Photo of the plant named after V. A. Degtyarev
July 1, 2020 RIA "News”With reference to its sources in the Russian military-industrial complex reported that in Kovrov at the famous plant named after Degtyarev (ZiD), the process of serial production of the new Russian machine gun A-545 (GRAU index 6P67) began. This 5,45 mm assault rifle was developed in Kovrov as part of the work to create a small weapons for a set of Russian military equipment “Ratnik”.
Kovrov assault rifles A-545 and A-762 (chambered for 7,62x39 mm) are often called competitors for the AK-12 and AK-15. However, the Izhevsk and Kovrov machine guns have different specializations, each of them has its own niche in the Russian armed forces. If Kalashnikov traditionally remains the main small arms of linear units, the Kovrov assault rifles are intended primarily for arming the soldiers of army special forces and special services.
The main advantage of the A-545 over the AK-12
In Kovrov, new submachine guns for 5,45-mm and 7,62-mm cartridges are called the successors of the balanced submachine guns created on the ZiD in the 1980s. Due to the wide access to new materials, as well as the capabilities of modern technologies and industry, a factory in the Vladimir region managed to develop a line of balanced machines with new qualities. The main advantages of the A-545 assault rifle in Kovrov include the best fire accuracy, improved ergonomics that meet the requirements of the XNUMXst century, and a higher rate of fire of weapons.
Both assault rifles, both A-545 and AK-12, underwent full-fledged military tests and were eventually adopted. But the models have their own characteristics, which make two new Russian automatic machines unique. At the same time, the military has no questions about the reliability of models. Both machines have passed the test with dignity. As noted in Kovrov, the A-545 and A-762 assault rifles are in no way inferior to their competitors from Izhevsk.
Photo of the plant named after V. A. Degtyarev
The reliability of the machines created in the Vladimir region and in Udmurtia is comparable. According to this criterion, the A-545 is in no way inferior to the updated model of the Kalashnikov assault rifle. Both machines were tested including in difficult operating conditions in different weathers: in rain, in frost, in heat, in conditions of severe dust. They threw the machine and onto the concrete floor, simulating accidental falls and possible overloads. The weapon withstood all "bullying" over itself and worked flawlessly.
The main advantage of the Kovrov automatic A-545 over Izhevsk AK-12 is the accuracy of fire. It is for this indicator that the A-545 outperforms its competitor. The same applies to the model chambered for 7,62x39 mm, which is superior to the AK-15. They were able to increase the accuracy of firing in Kovrov thanks to the balanced automation scheme implemented in the model, which is considered the main “feature” of Kovrov’s weapons. Back in the 1970s, this scheme was proposed by Viktor Tkachov, who is an employee of TsNIItochmash.
When firing Kalashnikovs, the arrow and the weapon itself are affected not only by the momentum of the shot, but also by the momentum from the moving parts of the bolt group of the machine. This translates into the fact that the barrel of the weapon when shooting noticeably leads away. In machine guns designed in Kovrov, the recoil momentum is effectively suppressed by the use of a special counterweight balancer, which, after firing, starts moving towards the bolt frame of the machine. This balanced automation on the A-545 model is especially good when firing in short bursts.
Officers who tested the Kovrov machine gun distinguish its accuracy when firing from unstable positions. Thanks to this, the weapons of Kovrov’s gunsmiths are excellent for solving combat missions in buildings and in urban environments, when it is not known exactly where the enemy might seem from. Experts also highlight the A-545 sights in the form of a mechanical diopter sight. For domestic models of small arms, this is an unusual solution, an ordinary open sight is installed on the AK. At the same time, experts believe that weapons with a diopter sight, although it requires some preparation from the shooter, are more accurate in operation.
A-545: weapons are not for everyone
Because of its characteristics, the new machine gun from Kovrov is not a weapon for everyone. It is more difficult to manufacture and more expensive than Kalashnikov. That is why the Russian military did not initially plan to equip conventional military units with a new Kovrov machine gun, often consisting of conscripts. This weapon has its own niche today: special forces units, scouts, and fighters of various special forces.
Izhevsk AK-12 will remain the mass Russian machine gun. There is no tragedy in this. The Kalashnikov assault rifle is widely known in Russia to almost everyone. It is able to disassemble and assemble any student who did not skip lessons OBZH. But for the proper operation of the A-545, a more trained contingent is needed. An important point is that Russian industry has long been familiar with all the nuances of manufacturing a Kalashnikov assault rifle, its production technology is well mastered and allows mass production to be established in a very limited time in case of war.
Moreover, in some sources today you can find evidence that the AK-12 is more effective than the A-545 when firing at a distance of more than 300 meters. This is achieved through more efficient firing of single rounds from the Izhevsk assault rifle. Whereas the Kovrov models are superior to the Izhevsk ones in the accuracy of automatic fire at a distance of up to 300 meters. At greater distances, burst shooting is no longer so effective. In any case, the presence of two modern assault rifles that have undergone state tests and have been put into service increases variability, making it possible to equip units with weapons that are more suitable for solving specific combat missions.
The difficult fate of machines from Kovrov
Both Kovrov assault rifles, which were adopted by the Russian army, went a very complicated and thorny path from the idea to implementation and subsequent adoption. The real progenitor of the A-545 assault rifle is the AEK-971 assault rifle developed in the Soviet Union (a single Koksharov assault rifle). This model of small arms was developed by carpet weavers in 1978.
The AEK-971 submachine gun, designed by Stanislav Ivanovich Koksharov, was developed in Kovrov to participate in a competition announced by the USSR Ministry of Defense. The competition involved the creation of a new combined arms machine and remained in stories codenamed "Abakan." The main requirement of the military for the new machine gun was to increase the accuracy of fire in comparison with the AK-74 machine gun in service. The accuracy and accuracy of firing from an assault rifle created within the framework of the Abakan ROC was required to be increased by 1,5–2 times compared with the Kalashnikov assault rifle, especially when firing from so-called unstable positions.
Automatic machine AEK-971
In the second half of the 1980s, military preference was given to the machine gun of the design of Gennady Nikolayevich Nikonov - AN-94. Despite this, work on the new machine gun in Kovrov was continued. At the same time, the designers simplified the AEK-971, since many innovations in the Ministry of Defense were perceived as unnecessary for such automatic weapons. The machine was modified several times, minor changes were made to the design. AEK-971 was produced in small batches until 2006, the main customer of the machine was various Russian power services.
They fully returned to the machine only in 2012, when work began on the creation of a complex of small arms for the new Russian set of combat equipment “Ratnik”. As in 1978, the A-545 was created to participate in the competition for a new combined-arms machine. The first models were handed over to the military for military trials in 2014. According to experts, the new A-545 assault rifle differed from the base model primarily in the other receiver design (a removable cover is present on the AEK-971 assault rifle). Another design of the receiver, which is fixed, allows you to install a Picatinny rail on the A-545 to accommodate a variety of sights (optical and collimator sights), and also allows you to position the fire mode switch on the left or right side of the machine.
As a result, in January 2018, the Ministry of Defense decided to adopt both the A-545 assault rifle and the AK-12 assault rifle, together with their modifications in 7,62 mm caliber. The Kovrov machine gun A-545 received the GRAU 6P67 index, and its 7,62 mm version - 6P68. According to the source of RIA Novosti, in Kovrov, the 6P67 assault rifle is already being manufactured under a contract signed with the Russian Ministry of Defense. But how many machine guns the Russian military ordered is currently unknown. It is only known that the Ministry of Defense previously announced its plans to supply new small arms to the Airborne Forces by the end of 2020. Among the new products mentioned were 5,45 mm 6P67 submachine guns.