In the 1975, the Soviet Army adopted a special underwater submachine gun (APS - 5) and an underwater pistol (SPP). Until now, these samples are included in the arsenal of divisions of combat swimmers of the Russian Armed Forces.
OTHER THAN THE SOVIET UNION, submarine guns were not made anywhere in the world. Foreign developers mostly make underwater guns. True, the power of these products are inferior to domestic SPP. A bullet fired from it retains a lethal force up to 17 meters. While in foreign samples, this important characteristic barely exceeds 10 meters. What to speak about APS-5, because of it you can hit the target, located on 25 meters. But here another question arises whether it will be possible to do this in a real combat situation. And the Soviet, and the world experience in the use of underwater shooting weapons confirms: to get into the target, even from 15 meters in good visibility conditions, you just have to be an excellent shooter under the water, a kind of sniper. Therefore, this weapon can be used most effectively no further than 10 — 12 meters. Moreover, under combat conditions, visibility under water is usually minimal, especially in Russian waters.
I learned about underwater weapons at the end of the 70s, when I was a student at one of the Penza universities. The education received in it was equated to academic. I studied in the specialty of small arms. Prior to that, he served several years in the service of weapons of an airborne division. Constantly worked in the reconnaissance company. Thanks to this, I learned the life of the scouts, as they say, from the inside. Especially a lot had to tinker with various samples of small arms. Then, apparently, the love for him was born.
So, already in Penza, in one of the classes, the teacher said that underwater small arms had appeared in the Soviet army and suggested organizing a special group of students to study and develop rationalization proposals for improvement. Fortunately, at that time, the military command provided an opportunity for research. Ammunition and weapons were allocated for training purposes in sufficient quantities. After all, quite often the machine gun or gun had to be cut, something in them was changed. Naturally, such a sample became unsuitable for normal use.
Over time, working with underwater weapons became a favorite thing in life. After graduating from Penza, I was assigned as a teacher at the Tula Artillery School (now the Tula Artillery Engineering Institute). Here the opportunity to come to grips with the improvement of underwater weapons. First of all, it concerned the automatic machine MTA-5. During operation, it showed serious shortcomings.
However, you should immediately make a reservation. When creating (refining) weapons for a combat swimmer, we proceeded primarily from the fact that these weapons are used in the specific conditions of the unsupported space, which is the aquatic environment. Therefore, the weapon must have a sufficiently high degree of stability, provide quick preparation for shooting (including transfer from a traveling position to a combat position), allow the swimmer who is in any position for shooting to adjust his position (body) in space.
ADF for firing on land 5,45-mm automatic cartridges
A feature of the modern maritime special forces is multifunctional. After all, it is based on universal-purpose swimmers capable of solving any tasks: conduct sabotage underwater in enemy ports, protect their waters from enemy saboteurs, and at the same time act on land as ordinary reconnaissance scouts. The Russian and sea experience of using such units confirms that in 80 - 90 percent of cases they perform "land" tasks. Therefore, it became necessary to have a special multi-purpose (underwater-surface) weapon, such as a universal two-medium automatic weapon, in service with these units. Moreover, in terms of shooting efficiency (accuracy, accuracy, armor penetration) on land, the 5,45 mm AK-74, AK-105 submachine guns would be as good as the 5,66 mm APS submachine gun under water.
At the same time, one of the important drawbacks of the APS-5 machine is its low survivability. In accordance with the specifications of 2000 shots under water and only 180 shots on land. The fact is that the form of the 5,66 mm cartridge, powder charge, the ballistics of the bullet flight, the operation of the automation are designed for normal functioning only under water. When the shooter comes to the land, water flows out of the receiver of the machine gun. When firing in "unusual" conditions, the slide frame moves much faster, and the receiver simply does not withstand increased loads. Approximately it is just enough for 180 shots.
When we started to work, it turned out that this problem can be solved only in conjunction with the others. After all, the machine pursues other troubles. For example, two or even three rounds are often fed into the chamber. As a result, the delay shooting, and very time consuming to eliminate. Other disadvantages are the inability to attach any aiming devices and muzzle devices. It is extremely difficult to transport the weapon while the swimmer is moving in the water (in the hands, behind the back), hence the inability to quickly get ready for shooting.
A number of teams today are working on the creation of a single (universal) two-medium automatic machine, not only in Russia but also abroad. How difficult this problem is can be judged by the statement of American experts: “Creating a universal underwater surface assault rifle is tantamount to creating a“ transparent ” tank».
The design of the two-medium automaton is determined primarily by the cartridge. If you manage to create a universal two-medium cartridge, there will be no problems with the weapon. So far there is no such ammunition, and the prototypes that have appeared do not meet the requirements that are imposed on them.
Considering the current situation, at the Tula Artillery Engineering Institute they chose a different path. To create a new model of weapons, which is called from scratch, even speech was not conducted. We would not have enough opportunities or money for this. Therefore, they took as a basis what was already created and was in large numbers in military units and arsenals. The first to improve the existing cartridge for firing under water. Reduced its caliber to 5,45 mm. In the machine, the barrel was replaced with a standard rifled AK-74 rifle. New "underwater" bullets made subcaliber. Their diameter is smaller than the caliber of the barrel. Special elements are fixed on the bullet that prevent it from moving along the barrel bore. After leaving it, they are separated, and then the bullet flies on its own. As far as I know, similar ammunition is being developed abroad and in some places has already been put into service.
Once a standard rifled barrel has appeared in our machine gun, it means that on land one can shoot AK-74 cartridges from it. But for this, the next step had to be taken - to create a universal node that would provide power for the machine from the stores for both special underwater cartridges and land ones.
As a result, a two-medium automaton (ADS) was created. On land, 5,45 mm automatic rifle cartridges with conventional armor-piercing and tracer bullets, a reduced-charge bullet (using silent firing devices), and blank cartridges are used in it. These ammunition are not scarce, therefore, the gun ammunition can always be replenished. Underwater 5,45 mm special underwater ammunition. The arrow needs only to change stores with one or another type of ammunition - depending on the place of the task.
ADF for underwater shooting 5,45-mm special underwater ammunition
The machine has a combination of seats, allowing you to attach to it all types of optical, collimator, night, thermal imaging and sonar sights of domestic and foreign production. In addition, there are seats for the grenade launcher, bayonet, laser pointer and tactical flashlight.
When operating on land, it is possible to use standard devices for silent firing, as well as low-noise firing equipment. Under the water works as a diffuser gas bubble. The fact is that the problem of removal of powder gases was quite difficult. Indeed, after each shot of the APS-5 a powerful gas bubble of a dark color forms in front of the swimmer. He hangs in sight for a long time and does not allow the shooter to quickly find out whether he has hit or not. And imagine if you missed. On the adoption of the next decision, he, in fact, does not have time. Add to this that this bubble will float to the surface. And if a swimmer acts in shallow water, then locating it from land or surface vessel is quite simple. The solution to this problem took almost five years. As a result, we have created a special muzzle nozzle. After some refinement, it began to be used on land as a low-noise firing device.
In ADF, the bullpup layout is used. In the arms world, this term refers to such an arrangement of small arms, in which the breech and the shop are located behind the fire control handle and the trigger. The main advantage of the bullpup is, first of all, a reduction in the length of the weapon, and it is quite noticeable for a given length of the barrel. If we consider that combat swimmers in certain situations have to overcome various obstacles with limited dimensions in the form of hatches and the like, then such a reduction in the size of the weapon is really quite a significant factor. In addition, smaller dimensions are an advantage when conducting combat, especially under water. The special belt with which ADS is supplied, and the bullpup layout allows not only to hold it with one hand, but also to conduct aimed shooting. In this case, the swimmer can adjust the position of his body in the aquatic space with his free hand. This is very important, because the machine has a return - you cannot get anywhere from it. And there is no foothold.
Combined seats for all types of sights, grenade launcher, bayonet, laser pointer and tactical flashlight
When underwater shooting from the APS-5 to the maximum range (about 25 meters) there is a very large dispersion of bullets. For example, it is practically impossible to hit a target that corresponds to the size of a person. This fact we took into account when developing ADF. Now from this machine you can successfully hit targets at such a long range. This has been repeatedly confirmed during field tests.
However, the equipment of underwater commandos does not stand still. Appeared body armor for combat swimmers. Not so long ago, at the proving ground of the Izhevsk Arms Plant, tests of ammunition for underwater submachine guns were carried out. In accordance with the requirements fired from five meters. For a regular APS-5 bullet, the protective metal element of the body armor was too tough. After a slight rework, the PBX XSUM XDUM ammunition rounds 15 rounds punched through the metal protective plates. After that, we even scolded a little, they say, we just adopted a bulletproof vest, and you do this to him. These examples suggest that there are many loopholes in this ammunition and opportunities to expand the range of their use. Moreover, the improvements are quite cheap. Now we are developing the possibility of firing ADS with 13 mm caliber cartridges adopted for use in the armies of NATO countries. Without going into technical details, I will say only one thing: for this, it is enough to change the barrel in the machine gun.
ADS weight (without grenade launcher and magazine) - 3,4 kg, length (without bayonet) - 690 mm. It has been established that during the ascent to the surface of the water and the subsequent firing at ground targets, when there is water in the bore, the machine functions reliably, that is, it is not afraid of locks and sprinkling.
According to the results of preliminary tests, the ADF assault rifle surpasses domestic AKM, AK-74 U, AK-74, AK-105 and even the American M16 rifle in terms of accuracy and accuracy of shooting on land, and the standard underwater APS submachine gun under water.
FROM THE EDITOR. The creation of ADF, in our opinion, was a good breakthrough into the future. This machine, according to experts, is not only effective and reliable in operation, but also cheap to manufacture. The question is different: how long will new developments lie on our cloth, and will only those who test it use new samples?