RPK-16: why the successor to RPK-74 was not adopted for service

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RPK-16: why the successor to RPK-74 was not adopted for service

In 2013, designers from the Kalashnikov concern, on their own initiative, within the framework of the Tipchak design and development work, decided to begin developing a replacement for the outdated RPK-74. The main goal of the project was to create a light, reliable and at the same time powerful light machine gun for special forces.

The prototype of the product was first presented at the Army 2016 exhibition.



Technical specifications weapons really impressive. The machine gun had a rate of fire of 700 rounds per minute, and its effective range was 800 meters. At the same time, the drum contained 95 rounds of 5,45 mm caliber.

It is worth noting that in addition to the drum, the RPK-16 could also use regular magazines with a capacity of 30 and 45 rounds. The machine gun could be equipped with a bipod, as well as various sighting devices such as optics, a collimator, and a night vision sight.

The weight of the new machine gun without a magazine, bipod and sighting devices was only 4,5 kg.

At the same time, one of the main features of the RPK-16 was the ability to change the barrel from a long 580 mm to a short 415 mm and vice versa. True, this manipulation, due to its complexity, could hardly be carried out in combat conditions.

In general, the product from the designers of the Kalashnikov concern turned out to be very worthy. However, the RPK-16 remained in prototype status.

The thing is that, in addition to a number of advantages, the newest light machine gun also had its disadvantages, which were identified during trial operation in 2019.

Firstly, a miracle did not happen with a large-capacity drum. The plastic tambourine did not provide the reliability necessary for military weapons and at the same time had excess weight.

In fact, for every kilogram of ammunition the machine gunner had to carry a kilogram of magazines (ratio 1:1).

Secondly, and most importantly, the new Kalashnikov light machine gun showed insufficient safety during operation.

Due to the above-mentioned shortcomings, the RPK-16 was not adopted for service, and the Kalashnikov concern began developing a new machine gun.

8 comments
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  1. 0
    28 June 2024 16: 08
    The weight of the new machine gun without a magazine, bipod and sighting devices was only 4,5 kg.


    RPK-74 with a longer barrel weighs 5 kg. Therefore, such “pride” for 0.5 kg is not entirely clear. Despite the fact that modern plastics were used instead of wood.

    Essentially there was an attempt to cut the dough, which failed. They couldn't even copy the snail tambourine.
  2. 0
    28 June 2024 16: 26
    The old RPK is generally not bad, it would have had different picotine rails for the sights and a cannon fire in general.
    1. +1
      29 June 2024 10: 01
      Well, a version with a shortened barrel would be nice for him, for battles in urban areas.
  3. +3
    28 June 2024 16: 30
    “No miracle happened to the large-capacity drum”—did anyone seriously expect such a miracle? Drum feeding is by definition more complex than carob feeding, and the mass-to-volume ratio is not as favorable. The only advantage is more ammo. For the old RPK, the drum magazine also weighed almost a kilogram, with cartridges - one and a half, i.e. in comparison with a modern plastic “tambourine,” the proportion was even worse.

    We need to make a box store. But it requires a 5.45 tape, and it doesn’t seem to have been finalized yet.

    “It showed insufficient safety during operation” - what exactly?
    1. +3
      29 June 2024 09: 51
      Quote: Vitaly Koisin
      “We need to make a box magazine. But it needs a 5.45 tape, and it doesn’t seem to have been perfected yet.”

      I just can’t understand, at one time the RPD used a metal tape for 7.62/39 cartridges, and how did the USSR manage to finish the tape in those years without problems, but now with all modern technologies they can’t, even though the 5.45mm cartridge case is not so very different from the 7.62x39 cartridge??? Or is it again a matter of effective managers???
      1. +1
        30 June 2024 03: 19
        I have never heard of any problems with the 5.45 tape. But regarding Tokar and RPL-20 and in general about belt machine guns under 5.45, I heard about the weak interest of the main customers.

        And in the case of Turner, a logical question was asked - Why do we need a 5.45 belt machine gun? weighing like a PKP under 7.62?
    2. 0
      29 June 2024 20: 06
      We need to make a box store. But it requires a 5.45 tape, and it doesn’t seem to have been finalized yet.
      50 years was not enough to bring the film to fruition? Are you sure that “these” can do anything at all?
  4. +1
    29 June 2024 13: 11
    Curious. The Antipodes are pouring crazy amounts of money into a new cartridge, making a new rifle, sacrificing the number of cartridges in the magazine, carrying ammunition, ideologically branding automatic fire, installing expensive and difficult sights, silencers, and other things, in general, doing everything to increase the striking distance small arms fire.

    Here, for the sake of lightening the weight of a half kilo, they cut the barrel of a machine gun. A clash between 2 opponents, on whom their weapons will impose such different tactics, promises to be quite one-sided, IMHO.