Back in March, we reported that the special forces of the Western Military District had been issued with the Russian Army’s newest rifle, the AK-12. The Russian government recently announced that the 144th Motorized Rifle Division deployed in the Smolensk Region has also now received the new rifle. The delivery of 5,500 of AK-12s is the largest issue of the new rifles yet reported. The troops of the 144th Motorized Rifle Division are now undergoing familiarisation training.
Kalashnikov Group recently confirmed that they are ahead of their delivery schedule with 35,000 new AK-12s delivered to Russian Army as of April 2020. The impact of the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic in Russia is unclear but Kalashnikov is forging ahead in an attempt to meet their goal of delivering 112,500 rifles by 2021.
The Western Military District’s press office celebrated the news with a statement about the new rifles, saying (machine translated):
The motorized rifle division deployed in the Smolensk Region of the combined arms army of the Western Military District received the first batch of more than 5.5 thousand of the latest AK-12 Kalashnikov assault rifles.
The servicemen underwent training in the operation of new machine guns, for the first time they used personal weapons during the completion of a verification check during the winter training period.
AK-12 – a 5.45 mm machine gun of a completely new level. Developed by the Kalashnikov concern. Compared with previous versions of the AK-74M and AKM, it has increased ergonomics. The modernizations that have been carried out have led to an increase in the accuracy of fire, and have already increased a considerable stock of barrel survivability, for the production of which they began to use new technology.
The assault rifle was developed as part of the Warrior program as an element of a promising set of equipment for military personnel.
The new rifles were adopted in 2018, and we first saw the new rifles in the hands of some Russian troops at the 2019 May Day Parade. Since then we have begun to see them issued to units in the field and the first licensing deals to produce them outside Russia agreed. For a full rundown of the AK-12’s features check out Hrachya’s earlier in-depth article here.