from its bounce is for the Navy which feet has suffered horribly over the last two decades. The Air Force takes most of whats left for upgraded the MiG-29 and for development of the T-50 Stealth fighter. There really not much for the Army or there Naval Infantry.

      • GarryB

        One of the biggest problems in the world is lack of respect for the opinions of others.
        The fact that you read this thread means we have a shared interest, and if I knew for certain I would say so, so I am interested in learning what the current situation really is just like you and others who post here.

        Besides… it is just good manners. :)

        Thank you for being civil and nice about agreeing and disagreeing.

        The T-80 and T-84 are popular in the Ukraine because they are now only made in the Ukraine.

        The company that made T-80s in Russia collapsed and its design department (responsible for the Black Eagle T-80 upgrade concept) moved to the last remaining Tank producer in Russia… UVZ.

        There are a lot of T-80s in Russian service but many are old T-80B tanks and many are T-80Us. The clear problem there is that the T-80U has a gas turbine engine that eats fuel like 2 or three diesel engines in a T-72… it is expensive to operate and no longer in production in Russia.

        They are good tanks however so they will be kept in service and maintained but there is unlikely to be any expensive upgrades applied to them and when they are ready to be replaced they will go as they use different parts to the T-72 family that are not interchangable… they will likely be gone when there are enough Armatas and upgraded T-72s… 2020-2025. It is not dead, but its future has a dead end coming up soon.

        The T-72 upgrade makes the T-72 very much similar to a T-90, but only because of the cost difference. A T-72 upgrade might cost $1.5 million, whereas a brand new T-90S will cost 2.2 million and a T-90AM will cost 4 million. The upgraded T-72 might have 60% of the capability of a T-90S and maybe 40% of the capability of a T-90AM, but at the end of the day it is good enough and you can have three or four T-72s for the price of a new T-90AM… now 4 T-72s upgraded will be more use than one T-90AM and will leave more money available for 2014-2015 when Armata enters production.
        The T-90 is certainly better than late model T-72s even with an upgrade, but the critical parts of the T-72 upgrade is the communications and optics upgrade and a newer more fuel efficient engine.
        It means the Troops can practise their new net centric training with a battle management system and datalinks and Glonass moving map navigation stuff without having to spend too much dough now.

        In 10 years some lucky ally might get these at budget prices.

        Read this:

        http://rt.com/news/rifle-ak-74-assault-defense-457/

        The military has basically been given instructions not to waste money on old obsolete equipment. This means they wont buy products from the Soviet period like AK-74s even if they are not obsolete.

        In the link above pay particular attention to:

        “The Defense Ministry did not buy a single AK-74 in 2011 from its manufacturers Izhmash and has no plans to do so in future. ”

        And also:

        “The new weapon of choice for Russia’s military is the fourth-generation Kalashnikov rifle, known as the 100 Series. Slightly smaller, it is more balanced and more sophisticated overall.

        The easiest way to identify these models is by the plastic handguard and black club.

        Meanwhile, Izmash has come up with a concept for a new personal weapon which would be as reliable as the AK-74, but with a better range and accuracy. The fifth-generation Kalashnikov, according to Izmash CEO Maksim Kuzyuk, is due to be unveiled before the year’s end.

        “The main upgrades will be made to increase the ergonomics, usability, potential for configuration changes and increasing the fire dispersion,” Kuzyuk said.”

        I agree most funds are going to the Navy… which desperately needs it, and the Air Force is also getting its slice of the pie, but the Armys operational budget includes small arms and a thousand rifles are cheaper than one new fighter jet or small corvette, so the money goes further too.

        Serdyakov recently said:

        “On the AK-74, Serdyukov claims they aren’t rejecting it, but they have depots overflowing with 17 million automatic rifles. He says they’ll be used or modernized, some will be sold, and others transferred to other power ministries.”

        But that new rifles will not likely be bought till 2014, with perhaps test batches used up to then to give designers time to correct faults and further modify and adapt their products.

        BTW feeling sorry for the Naval infantry!! They are testing ADS rifles and will be getting Mistral carriers and Ka-52 Hokum attack choppers!!!

        ADS = http://world.guns.ru/assault/rus/ads-dvuhsredny-e.html

        Has also been tested by the VDV…

    • Lance

      Did some research again found out the upgraded T-80 is the T-80UM1 which entered service just a few years ago. has new engine and countermeasure systems and a newer T-80UM2 has a new turret design. Most newer T-80s may be in Russian Naval Infantry units replacing old old PT-76s.

      While both T-80 and T-90 are comparable tanks with modern capabilities. The T-72 is a failure from the get go. In Lebanon in 1982 and Kuwait in 1991 they where wasted by Israeli and USMC M-60A1 tanks which the T-72 was made to defeat. That design was a death trap for crew members and its been withdrawn from most CIS states and Russia as well. Ukraine dropped almost all from service and I do think Russia will retire the T-72 before the T-55 in Russian reserve forces.

      • GarryB

        With respect, you are confusing things a little here.
        When the Soviet Union collapsed the T-80U was in the process of being replaced in service by the T-80UD. The difference was that the T-80UD had a much more fuel efficient diesel engine that was rather more powerful than the 840hp diesel used in the T-72.
        The problem for the Ukrainians regarding the T-72 was that it was the cheap numbers tank so it wasn’t very sophisticated even in Soviet service, while the export models were a joke, so it does not surprise me they got rid of all they had as soon as they could and focused on the locally made tank.

        The news you share about an upgrade for the Russian T-80s doesn’t surprise me either as the early T-80s and the T-80U had a hodge podge of components many of which were sourced in the Ukraine, so an upgrade to get rid of that gas guzzling engine and to most likely add T-90 components and bits added to the T-72 upgraded vehicles would make clear economic sense.

        Once Russia was separate from the Ukraine however the Russians held a competition for a new tank as they really could not justify a two tier system of expensive and cheap tanks. The T-72 basically had all its cheap and simple components replaced with new state of the art components and systems and when tested against the T-80 was judged the winner.

        The main difference between them was the autoloader and it proved critical in real combat.

        The T-80 has its ammo stored with the projectiles horizontal and its stub propellent charges vertical in the turret ring. The stub rounds are made of propellent impregnated cardboard except for a small metal stub that is all that remains after the round is fired. The smallest spark on the cardboard surface will ignite the propellent charge and all the charges next to it leading to catastrophic explosions. The T-72 has a different autoloader arrangement where the stubs and rounds are stored under the armoured floor of the autoloader. The problems of Soviet tanks exploding in combat was the loose rounds stored in the crew compartment as only 22 rounds fit in the under floor autoloader. Combat experience in Chechnia showed that a T-80, when penetrated will almost always explode because the propellent stubs in the autoloader are exposed. In the T-72 and later T-90 as long as the loose rounds in the crew compartment were left behind and the tank went into battle with the 22 rounds in the auto loader there were no explosions when the tank was penetrated.

        That is why the T-90AM upgrade has a small armoured box behind the turret in front of the engine for 8 rounds and further rounds are carried in the turret bustle and there are no loose rounds in the crew compartment.
        The Black Eagle removed the underfloor autoloader and moved all the ammo to an autoloader in the turret bustle.

        So the T-80s have been upgraded by making them more compatible with the T-72 in terms of components and many have been palmed off to the Navy… the Ukraine ended up with the majority of them because they were based in the Ukraine closer to the west.

        The T-72 was a successful design in the sense that it was mass produced in large enough numbers to enable the removal from the front line of older generation tanks. If you want to judge the performance of the T-72 on how it was handled by Arabs without air cover then go right ahead, but even if the Iraqis had had Abrams tanks they still would have lost that war.

        If the design was a deathtrap they would not be upgrading it.

        It would make little sense to keep T-55s and drop T-72s. Comments after the T-90AM was revealed suggest that the increased cost of the T-90AM will likely result in the upgrade of T-72s instead of purchases of T-90AMs.

        BTW even on the face of it it would make no sense to keep T-54s, T-55s, or T-62s in service as that would mean retaining production of 100mm rifled tank rounds and 115mm tank rounds and logistics support for very different vehicles with very different components.

        The difference between a late model T-72 and early model T-90 is not huge and most components are compatible and in production in Russia. T-80 components on the other hand would need to be redesigned from scratch or imported from the Ukraine.

        They will scrap the T-54/-55/-62/-64s, and most of the old model T-72s and they will keep the late model T-72s, T-90s and late model T-80s with upgrades to make them more like T-90s.

        There is only one tank maker in Russia now and that is UVZ and they make T-72/-90s and soon they will be making Armatas. There is no chance they will make any new T-80s, and their current T-80s will get more an more T-90 components during upgrades and overhauls, but when it comes time to replace them they will be either replaced by upgraded T-72s, T-90s, or Armatas.

        Note the T-80UM2 is better known in the west as the Black Eagle and it only got to mockup stage… the vehicle in all the photos is non functional.
        The design took the underfloor autoloader out which lowered the turret by something like 20-40cm and moved the ammo to the rear turret bustle.
        The UVZ (T-72 makers) competition to that was Burlak which also had a turret bustle autoloader but kept the underfloor autoloader as ammo stored there was safe except in the incredibly unlikely case of a direct hit of the autoloader. These two designs were rejected by the Russian military because the ammo was too exposed to enemy fire in a turret bustle.

        The T-95 used an external gun but ammo stored below the turret ring in an unmanned turret.

        The Armata will have the same design.

        The ten rounds in the turret bustle of the T-90AM are separated from the crew compartment and are only there because the Russian military demanded the tank carry 40 rounds. To load the ammo from the turret bustle the crew have to leave the vehicle and pass the rounds in through the turret so they can be loaded into the under floor autoloader.

        UVZ wasn’t even going to put them there because the new electronics and improved gun and ammo should result in 17-18 kills in their assessment… they put the ammo in the bustle to make the Army happy.

        The Black Eagle is dead and its designers from Omsk have been absorbed into UVZ, so new T-80 upgrades will not be a huge priority. Most of the subcontractors in Russia have changed products.

      • Lance

        I was just repeating what was said on one of many armored websites that talk about Russian armored units tanks and equipment. I admit Russia and Ukraine have two different views on military equipment with Ukraine taking a western approach of Quality over quality and Russia took there Soviet approach with tanks. The T-80UD is the Ukrainian version of the T-80U with a diesel engine. The T-80UM1 is a pure Russian upgraded.

        As for you thinking older Soviet tanks yes I agree. keeping T-55s and T-62s doesn’t make sense since they have a poor 100mm and 110mm weapons and very poor combat performance against American and West European tanks. But I think the move is for money saving for reserve army units. I do think Soviet era T-72s and T-80s will make up most of the armored reserve tanks soon. Many East European countries still use T-55s Romania and Bulgaria and Poland still use them.

        As for the T-72 it self I knew Gulf War vets who saw the T-72 on a one on one basis with M-60A1s and M-1A1s and lost BIG time. The problem was the T-72 had a very small crew space which was so bad only men with a under a certain height could be selected for T-72 crew positions. When hit the small hatches made it near impossible to escape in time I knew a vet who saw a wreaked T-72 with all three crew members remains stuck ni one hatch trying to escape a fire on board. So the T-90 may corrected those problems but most NATO observers after the cold war who inspected the T-72 said it was a death trap. But that’s a old tank not the current ones. Iam a fan of not just T-80 and AK-74 I think Russia made the PKM, MiG-29, and SA-10 SAM system very well and the SA-10 is now upgraded to SA-20 standards.

  • GarryB

    These armoured websites seem to have warped your view… the T-80 and the T-72 were Soviet tanks and were used by both the Ukraine and Russia.

    The T-80UD was a Soviet tank whose purpose was to solve the high fuel consumption issues with the gas turbine powered T-80U.
    The powerful diesel engine developed for the T-80UD was developed and made in the Ukraine but it was developed when the Ukraine was part of the Soviet Union. The Russians have some T-80UDs. The only true Ukrainian tank is the T-84. The T-90 was developed in response to the break up of the Soviet Union and is a Russian update of the T-72. The T-80UM1 is an attempt to make the T-80 more compatible with the T-90.

    It took a while for the Russians to develop their own powerful tank diesels as all the latest and most powerful engines were developed in a factory now in the Ukraine.

    The older tanks like the T-54 and T-62 only had a poor combat record because of who was using them at the time. The Israelis used captured T-54s and T-55s and T-62s and they were as good as most of their other western tanks at defeating Arab forces.

    The Russian Army have a goal of dramatically reducing their tank force numbers down to about 8,000 tanks (from a total of about 20,000) including vehicles in reserve… that should eliminate all T-54s, T-55s, T-62s and T-64s and old model T-72s and old model T-80s.

    This will leave a force of upgraded T-80s, T-72s and T-90s which because of their upgrades will share a lot of common components including engines and transmissions which will greatly improve logistics and support requirements.

    East European countries could use T-34s for all it matters… they have NATO to protect them now. :)

    When a tank is hit there are a few things that can happen. A direct hit on fuel or ammo will result in an instant explosion so no one is getting out… even if they had an ejection seat. A penetration that starts a fire will give the crew 2-3 minutes to get out which is plenty unless they are injured… in which case it does not matter how big the hatch is. The WWII Sherman had large hatches and was nicknamed Ronson after that brand of cigarette lighter… whose sale pitch was “lights first time… every time.” Vulnerable fuel and ammo storage are more significant issues than hatch size. The T-90AM increases hatch size and crew space… the improved internal crew space largely comes from no more spare ammo strapped to the interior walls… so a double improvement.

    Most NATO observers might have thought the T-72 was a death trap, but Finland had the choice and for a long time they chose T-72s as their tank of choice. Its mobility across rough country is excellent and its performance in cold climates is obviously much better than in deserts.

    When in Russian hands against Israeli upgraded T-72s it seemed to do OK in South Ossetia.

    Technically the PKM, Mig-29 and SA-10 system are all Soviet designs, not Russian per say.

    The T-72 was not a great vehicle, but it combined good armour with a powerful gun and has matured into a very capable vehicle that is comparable to any in service in the west.

    Western experts also said that ERA was ineffective against Kinetic rounds even after the Soviets introduced second gen ERA. The Western experts set up tests using their own replicas of what they thought the Soviet ERA was made of and found they were right… it didn’t effect APFSDS rounds at all. This ERA entered Soviet service in the 1980s and if the Iraqis had had it fitted to their tanks the Abrams would not have had such an easy task of things, though really without more modern ammo and perhaps air control and much better training and communications there was little the Iraqi tanks could have acheived… they didn’t do particularly well against the Iranians in the 1980s either.

    One thing that might have coloured opinion was that the vast majority of Iraqi tanks in Desert Storm were T-55s or their Chinese equivalents, and they had quite a few T-62s as well, but not so many actual T-72s.

    The point is that after the cold war the western experts got a hold of real second generation ERA and found it was effective against all their APFSDS rounds so they hurridly introduced new penetrators to defeat ERA in service in the mid 1980s.

    It was very much like the shock they got testing the western german Mig-29s with their R-73s and helmet mounted sights… up until that point Sparrows were not considered very useful and NATO expected to win the air war over Europe with Sidewinders and superior dogfight tactics. After testing the Mig-29 and the R-73 all of a sudden AMRAAM got an enormous amount of funding and the focus shifted to BVR engagements using AWACS support.

    The Soviets and Russians and Ukrainians are capable of plenty of surprises, though currently the Ukrainians are at a disadvantage because of a serious lack of funds… the situation in that regard for the Russians is radically different.

    • Lance

      Its more than one web site. Alot came from History Channel and Discovery Channel documentaries on tanks too. Doesn’t say the T-72 was a interesting design just it failed to best at then current NATO tanks and failed to counter newer ones like the M-1A1. The T-90 may corrected many of the T-72 problems and is a interesting tank. The T-72 was a interesting design but was a failure in combat. The T-80US was made just before the Collapse of the Soviet Union BUT was only mad in Ukrainian after.

      • GarryB

        Not wanting to sound like a stuck up know it all, the western perception of Soviet and Russian equipment has long been based on assumption and guesswork… and most importantly commercial rivalry. Anything bad must be true and anything good was propaganda.
        A good example would be the widely held belief that the T-64 was rubbish and was responsible for routinely removing the arms of Russian tankers trying to manually reload the tank guns when the autoloaders failed… again. The west didn’t use autoloaders at the time and were suspicious of them.

        They based their belief that the tank was a failure because it was not exported… unlike the T-72.

        They obviously didn’t know the T-72 was widely exported because it was designed to be the cheap mass production numbers tank for the Soviet Union and in downgraded form for the Warsaw Pact and other export partners. The T-64 on the other hand was the high tech expensive tank expected to take over from the T-10 heavy tanks in their long range fire role with heavy armour to protect them.

        The T-80 is just an updated T-64, yet is not considered a failure… in their time they were very good tanks. Just like the Hurricane in the British forces and the Polikarpov I-16 in Russian service (which in their ignorance the History channel will likely tell you is based on an American design… which it clearly is not)… both aircraft were very very good in the mid to early 1930s when they first appeared, but they were not kept up to date and by the 1940s when war broke out they were found to be obsolete.

        They also criticised the T-62 when it came out because its main gun had no rifling so it was incredibly inaccurate… they said. The Israelis found the 115mm gun of the T-62 to be pretty good… comparable in some respects to the British 105mm rifled gun.

        Now most tanks have smoothbore guns and they don’t make such a big thing about it because they were clearly wrong.

        The history channel and discovery channel very occasionally do have very good documentaries, but they rarely do proper full extensive research. I thought it was a pro American bias when they had a program about helicopters and show about 8 aircraft… 6 of which are American military helicopters and one is the British Lynx and the other is a little German scout helo, but there was a doco about the Russian Typhoon class SSBN in which they went on about it being the best and quietest sub on the planet… which simply isn’t true, though I am sure thinking that makes it easier to serve on her.

        I remember a Discovery channel program about the best tanks and they actually included the Sheridan light tank. It was primarily designed as a missile tank but the missile was a failure so it ended up being a light air droppable tank that can be penetrated by HMG fire with a huge gun optimised to fire a 152mm calibre missile that used standard ammo no other vehicle in the US military used.

        It was a mediocre design.

        There were dozens of British or French or Israeli tanks that would be better suited to be in that program that were ignored… and like most of their top ten programs where the top ten of each type of weapon are listed the “experts” who pick the candidates are American and British… and often include idiots like Tom Clancy, whose knowledge on Russian gear is very superficial… its the stuff his bad guys use in his books and he seems to learn about his subject by reading biased western sources only.

        Just after the fall of the Soviet Union the Ukrainians got a contract to sell T-80s to Pakistan, but found that many of the sub contractors for parts were now located in Russia. The Ukrainians asked for cooperation in supplying those components so it could fill the order, but Russia is hardly going to produce parts for armour that will be used against their best client (India) so the Russians refused.

        Suggesting the Russians never made an equivalent to the M1A1 Abrams is simply ignorant… what do they think the T-80 was?

        Composite armour, big gun, laser rangefinder and computer fire control system… it predates the M1A1 by several years and was even fitted with a gas turbine before the M1 got into service so the T-80U was the first MBT in service powered primarily by a gas turbine. (there was a european tank without a turret that had one but it had a GT and a diesel from memory).

        The M1A1 was a very impressive tank… and still is, but its German gun and British Armour came from its allies, so it is a collaboration between western allies. The Soviets on their own developed the T-80 and T-72, and now the Russians developed the T-90 and the Ukrainians the T-84 which are both comparable to the current western tanks.

        The frontal armour on both vehicles isn’t quite as good as western armour, but the addition of ERA makes it able to stop pretty much anything western tank armour will stop, so in many ways they get the same result… just 20 tons lighter.

        If the Ukraine had developed an all Ukrainian T-80US then it took some time… just like creating an all Russian tank took a while too, and the reason for the T-80US was largely to replace all the Russian supplied components rather than to upgrade the tank.

        In other words after the split the Ukrainians needed an all Ukrianian tank to be carrying on with and considering the factories that made T-80s were in the Ukraine it made sense for them to pick that vehicle as a base. If the factories were transposed then it would make sense for the Ukraine to be making updated T-72s and Russia to be making updated T-80s.

        BTW I am having problems loading this page (which is why my answers to your posts are all over the place… Sorry about that). Perhaps you might like to continue this off topic discussion elsewhere?

        Can I suggest:

        http://russiadefence.englishboard.net/t870p180-russia-to-test-new-model-of-kalashnikov-assault-rifle-in-2011

        For this thread topic, and :

        http://russiadefence.englishboard.net/t1368p600-first-photos-of-t-95-and-t-90am

        For tanks?

        BTW back on topic I have seen a photo from Andy_ua that shows a new bullpup rifle called the Ax-12 in 12.7 x 54mm, the new subsonic sniper round for shooting targets in flak jackets.

        Perhaps this is the new secret round they were talking about?

        I still think it would be a good time to replace the 7.62 x 54mm though.
        Original pics here:

        http://i-korotchenko.livejournal.com/337497.html

    • Lance

      Say what you like about T-72 I based my opinion by experts on Military channel and others.

      • janus

        …say whatever you like, I _WILL_ believe American propaganda about their equipment.
        And before you flame me, I have served on Abrams, and not only do they impose a ridiculous logistic burden for parts and maintenance, but you would not BELIEVE the weak spots they have that Russian army manuals know of.

    • zoiks_scooby

      You are very long-winded. you know, more folks would read your “point,” if you kept it shorter…

  • GarryB

    But is that wise?
    It is taking me ages to post here… the page only half loads most of the time so I can’t enter my comment and have to repeatedly refresh the page, so this will likely be my last comment.
    I have enjoyed our chat, but am dismayed at the lack of balanced information you seem to have picked up from the History and Discovery channels.

    Of course there are plenty of common myths in the west… the Scud was defeated by the Patriot is a good example… the reality is that the Scud was never intended as a weapon of terror with a conventional warhead, it was a theatre weapon able to take out an entire air field… with a chemical or bio or small nuclear warhead. The Scud was defeated by its own inaccuracy… which is no surprise as it was an early 1960s weapon and by Desert Storm the Russians had rather more capable weapons on trucks (ie TOPOL).

    The questions you need to ask yourself is what can you take from the performance of a downgraded export T-72 in the hands of the Iraqis against M1 Abrams tanks in 1991?

    The T-72 was clearly the inferior vehicle, but it was never intended to be a breakthrough tank that smashed NATOs front line… that was the role of the T-64 and later T-80, the T-72 was to flood through those gaps and engage rear area targets like HQs, and supply lines where its armour and fire power were more than adequate.

    Comparing the T-80 to an Abrams of the time and it actualy comes out pretty good, though not particularly superior in any area.

    Tank development is not about miracles, it is about measure and countermeasure. When the much heavier armour and better protection characteristics of the later model T-72s were revealed the US developed new ammo to deal with it. When the US developed new ammo, the Russian designers developed new types of protection to act against it.

    The T-72 was a very good tank in comparison with an M60 which in many ways was its direct counterpart.

    It was not very good compared to the Abrams.

    Claiming the withdrawl of the T-72 from former warsaw pact countries inventories shows they were bad is naieve. Those same countries also withdrew their Mig-29s and in many cases kept their Mig-21s… that doesn’t mean the Mig-21 was a better fighter than a Mig-29.

    What happened was that while the T-72 and Mig-29 were the cheap numbers planes in Soviet service, with the T-80 and Su-27 as expensive but also more capable stablemates, for the Warsaw Pact nations their T-72s and Mig-29s were their top level aircraft with older models forming the backbone of their fleets respectively. Now when they changed to NATO they are hardly going to spend the money to replace the majority equipment in their militaries… that is just too expensive, but for them the T-72 and Mig-29 are the expensive items in their inventory so it was cheaper to withdraw them and replace them with a cheap NATO equivalent… Leopard 2A4s or 2A5s in the case of tanks and F-16s in the case of the planes.

    Doesn’t mean these planes or tanks were better as this was purely political… if you want to join NATO you need to buy our old cast offs instead of keeping those old Soviet cast offs… it was all political.

    The fact that your western experts are arguing that this proves the superiority or inferiority of anything should make you question their logic and their assertions.

    But you are completely entitled to your own view and if you don’t agree with me that is fine… you share the opinion of the vast majority of the uninformed western public who base their opinions on those same western experts.

    I am more interested in the truth however… like the average of 32 Patriots fired at each Scud that was launched, and the fact that because the Patriot was a SAM and not an ABM system the speed of the modified Scuds meant the Patriots that did hit the targets tended to shred the rear of the missiles with fragments that would be totally effective against an aircraft. The fragments would have broken the target and it would not have been able to maintain normal flight and crash. The problem is that an incoming ballistic missile is a falling object so shattering its engine will have little effect as the engine stopped working quite some time ago, so the main effect of the Patriot was to slightly deflect a lot of Scuds to change their impact point by a few hundred metres… and as they were so inaccurate (targets smaller than 2km across were pretty safe without a nuclear or Chem or Bio warhead) the effect of the Patriot was purely morale. The warheads generally hit intact but rarely hit anything of importance anyway.
    The Patriot didn’t really fail because it was never designed as an ABM system… just like the T-72 didnt fail when Iraq invaded Kuwaite… and it would have been fine if they had continued into Saudi Arabia as it took 8 months for the US to ship its Abrams tanks to the war zone so it would have come up against Sheridans…
    Its failing was that up against a coalition that included a superpower with full air control it did not really have much of a chance in flat open terrain where the enemy had the C4IR advantage and air control and better ammo and night vision equipment and better training.
    You can judge the T-72 as rubbish based on that, but I doubt any western tank could have given the iraqis the win either.

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