From the very beginning, the specifics of counterterrorism operations put forward a number of specific requirements for small arms arms. For example, a machine gun for special forces should have small dimensions, light weight, and the corresponding firing characteristics — pace, accuracy, and accuracy. The firing range is not so important, because most fights with terrorists take place at short distances. At the end of the 70-x the armament of the army and special forces of Austria entered the complex Steyr AUG. Although it was developed as the main weapon for the whole army, the “specialists” also appreciated these weapons. In addition to the convenient dimensions, which are due to the bullpup layout, this automatic rifle also had a modular design. Depending on the wishes and / or tactical situation of the shooter could use the AUG in the configuration of a light machine gun, machine gun or submachine gun. All necessary changes to the design could be made in a few minutes, including immediately before the battle or operation.
It was Steyr AUG that drew the attention of our special forces during friendly visits to the Austrian Cobra squadron. Shortly after the trip, the Internal Troops Command organized a meeting of representatives of special forces and designers of the Tula TsKIB SOO, at which the fighters presented all their thoughts on the appearance of the weapons that the special forces needed. Among other things, the special forces made complaints about the existing grenade launchers: the Kalashnikovs with them had a very inconvenient balancing, which affected both the usability and the accuracy of shooting.
Designers V.Telesh and Y. Lebedev took into account all the wishes of the fighters, and already in 1994, the first prototypes were ready. The problem of the balance of the machine with a grenade launcher began to be solved even at the development stage; in other words, the new complex was immediately designed for use with a grenade launcher, which, in turn, had to be bundled with the machine itself. Regarding the features of combining the machine gun and grenade launcher will be described in more detail later. The issue of small dimensions was decided by the use of the bullpup layout, and the multipurpose weapon complex became due to a wide choice of “accessories”.
Actually the machine - the basis of the whole complex, called OTs-14 "Thunderstorm" - was decided to do on the basis of small-sized "Kalashnikov" AKS74U. Basically, the design of "Ksyusha" remained unchanged, although the shutter and some details of the firing mechanism had to be finalized. The fact is that the standard cartridge of the Kalashnikovs of the 74 of the 5,45x39 mm range in urban combat is inclined to give a relatively large number of ricochets. Needless to say, when storming a building or freeing hostages, such a feature of the cartridge will do more harm than good. Therefore, the “Thunderstorm” for the special forces of the Ministry of Internal Affairs began to be made, using the cartridges SP-5 and SP-6 (9x39 mm) developed by TsNIITochmash. With a heavier bullet, these cartridges have a lower initial speed and, as a result, are less prone to ricochets and have a higher stopping effect. Subsequently, when the OTs-14 complex became interested in the Ministry of Defense, a version of the machine for the cartridge 7,62x39 mm was created at his request. The creation of both versions of The Thunderstorm required reworking the bolt group to make the cartridge larger. In addition, it was necessary to modify the connection of the trigger with trigger. If on AKS74U it is connected with the latter directly, then on the "Thunderstorm" - through traction. At most other points, the constructions are identical, the declared degree of unification is more than 70%. At the same time, high interchangeability did not greatly spoil the functionality of the OTs-14 submachine gun. For example, the butt plate (one could say the butt, however, the bullpup layout often simply excludes the butt from the weapon design) is attached directly to the receiver for regular butt attachments. The fuse-translator of the fire and the window of ejection of the sleeves are located on the right side of the machine: because of this arrangement, it is impossible to shoot the Thunderstorm from the left shoulder - the sleeves will fly into the face of the shooter.
The bullpup scheme forced the designers to sacrifice the length of the aiming line and place the dioptric sight on a carrying handle that was specially added to the machine gun. The latter, I must say, slightly improved the performance of the “user-friend” OTs-14, since the machine simply does not have parts for which it can be transferred, such as, for example, AK-74 for the shank. The parts for mounting the optical sight were also placed on the same handle, but they refused from the standard strip on the side of the machine gun.
The result of the work of TsKIB SOO designers is supplied in a plastic or aluminum case. As M. Morgunov, the host of the TV program “Military Affairs,” noted, a musical instrument should probably be kept in such a small case. However, in fact there is a foam insert with grooves for the components of the complex. They contain:
- actually automatic;
- X-gun grenade launcher caliber 40 mm. Interestingly, in the case it is stored docked to the machine;
- two box magazines for 20 or 30 cartridges, depending on the version of the machine (20 for 9-mm cartridge and 30 for 7,62-mm);
- the module of the fire control handle with a trigger;
- barrel extension with a “tactical” handle located on it;
- optical sight with an additional eyecup;
- silent shooting device;
- short muzzle;
- cleaning supplies.
Grenade launcher This part of the complex is made on the basis of the good old GP-30 and can use all modifications of the VOG-25 grenades. Differences from the base model are as follows: the Thunderstorm grenade launcher has a full pistol grip instead of the old “stump”. This is due to the fact that one handle is used to fire both from a grenade launcher and from a machine gun. The grenade launcher is attached to the machine with a pin in the rear, above the handle and a muzzle in the front. Above the last is a frame sight for a grenade launcher. The trigger hook with a clip looks similar to the GP-30 fixtures, but the differences are hidden inside. On the left side above the trigger is located the switch flag "machine-grenade launcher". In the “av” position, the thrust leading to the automatic trigger of the machine is connected, and the transfer of the triggering force to the grenade launcher is turned off. When the flag is moved to the “gr” position, the switching, respectively, occurs in the opposite direction. An interesting solution, however, in combat conditions, those fractions of a second that are required to switch a flag can cost the arrow very, very expensive.
The handle module is attached to the rear mount of the grenade launcher and is used in configurations that do not include the installation of a grenade launcher. Switches on the grenade launcher and back handle, of course, does not have.
Due to the reduction in the dimensions of the machine gun and the absence in the design of the forearm, in order to hold the weapon with two hands, it was necessary to include in the kit a special extension tube to which the vertical grip for the left hand is attached.
The device for silent shooting in the case of using SP-5 or SP-6 cartridges with a subsonic initial speed reduces the noise from a shot to the level of a soft click.
All elements of the complex, having in their composition extension barrels or muzzles, are attached to the barrel on a broken thread: the “accessory” is put on the barrel until it stops, and then turns around the axis and fixed.
According to the recommendations of TsKIB SOO, the modules of the complex “Thunderstorm” are assembled into four main configurations:
- system automatic grenade launcher;
- small-sized machine: without attaching any parts to the shooting module;
- assault rifle. In this configuration, two handles are attached to the base machine: a pistol with a trigger and a front “tactical”;
- silent sniper rifle. In this embodiment, the use of PBS and optical sight. The range of the rifle is only 200 meters. For full-scale military operations, this may not be enough, but for the so-called. police sniping is more than enough.
In general, as a specially designed weapon for antiterror, Thunderstorm arranged customers. Nevertheless, in the past 15 years that have passed since the production of the first prototypes, the OTs-14 complex has never reached mass production. Perhaps this is due to a number of flaws inherent in the layout of the bullpup, or the peculiarities of reworking the weapons of the classical scheme into bullpup. On the other hand, the reason for the relatively small number of “Thunderstorms” released may be the very essence of the weapon. OZ-14 is intended for use in anti-terrorist units, and their number and number is not that large. Accordingly, the number of weapons needed by the special forces, compared with the regular army, is not that great.