Last year, the Kalashnikov concern for the first time showed the MP-155 Ultima smart gun, equipped with original fittings and a number of new electronic components. Subsequently, the project was developed, and an updated version of the gun was demonstrated at the Army-2021 forum. It differs in a different composition of equipment on board, functions and capabilities. In this case, we are talking about the serial appearance of the product, and the manufacturer opens the reception of pre-orders.
A year of progress
The first demonstration of the MP-155 Ultima rifle took place about a year ago at the Army-2020 forum. This product, which has a characteristic appearance and actually represents a new class, naturally attracted attention and became one of the most popular exhibition samples from Kalashnikov. In February 2021, the new gun was demonstrated for the first time at a foreign exhibition - with the same positive results.
Over the past year, the development and improvement of the existing project has been carried out. As a result of these measures, several significant changes were made to the design of the gun, affecting the technical and operational characteristics. The updated look of the gun was adopted for mass production.
As far as is known, the production of MP-155 Ultima products has not yet begun. However, the manufacturer is already collecting pre-orders. For an unusual gun, the buyer will have to pay 130 thousand rubles. Thus, in connection with the use of a new "body kit" and electronics, "Ultima" became the most expensive Kalashnikov product in the civilian smooth-bore line.
Ways to improve
The main idea of the MP-155 Ultima project is to rebuild the serial MP-155 smoothbore shotgun using a number of modern components. The fittings have undergone a complete replacement: original elements made of aluminum alloy and plastic are used. In addition, the box has its own compact computer with a number of useful functions, and a video camera is placed above the barrel.
During the last year's revisions, the key elements of the gun have not changed. The Ultima product is still based on the barrel, magazine, bolt and trigger from the well-known MP-155 shotgun. It is a self-loading 12-gauge gas-operated system using a tubular magazine under the barrel.
Especially for the "smart" shotgun, original fittings with a futuristic look have been developed. As can be judged, over the past year, the lodge has not undergone any fundamental changes. It still has unusual contours, has slats for installing additional equipment and contains electronics. Previously, two versions of the gun were demonstrated, with and without a butt. Now we are talking about a single model with the ability to install or remove the stock.
The main changes have affected the electronics of the gun. Last year's prototype was equipped with a compact Raspberry Pi 4 single-board computer. A modification of the computer with 4 GB of RAM and 32 GB read-only memory was used. A computer with a power source was placed inside the box. The screen with the simplest controls was located on a characteristic inflow in front of the butt neck.
The serial appearance of the MP-155 Ultima provides for a replacement computer. The type and characteristics of the hardware have not yet been specified. The software is built on the Android system, which should bring certain benefits.
The basic set of "Ultima" still includes an HD-video camera for installation above the barrel. As before, the video signal is fed to the computer, displayed on the screen of the gun, and stored in memory. All basic functions are also retained. There is a clock with a timer and stopwatch mode, a counter of shots and ammunition, a compass, etc. A training mode is provided. With the help of Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, the gun can transmit data, incl. video signal to third-party devices.
Despite all the changes, the production version of the MP-155 Ultima has dimensions and weight at the level of prototypes. The length of the gun, with and without buttstock, is 1020 or 810 mm. Barrel length - 510 mm; under it is a tubular magazine for 6 rounds. Weight - 4,2 kg.
Place in the market
The development of the MP-155 Ultima smart shotgun is complete. After implementing several important changes and corresponding tests, the product is ready for serial production. Concern Kalashnikov is already collecting pre-orders, although it does not specify the timing of the start of deliveries. It can be assumed that the products will start shipping in the next few weeks or months.
Certain hopes are pinned on the Ultima project. Last year, the developers revealed their plans to promote such a gun on the market. Then it was argued that young people and city dwellers who show an interest in arms and new technologies, but not interested in purchasing products of the "classic" look.
Software with a number of important features, such as a training mode, should make it easier to learn and operate a weapon. In addition, part of the audience should be interested in the possibility of shooting video without using third-party cameras.
It can be assumed that the gun will attract the attention of sports shooters in their respective classes. The presence of a camera and a computer with recording functions will allow you to more effectively analyze the results of training and determine further training plans.
In the future, with confirmation of the commercial potential, new chambers with increased characteristics can be created for the gun. It is also possible to develop additional programs that solve certain problems. In particular, the audience might be interested in the “intelligent” aiming function, incl. with a video signal output to a third-party gadget.
However, the real commercial prospects of an unusual gun are questionable. In the last year, the Ultima product was actively discussed at various sites, but it was mostly criticized, and there were always quite a few people who wanted to get to know it better or even buy it.
With the last the news such discussions were resumed, and the announced price of the gun became another reason for sharp criticism of the project and its developers. So, the cost is called excessive and does not correspond to the estimated costs of the production of a rifle, a new "body kit" and a computer.
Expectations and Reality
The real commercial potential of this unusual gun will only be appreciated in the future, when the Kalashnikov concern begins to send the ordered guns to buyers and trade enterprises. The volumes of pre-orders collected will show the manufacturer whether it is worth continuing the series, and at the same time the development of a whole area of "smart" weapons for the civilian market.
However, it is already clear that the MP-155 Ultima is at least one of the most interesting modern domestic developments in the field of civilian small arms. For the first time in Russian practice, a gun for hunters and sportsmen is equipped with a computer capable of solving various tasks and having great potential for further development.
Due to the specific set of functions and high cost "Ultima" is unlikely to be able to become a mass product and compete with "traditional" guns in terms of production and sales. However, the value of this project lies not only in its commercial potential. It made it possible to work out a complex of electronics for small arms and a number of other technologies. Such developments in the future may be in demand not only in the civilian, but also in the military sphere. And these are completely different development prospects.