What will replace the AK-74?

Not so long ago, all our compatriots who have at least something to do with the army or production weaponswere literally stunned thundered news - AK-74, the former main weapon of the Russian soldier for the past almost four decades, will no longer be purchased from the Izhmash plant.

Such a statement was made and supported by several arguments. First, at least six million AK-74 units are stored in military warehouses. According to some experts, this weapon will be enough to supply the regular army for the 10-15 years. Secondly, this machine gun, which took part in almost every major conflict that has taken place on any continent over the past four decades, is morally obsolete. Its low accuracy of combat, as well as poor performance when firing bursts, are no longer satisfied with the Ministry of Defense.

Well, maybe it is. Here are just the same arguments can be considered from a different angle. Is six million units enough on 10 years? Quite possible. But this statement turns out to be true only if it is calculated from the point of view of a peaceful, civilian person. Will this weapon be enough in a global military conflict? Most likely no. Or do the generals expect to print long-term storage warehouses that store hundreds of thousands of Mosin rifles, SKS and Degtyarev machine guns? Quite possible. That's only if the AK-74 can be considered obsolete, is it possible to say the same about the weapon that was created in 30-80 years before it?

Of course, many experts say that now is long past time when everything was decided by a simple number of soldiers, as it was during the Second World War - now there are high-precision missiles, multiple rocket launchers, airplanes with the most powerful equipment and so on. However, even then, in 30-X-beginning 40-s, some experts argued about the same thing, looking back at the First World War and a number of other conflicts (such as the Spanish Civil War), argued that tanks, aircraft and artillery would completely change the course of battle But then they were wrong, and the queen of the fields - the infantry - bore the brunt of the Great Patriotic War. Will this not happen again today?

Yes, perhaps, AK-74 is outdated and its time to change. That's just what to change? Of course, AH-94, also known as Abakan, demonstrates better results. That's just his accuracy slightly compensates for the complexity of the design. But for an ordinary soldier, a machine gun would be much better suited to shoot, even if it was dropped into mud, sand, water, marsh, after which you could pick it up and continue shooting. Of course, American weapons such as M-4 demonstrate far better results during shooting ranges when compared to AK-74. Only the best results are demonstrated ONLY during shooting ranges. When there is an opportunity to calmly disassemble the automatic carbine slit on a special table, clean and assemble again. Is it possible to do the same during a fight or just in the middle of a swamp? Hardly. But AK-74 allows you to do this. Yes, and this has to be done much less often - any sand is simply ground into dust, getting into the mechanism, and the branches - into chips, just thrown out by the slide frame when fired. But it is precisely the reliability and ability of the machine gun to fire in ANY conditions that is one of the main requirements that modern weapons must meet. And AK-74, in contrast to the overwhelming majority of Western weapons, fully meets this requirement.

However, it is worth returning to the question of finding a replacement for the famous automaton. "Izhmash" agreed with the requirements of the Ministry of Defense, asking to issue a certain amount of research. Alas, this request was not satisfied. Moreover, Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov "reassured" the specialists, stating that if Izhmash could not create weapons that satisfy the demands, then the automatic weapons, like sniper rifles, would be purchased in the west. This can only mean one thing - the Russian weapon, which was rightly considered the best in the world for many centuries, will be forgotten. It is quite clear that if the Russian army does not arm itself with Russian weapons, it will not be produced. It is quite understandable what effect this will have. A unique school of Russian gunsmiths will be destroyed by their own government.


However, it is not yet known what exactly Western weapons will be purchased. Some experts look with hope at samples of domestic weapons. It is possible that the same AK-74М, equipped with a bar for optical sights, will be able to meet the requirements of the Ministry of Defense, at least partially. As practice shows, the installation of simple collimators allows you to increase the firing distance to 2 times. In this case, targets will be confidently hit at a distance of 500-600 meters. If we consider shooting without optics, then this distance is reduced to 300-400 meters.

The problem can be solved even easier - the old AK-74 can be equipped with an aiming bar, which will allow to install optics on them. This will at least give time to domestic designers to create new models of small arms. It is quite clear that if a massive purchase of weapons for an army abroad begins, a bold cross can be put on Russian arms.

In July, 2011, the first deputy general director of Izhmash, Maxim Kuzyuk, stated that the concern was developing a new machine gun, which differs from the classical Kalashnikov machine gun scheme. What is meant by this, Kuzyuk did not specify, but noted that the new machine "will be able to compete with the most modern analogues of small arms in the world." According to the program, new weapons will be created from scratch. "We have an army, ground forces, special units, and all have their own requirements. And to create such a platform that will fulfill various tasks and objectives, this is our priority task," said Kuziuk.

Therefore, all that remains is to hope that the ministers will still come to their senses and be able to evaluate all the consequences of their decisions.
Michael Ross
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