The modernization of the Kalashnikov assault rifle was initiated by Colonel Anatoly Anatolyev, Lieutenant Colonel Vladimir Sheyko and Major Andrei Zharkov. Initially, the idea itself was not limited only to the AK reconfiguration, the SCS and the SVD were used, and the first version of the weapon was assembled on the basis of the PKK. In other words, everything went into play, which could be used to implement the idea of creating a full-fledged working sample of the weapon in the bullpup layout. The weapon that novice gunsmiths used for their development was intended for recycling, that is, it was actually inoperable, because in addition to processing the structure, it was also necessary to do repairs.
It is clear that such activity could not remain unnoticed for a long time, and the Security Service of Ukraine became interested in the military. It was possible to resolve the issue with the assistance of the Minister of Defense of Ukraine, to whom already existing developments were demonstrated. After receiving approval and order from the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine, it became much easier to work, you could not look around and use all available opportunities for the project.
For the first time, the results of the work of military designers were demonstrated at the exhibition “Weapon-95”. Automatic Vepr immediately attracted attention, especially the paratroopers became interested in weapons. At the same time, it was proposed to rename the weapon from the Wild boar to Wolf or Wolverine, so that there was no confusion with the Russian Boar. The Minister of Defense, satisfied with the result of the work, assured the designers that their work would not be in vain, and in the near future funding would be given and an experimental batch of weapons would be ordered to be tested by the troops.
Soon the “power changed”, the minister of defense changed, respectively, the designers lost their support. Despite this, the work of the designers was not stopped, and soon, thanks to their friends, they were able to agree on testing weapons in the army. The weapons received only positive reviews, but they became interested in weapons, but the matter didn’t get any further.
For all this time, designers have patented several of their ideas, but in view of the obvious hopelessness, their enthusiasm is clearly diminished. In the 2001 year, the designers were forced to transfer all the documentation to the Scientific Center for Precision Engineering. In addition to the documentation, over 100 thousand dollars were listed there. It took the whole two years to master this money, and also to move the handle for cocking the left side on the drainage unit for powder gases and to cover the bore with a special composition to increase the service life. True, what kind of coverage and how it affects the durability of the trunk, the information was not disclosed, apparently secrecy is not allowed. Everything else in the weapon was completely identical to the results of the work of Anatolyev, Sheiko and Zharkov.
The weapon was sent to the test in the army, where again received only positive feedback. Before 2010, it was planned to purchase several thousand automatic rifles, and it was not planned to transfer the army to a new weapon. Apparently there was an understanding that with all the merits of the automata in the layout of the bullpup, this weapon has its drawbacks, so you should not completely abandon the automata in the classical layout. The cost of one weapon was declared in the area of 100-150 dollars, which is explained not by the creation of a machine gun from scratch, but by the modernization of mothballed samples. A much more interesting figure was the declared cost of organizing work on the modernization of the AK, namely half a million dollars. “Repulse” this money was planned by supplying weapons abroad, but the money for the start of work on mass production was not found, nor did they decide on the territory of which enterprise work would be launched. The main reason, it seems to me, was the long payback period of the project, given the cost of one machine gun in 100-150 dollars, to give half a million, apparently, it was considered impractical.
Of course, they also paid attention to the novelty in Russia, namely, they decided to ask what was going on and who gave permission for the production of weapons based on AK. The answer to these claims was as follows. On the territory of Ukraine, a Kalashnikov machine gun is not manufactured, the Vepr machine gun is a modernization of a weapon that is in storage, and therefore no patent claims can be made.
Appearance and ergonomics of the Vepr machine gun
At first glance, a Kalashnikov assault rifle can be recognized in it, which it is. By and large, the whole upgrade consisted only in removing the butt and moving the pistol grip forward. On the cover of the receiver there was a plastic cheek rest. Changes were sights that have become dioptric at high racks. The rear sight was able to fold, so as not to interfere with the use of the optical sight. Inside the weapon was left unchanged, the only detail that was added was the long thrust linking the trigger and trigger.
To be objective, even at the time of the modernization of the weapon, the Vepr machine gun is very far from ideal. Yes, the weapon turned out to be more compact and stable when fired, but it had absolutely all the drawbacks of the bullpup layout, to which were added its own special “minuses”.
The main disadvantage is the location of the translator of the fuse-switch mode. Since this detail was left unchanged, now it is necessary to reach for the switch almost to the very shoulder, and with the same hand, which will need to be transferred after switching to the pistol grip. In terms of the location of the fuse switch, very lucky left-handers, but immediately after the start of firing, this luck ends for them due to the fact that before the nose begin to fly through the shells. It turned out that the weapon is not the most convenient for all people, regardless of which hand is the “main” one. At a minimum, it was also necessary to move the fuse switch forward.
Characteristics of the machine Vepr
The total length of the weapon is 702 millimeters, barrel length 416 millimeters. The mass of the machine without cartridges and store 3,45 kilogram. The machine feeds from detachable magazines for 5,45x39 cartridges from AK.
Obviously, the Vepr machine was very raw. It is absolutely incomprehensible what the money was spent on and what they did at the Scientific Center for Precision Engineering, since all the work was done to them, and absolutely free. If we evaluate the Vepr machine gun as an attempt to make the cheapest possible rework of the AK into a bullpup, then the whole attempt was a success.
Automatic machines Vulkan and Malyuk
However, the work on the weapon was not stopped, which is not surprising with so many flaws, but with obvious prospects. In 2005, Interproinvest LLC began its work. The first version of the weapon was designated Volcano. By and large, it was the same Vepr "hung" with plastic. Of course, this result was not satisfactory.
In 2015, the company demonstrated the final result of its work with the name Maliuk (Baby). The weapon received a number of changes, but not all the flaws were corrected. At the moment, the weapon is being tested, and the machine gun exists in three versions for 5,56x45, 5,45x39 and 7,62x39 cartridges. Modernization of Kalashnikov assault rifles is planned on the territory of the Lviv Electron enterprise.
Design features of the machine Maluk
The weapon gives the impression of a completely modern sample, but how much plastic on AK you can’t hang is AK anyway. There are two attachment planks on the top and bottom of the weapon, folding removable aim devices are mounted on the upper plank. The handle received protection for the holding hand in front, while the safety bracket was not abandoned. A very interesting and at the same time controversial decision is the key for extracting the magazine, which is located behind the trigger. How convenient it will be to change stores in thick winter gloves can only guess. The switch modes of fire and fuse remained in its usual place. The cocking handle can be installed on either the right or left side. Partially tried to minimize the inconvenience when using the machine with an emphasis on the left shoulder, adding to the design of the reflector of spent cartridges.
Characteristics of the machine Maluk
For the length of the weapon in 712 millimeters, the barrel length is 416 millimeters. The mass of the 3,2 machine kilogram without a magazine and cartridges. The design of the stores was not changed, because the weapon is compatible with the Soviet stores, and in the case of the version of the machine gun under 5,56x45, the stores are from AR-like models.
The machine gun Vepr-Vulkan-Malyuk can certainly be called one of the completed projects of the beginning of the 90-s in Ukraine. Despite the rather difficult history its appearance, this weapon was nevertheless brought to any logical conclusion.
Obviously, even if this weapon does not get spread in the army, manufacturers will be able to offer it for export. However, the same Kalashnikov assault rifle hides behind the elegant wrapping, the reserves of which in the warehouses, although large, are not endless. Sooner or later, the question of rearmament of the army will arise and it may well turn out that even for such modernization there will not be the original weapon.
Many say that the Maluk machine guns are the first step towards the standardization of weapons in accordance with NATO requirements, but you shouldn’t consider this in this context, for the same reason that AK stocks will end sooner or later and the barrel will change to 5,56 and saw off the stock just nothing. In this regard, the problem of creating your own machine gun for Ukraine remains, since the Kalashnikov concern is unlikely to give the go-ahead for weapons production, especially after uncoordinated modernization works.
In other words, no matter how much they shouted about their own new Ukrainian machine gun, it is not as such, since it was produced in the USSR, and in Ukraine it was only modernized. In general, the machine Maluk should probably be viewed more as an export product, and not a weapon for internal use. Apparently, the Soviet AK ceased to be in demand and have to update them to buy them.
In addition to the wild boar, also referred to the machine with a balanced automatics, which had the name of the Forty. There is absolutely no data on this machine, many even question the existence of this project. Perhaps the project did exist, but the balanced automation system did not yield to Ukrainian designers, and because of problems with reliability, the weapon remained unknown. Or maybe there really was no such weapon at all.
It is also worth mentioning that the weapons company Fort, currently produces two machine guns. These machines are not Ukrainian developments. Thus, the weapon under the designation Fort 221, 222, 223, 224 is a different version of the Israeli machine Tavor. The models behind the 227,228 and 229 numbers are variants of the same Israeli weapons, namely the Galil machine gun. Based on this, we can safely say that at the moment fully Ukrainian machine does not exist yet.