Reasons for upgrading and prospects for the WAC47
The main reason for the rearmament is quite obvious - the need to use single ammunition with new Western partners. However, the situation in the country is somewhat different from, say, the same Poland, where at one time this question also arose.
There is, however, an option to get ammunition from countries that are friendly with Russia, but, firstly, no one wants to spoil these friendly relations, and secondly, intermediaries want profit from resale, which will significantly increase the cost of ammunition for Ukraine. No one wants to risk just for a meager fee.
It would seem that such a situation is an excellent catalyst for the transition to new ammunition of the NATO standard, and in principle it is so, but in the current situation this transition needs to be done urgently, while there are no factories that could be simply refitted at the moment. no, actually nothing. Everything has to start from scratch, starting with the foundation of the same plants, and all this had to be done yesterday, and even better the day before yesterday.
For example, the same Poland was not so limited in time for the transition to a new ammunition that it even managed to develop its own weapon under 5,56х45, by the way, initially based on a Kalashnikov, one could even say an alternative branch of weapon development.
Thus, Ukraine, at the moment, is forced to cling to any help in the process of transitioning the army to a new cartridge and weapon for it, as well as deploying production in its territory.
This assistance was unexpectedly decided to provide the American company with Ukrainian roots - Aeroscraft. This company began its journey in the city of Lviv, but in the year 1994 moved to the United States, where to this day it has been developing tracking systems based on airships. The company does not have its own developments in firearms, based on the information presented on the site. Nevertheless, Aeroscraft offered assistance to Ukroboronprom at the start of production of the new WAC47 machine gun, which is essentially M4, of course, under license.
October 5 2017, a demonstration test of new weapons was carried out, after which the first trial batch of new machines was transferred for use in the army.
The design of the machine WAC47
The machine itself was originally designed under the chambered 7,62x39, which in the current situation is a very fortunate combination of circumstances. If we consider that the 5,45х39 cartridges are running out, then before the start of production of new ammunition, it is logical to use up the Soviet stocks 7,62х39.
So, the weapon can be adapted for the cartridges 5,45x39, 7,62x39, 5,56x45, as well as other promising ammunition, such as Grendel.
In principle, the design can not focus on, given its similarity with the M4.
The main problems of the machine WAC47
If the WAC47 machine gun were considered in the context of just a new type of weapon, then the requirements for it, of course, would be softer. However, in this particular situation, a number of variables are added that raise questions and make you draw certain conclusions.
First of all, I propose to consider in more detail the “multi-caliberity” of weapons in the context of financial expediency.
In order to change the used ammunition from 7,62x39 to 5,45x39, only the barrel and the weapon shop need to be replaced. Provided that such a replacement can be made on the spot in a military unit, then this is only a plus for weapons. However, we are interested in the transition to the cartridge 5,56х45. In order to switch to this cartridge, it will be necessary to change: the trunk, the gate larvae, if not the entire bolt group, as well as the lower part of the receiver (in a fashionable lower receiver), as the other store will be used, respectively, and the receiver of the store will be different. It turns out that when moving to a new ammunition, you will need to replace half of the parts, and those that were removed will rust somewhere. In the event that a change of ammunition was achieved not by replacing individual parts, but by changing weapons, the old machine guns could be realized even within the country, depriving them of the possibility of automatic fire. In this case, there will remain a large number of trunks, parts of the receiver and gate larvae, which are not needed by anyone and for nothing.
Another interesting issue is the reliability of the machine with our domestic cartridges. It's no secret for anyone that our weapons are very good, so good that they work great with the most ... not the best cartridges. However, the automation system with the impact of powder gases directly on the bolt carrier is very sensitive to ammunition, in particular to the powder composition. Whether all this will work with domestic cartridges, which are designed entirely for other weapons, and whether it will work reliably is a moot point.
Possible outcome of cooperation
Despite the fact that the first small batch of new machines has already been transferred to the Ukrainian army, it cannot be excluded that even after the allocation of funds for the construction of a plant for the production of a new machine gun and ammunition plant, something will really be built. Whatever one may say, the situation in the country is very unstable and one has to be a very risky person in order to allocate funds, and not small ones, for quite large projects.
In general, it is strange that in the presence of its own developments, and quite interesting ones, Ukroboronprom decides to produce something under another's license. In any case, it is too early to draw any specific conclusions on this cooperation, for the time being we can only assume and continue monitoring.