Generally, there isn’t much information about Sudan’s military industry in general and their small arms in particular. The country has been sanctioned and isolated from the international community for a long time as a result of bloody civil war, genocide, and war crimes committed during the War in Darfur. While very little information is available, some Middle East defense exhibitions, such as IDEX in UAE and World Defense Show (WDS) in Saudi Arabia give us a unique chance to take a glimpse of what is going on in the Sudan arms industry.
Sudanese Guns @ TFB:
- Sudanese Future Soldier System
- IWI Galil ACE Spotted In South Sudan and Mexico
- H&K MP5 Clones of the World
At WDS, Sudan had a significant presence, demonstrating a large array of small arms and light weapons, some of which you don’t expect to see at the Sudan booth. Perhaps the most well-known Sudanese firearm is a locally-produced copy of the Chinese Type 56 Kalashnikov rifle called ACY01.
The Chinese heritage is easy to spot – all Type 56 derivatives have a hooded front sight, unlike the AK variants that derived from the Soviet version. There is one more quirk inherited from the Chinese – in many Norinco catalogs and documents, Type 56 is called an SMG, submachinegun, not a rifle, and Sudanese followed that example in their promotional materials,
Another rifle of Chinese origin is called “automatic rifle AFY 01”, which is clearly a copy of QBZ-97, the version of Chinese standard issue rifle chambered for 5.56×45.
Now back to “submachineguns”. I’ve never seen Sudanese made M16 versions before, so “ACY 04 Sub Machine Gun” was a surprise.
It looks like a pretty standard AR with an exception of a peculiar handguard, which actually simplifies tracking the origins of the rifle. The same handguard is used on CQ-A, the most famous Chinese AR-15 clone, so it is fair to assume that the Sudanese factory assembles their ACY 04 from Chinese parts.
The last rifle Sudan exhibited was a copy of the Dragunov SVD sniper rifle. The production technology of this rifle was never transferred to any country, but the Chinese still managed to reverse engineer the design, call it NDM-86, and at a certain point in time, transferred the technology to Sudan.
While Sudan clearly has domestic arms manufacturing capability, it is unclear whether it’s a full cycle of production or just the assembly of imported components. One thing is clear – right now, China has an overwhelming influence on Sudan’s firearms industry.