Russian gunmaker Kalashnikov modifies AK-12 assault rifle based on Ukraine combat experience

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Firearms manufacturer Kalashnikov has unveiled an upgraded AK-12 assault rifle, with modifications based on the weapon’s use in the war on Ukraine.

Kalashnikov Group Chief Designer Sergey Urzhumtsev told Russian state media TASS on Friday the upgrade followed “input” gathered from “experience of the gun’s use in the special operation” – a euphemism for Moscow’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine.

He added that the first batch of upgraded AK-12s has already been delivered to the “special military operation” area in Ukraine “to specify the feedback.”

As part of the upgrade, the rifle’s two-round burst mode was excluded from the latest design, because it didn’t increase the weapon’s efficiency significantly and complicated its layout, according to TASS.

The other changes were aimed at making the rifle easier to operate.

The AK-12 has several mounting platforms that allow the installation of additional gear, such as sights, a front handle, a flashlight, a laser designator, as well as devices for noiseless and flameless fire, according to TASS.

The 5.45 mm AK-12 is “the standard service assault rifle of the Russian infantry and other units,” according to the Kalashnikov website.

The Russian military has been undergoing reequipment with AK-12 rifles since 2018, according to the Kalashnikov website.

Also on Friday, Kalashnikov said it was launching a drone-producing unit.

“We have set up a division of unmanned aerial vehicles. We have consolidated all of our capacities on their development and production and are expanding output several-fold,” TASS reported Kalashnikov Group President Alan Lushnikov as saying on Friday.

The new unit will handle ground-based drone launch and control capabilities, as well as everything that is necessary for the effective operation of unmanned aerial vehicles, Lushnikov said.

The Kalashnikov Group produces tactical-level drones, he said.

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