Russian firearms manufacturer Kalashnikov has revealed an enhanced version of the AK-12 assault rifle, incorporating modifications inspired by its use in the Ukrainian conflict. According to Sergey Urzhumtsev, Chief Designer at Kalashnikov Group, the upgrade was informed by the “experience of the gun’s use in the special operation,” alluding to Russia’s intervention in Ukraine.
Urzhumtsev explained to Russian state media TASS on Friday that the initial batch of upgraded AK-12 rifles has already been dispatched to the conflict zone in Ukraine for field testing and feedback collection.
One notable change in the latest design is the removal of the rifle’s two-round burst mode, as it was found to have minimal impact on the weapon’s efficiency while complicating its overall layout, as reported by TASS.
The upgrade primarily focused on improving the rifle’s ease of use. The AK-12 features multiple mounting platforms, allowing for the attachment of additional equipment such as sights, front handles, flashlights, laser designators, as well as devices for silent and flameless firing, as detailed by TASS.
According to the Kalashnikov website, the 5.45mm AK-12 is the standard service assault rifle utilized by the Russian infantry and various other units.
The Russian military has been gradually equipping its forces with AK-12 rifles since 2018, according to information provided on the Kalashnikov website.
In addition to the rifle upgrade, Kalashnikov also announced the establishment of a new division dedicated to the production of drones. Kalashnikov Group President Alan Lushnikov stated on Friday that the company has consolidated its resources and expertise in developing and manufacturing unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), and is significantly expanding its production capacity.
Lushnikov further explained that the new unit will oversee the launch and control capabilities of ground-based drones, as well as all aspects necessary for the effective operation of unmanned aerial vehicles.
Kalashnikov Group is known for producing tactical-level drones, marking their foray into the rapidly growing UAV market.
With the upgraded AK-12 rifle and the company’s focus on drone production, Kalashnikov Group continues to innovate in the defense industry, contributing to Russia’s military capabilities in various operational domains.