BREAKING: Russian Army Accepts Both AK-12 And AEK-971

Coming on the heels of (and surely related to) news that Kalashnikov Concern has decided to launch the AK-12 on the open market, the Russian Army has announced today that both the AK-12 and the A545 (improved AEK-971 variant) have passed state trials and will be accepted into service with operational units for evaluation. reports:

О.Мартьянов также сообщил, что оба разрабатываемых в рамках экипировки «Ратник» автомата – АЕК-971 (завод имени Дегтярева) и АК-12 (концерн «Калашников») – прошли государственные испытания и должны поступить в опытно-войсковую эксплуатацию в ВС РФ.

«Оба автомата прошли госипытания, оба соответствуют тем тактико-техническим требованиям, которые выдвигали в Министерстве обороны. Небольшие недочеты по результатам госиспытаний сейчас устраняются», – сказал О.Мартьянов.

Он сообщил, что в марте, скорее всего, оба автомата пойдут в опытно-войсковую эксплуатацию в ВС.

Machine translated:

O.Martyanov also said that both developed under the equipment “Warrior” machine – AEK-971 (Degtyarev Plant) and AK-12 (concern “Kalashnikov”) – passed state tests and must be received by experimental troop operation in the Armed Forces .

“Both have been gosipytaniya machine, both correspond to the tactical and technical demands made by the Ministry of Defence. Minor flaws on the results of state tests now eliminated, “- said O.Martyanov.

It is reported that in March, most likely, both the machine will go to the development of army operation in the Armed Forces

This does not mean either rifle has been adopted as a standard issue rifle by the Russian Army. However, both weapons have passed the testing phase and will be used operationally on a trial basis by Russian forces (in a process very similar to the NATO OPEVAL system). More information is available through another article:

МОСКВА, 23 декабря. /ТАСС/. Документы о принятии на вооружение автоматического стрелкового оружия для экипировки “солдата будущего” “Ратник” будут подписаны в начале следующего года, сообщил ТАСС член коллегии Военно-промышленной комиссии (ВПК) РФ Олег Мартьянов. По его словам, на вооружение, скорее всего, примут оба проходивших испытания автомата – АК-12 и АЕК-971.

“Заседание комиссии по автоматам запланировано на февраль 2015 года. Государственные испытания образцов завершены, устраняются недочеты”, – сообщил Мартьянов.

Отвечая на вопрос о выборе между АК-12 от концерна “Калашников” и АЕК-971 разработки Ковровского завода им. Дегтярева, собеседник агентства сказал: “Скорее всего, на вооружение будут приняты оба автомата”.

“Дальнейшая судьба (автоматов), кто ими будет оснащаться, будет определена в ходе опытно-войсковой эксплуатации “Ратника”, которая пройдет в 2015 году”, – добавил член коллегии ВПК.

Ранее заместитель председателя коллегии ВПК Олег Бочкарев сообщил ТАСС, что Минобороны из экономических соображений настаивает на выборе только одного автомата. По его словам, выбор может быть сделан в первой половине 2015 года. При этом Бочкарев отметил, что шансов больше у АК-12 – он близок по характеристикам к АЕК-971, но проще.

Machine translated:

MOSCOW, December 23. / TASS /. Instruments of acceptance into service automatic weapons to equip “future soldier” “Warrior” will be signed early next year, told Tass board member of the Military-Industrial Commission (MIC) of the Russian Federation Oleg Martianov. According to him, on arms, likely will both pass the test machine – AK-12 and AEK-971.

“Session of the Commission on the machines is scheduled for February 2015. State test samples are completed, defects are eliminated,” – said Martianov.

Answering a question of choosing between an AK-12 from concern “Kalashnikov” and AEK-971 Kovrov development of the plant. Degtyarev, the spokesman said: “Most likely to be adopted by both arms of the automaton.”

“The further fate (machines), who will be equipped with them, will be determined during the development of the military operation” Warrior “, which will take place in 2015,” – said board member of the military industrial complex.

Earlier, deputy chairman of the board of MIC Oleg Bochkarev Tass reported that the Defense Ministry for economic reasons insists on choosing just one machine. According to him, the choice can be made in the first half of 2015. In this Bochkarev said that more chances in AK-12 – it is close to the characteristics of AEK-971, but it’s easier.

Which weapon will be adopted is still unclear, but the Russian Army does seem very close to a decision. Interestingly, it sounds like the possibility of both rifles being adopted is not out of the question.

Nathaniel F

Nathaniel is a history enthusiast and firearms hobbyist whose primary interest lies in military small arms technological developments beginning with the smokeless powder era. In addition to contributing to The Firearm Blog, he runs 196,800 Revolutions Per Minute, a blog devoted to modern small arms design and theory. He is also the author of the original web serial Heartblood, which is being updated and edited regularly. He can be reached via email at


  • Zugunder

    Great news. I think if they adopt both of them it’s more likely that aek-971 (a545) will be used by special forces since they tend to arm conscripts with more simple gear. However there was news not long ago that Russian government will cut military budget, so I still doubt it.

  • Esh325

    I suppose the biggest advantage the AEK has over the AK-12 is that might be more accurate and controllable than the AK-12 which has more conventional mechanism, where the AK-12 is simpler and cheaper. I don’t think the AEK would too much complex for the average conscript to operate. To me it would be silly to adopt both rifles.

    • n0truscotsman

      This is my theory. (conjecture warning)

      Russia knew the AEK was overall superior (assuming the rumors about it being ahead in trials are true), but didn’t want to commit sacrilege by not using Kalashnikov. So they went with both.

      Ill go adjust my tin foil hat now

      • They have not adopted either rifle, yet. Both passed acceptance testing, and now are on operational trials.

  • 360_AD

    “…will be accepted into service with operational units for evaluation”. Off to Ukraine then? Hah.

  • Tim U

    And it’s too bad we will never see any of this innovation on our shores.

  • andrey kireev

    AEK-971 been under evaluation since 80s… nice to see this design finally recognized !
    Hopefully relations between US and RU gonna normalize, so we can have both of these gems ! Although I’m kind of scared to see how these guns are going to look to comply with import regulations XD

    • Import regulations on guns dont go away. Remember that we still have the 1989 Bush ban, banning guns from friendly nations! We also have the Chinese gun ban left over from the Clinton era.

      • andrey kireev

        Never said they do. I’m sure if relations were to normalize, sanctions are going to get removed at some point. Also , I was referring to is the way that Russian AKs were imported into country in form of Saigas…. which barely look anything like AKs

    • Esh325

      It wouldn’t be any different from the last AK rifles that were imported by Russia. They’ll just have to be redone to military spec like Arsenal does.

  • Nergyl

    “..additionally, the Russian military has announced its plan to equip each soldier with both an AK-12 and an AEK-971 at the same time. The new doctrine envisions the two weapons being held in each hand, aka ‘dual wielding.’ In related news, Putin has launched the ‘Quickscope’ training program for all marksmen…”

  • andrey kireev

    “Bochkarev said that more chances in AK-12 – it is close to the characteristics of AEK-971, but it’s easier” Nathaniel, Please Switch Easier to Simpler (more simple)…. Google translate doesn’t account for meaning of words based on context of the sentence !

  • valorius

    Us soldiers will be picking these up off the dead bodies of our enemies on the battlefield for decades to come.

    • Joshua

      What(said while laughing)? Please tell me this is sarcasm….

      • valorius

        Why would it be sarcasm?

        • Joshua

          Surely you jest that soldiers are tossing down their standard issue items to don the items of dead soldiers on the battlefield.

          I take it your experience is not within the last 20 or 30 years in regards to what soldiers do in war.

          • valorius

            Oh i see what you mean, lol, no I’m saying we’ll be picking them up off the dead bodies of enemy soldiers or insurgents to secure the battlefield, not to use them.

            It is customary to collect enemy weaponry off the battlefield after a fight. Can’t leave that crap laying around afterward. 😉

          • Joshua

            Roger that, completely miss understood what you meant.

  • Nicholas Mew

    Really dislike the AEKs stock design though.

    • mechamaster

      They need to include zenitco PT-1 as the standard butt-stock. LoL.

    • n0truscotsman

      I wonder if its mechanism dampens the recoil significantly? because those stocks become pretty miserable after a day of shooting.

      • roguetechie


        In video I’ve seen of both AK 107/108 and AEK in action it doesn’t do much for single shot recoil, but it really shines when they start ripping controlled and accurate bursts even on the move!

        Personally I’ve concluded that Russian naval commandos, VDV, and formations like spetsnaz will be the primary users of the a545 while regular line units mostly use the ak12. However in most formations I’m expecting to see a mix of both.

        Here’s why:
        1. Russian VDV paras are much more vehicle centric than our airborne units. The vehicle crews also ride down in their vehicles during an insertion! That makes the a545 a very obvious choice for most vdv personnel.

        2. I believe there is no coincidence in using a stock that is very reminiscent of the mp5 variant truly loved by naval boarding teams and etc. I’m also genuinely beginning to wonder if we might be seeing the aksu-74 replacement in the a545….

        3. Throughout the Russian military a tactic we really have no equivalent of has been taking root since early in the Chechnya campaigns. I refer to it as machine gun sniping. But basically the idea is to mount good optics on your rpk’s pkm’s etc and use them as precision weapons. They’ve even developed a whole group of different optics specifically optimized for this! In general the optics they’ve developed for this tend to be genuinely interesting amalgamations of technologies and functions we just do not see in western optics. Things like the PK-07 which is an interesting hybrid of long eye relief fixed magnification and reflex sight. It has a 7x wide field of view format that is not the best for a pop up close range target but would work in a pinch. Recently though they’ve come out with an optic that I believe if paired with a545 rifles and a unit proficient in this tactical doctrine would be devastatingly effective against a force b.trained by Americans or etc…

        3b. The optic I’m referring to come in short medium and long range forms. They are also dual magnification, but unlike say specter DR these optics give you BOTH magnification settings and reticles SIMULTANEOUSLY! So in their 1x,3.5x version the majority of the viewing area is 1x but under your 1x reticle is a 3.5x magnification view and reticle.. sorta like picture in picture. The next stage is I believe 2.5x,6x although it might be 8x can’t remember. That one also has the lower setting as the majority of viewing area, but on the high magnification version the higher magnification is the dominant view with a low magnification sliver view. Now if you really sit back and think about this idea in conjunction with the machine gun sniping doctrine and training, it’s actually a brilliant solution. And also a solution that has the potential to be wickedly effective.

        4. I believe at some point AK 12 will get a BARS upgrade as well. (hate to be a cynic but my guess is that the upgrade will come shortly after Russia delivers its millionth ak12 to foreign militaries) however even without a BARS system the AK12 would still be a great buy for many countries. While some people hate it or believe it’s not enough of an improvement over past models I disagree. Much of what was done to it was directly in service of making the rifle more robust and likely to have a longer service life. Also the side folding and telescopic stock they’ve designed makes the rifle compatible with a force that has a Hodge lodge of body armor webbing and etc. (while also maintaining the stock angle and ergonomics that are integral parts of the weapons usability! AR stocks are great on AR’S because they’re designed for it!! That same stock slapped on an AK is a waste of money, ugly, and actually REDUCES USABILITY! I hate that crap sorry).

        5. A secondary but very good reason you will see units with a mix of both is mostly economic. Press releases and photo accounts of weapon. Exporting nation’s militaries are very much about selling products. Most nations that do buy will probably at best get a few a545 for elites and bodyguards and mostly AK 12’s. By seeing over and over units like VDV spetsnaz etc using the two side by side creates a strong message that the AK12 is a great weapon and even the best of the best trust their lives to them

        • n0truscotsman


      • roguetechie

        Also NTS the information in the post below directly pertains to our other debate.

        Having seen and read everything I can about machine gun sniping doctrine and it’s implications HEAVILY influenced my ideal next generation round. Because as of right now with the combination of current tactical doctrine, the rifle we issue, and the ammunition it uses… We could get seriously mauled If faced with a unit proficient in the machine gun sniping doctrine and ethos. It’s basically tailor made to completely defeat our doctrine and weapons mix…

        THAT is why I feel the way I do. Because this announcement was the final writing on the wall warning us that our doctrine is not viable that won’t be written in American blood.

  • LCON

    going to AEK would be replacement of the AK74M, perhaps followed by development of a Compact Carbine version. Adopting AK12 however could mean a Total systems overhaul across the Russian Army’s Small arms. It’s variants mean that if Kalashnikov wins they could push for Sub carbine, Carbine, LMG, Shotgun and DMR.

  • Zugunder

    Yes, Russian text says that they are currently working on eliminating said flaws. It’s not done yet.

  • We would also have to pay an actual translator, which would reduce the amount of content we could put out, possibly drastically.

  • Who wouldn’t take both? That’s like asking if you want cake or pie. Hell, both. Right? LoL.

  • Where do you feel I am getting my hopes up? The rifles have already passed acceptance trials. I didn’t say anything about their adoption.

  • I did not mention it is also not my decision to make.

  • I am not sure about the A545, but the AK-12 is supposed to be chambered in 5.45×39, 5.56×45, 7.62×39, 7.62×51, and 6.5×39 (whether this is the Grendel or its Russian variant remains to be seen). In Russian Army service the rifles are in 5.45×39.

  • FourString

    the AK-100 series

    • LCON

      AK101 through AK104 are more or less Export variants of the AK74M in 5.56MM Nato and 7.62x39mm and Barrel lengths of either full Length 16 inch or carbine 12.5 inch. AK105 is the carbine length version of the AK74M with aa 12.5 inch barrel currently in Russian military service They then skip 106 and move to Ak107 and AK108.
      Ak107 is the balanced recoil 5.45mm carbine well AK108 is the Nato spec version.
      AEK similarly has variants in the 3 most common calibers. AEK 971 in 5.45x39mm, AEK972 in 5.56 and AEK 973 in 7.62×39

      • FourString

        right-o. thanks for the correction!

  • LCON

    Once again Timing the 1990’s – 2000’s When the Russian military was in bad shape. also the system.

  • Elijah Decker
  • Gun Info International

    Firstly, AEK is not adopted.
    The second weapon of choice is A-545. The same type with balanced automatics, but slightly more modern. And its 5.45.

    The question is- which units are going to use AK-12 and which- A-545.

    But that will be known by march 2015, the Ratnik starts to spread at that time