According to available data, for the first time, the general public was able to see a sample of promising weapons in photo reports devoted to the visit of the head of Rostec, Sergei Chemezov, to Izhevsk arms-making enterprise. In late April, the Kalashnikov concern put into operation a number of modernized production facilities. During the celebrations related to these events, a number of important announcements were made. In addition, high-ranking officials who visited the weapons factory were shown some new developments.
Among the new models shown to the guests of the concern was a kind of sniper rifle of a new type. Any information about this sample was not published, because of what interested could only build their assumptions. Later the situation changed. In the domestic media there was information about the name of the new sample, the progress of the project and its main features that distinguish the rifle from other existing systems.
Details on the perspective rifle were published in the June issue of Popular Mechanics magazine in the article “What will replace the SVD”. The journalist of the publication spoke with one of the authors of the promising project, who spoke about the new rifle and revealed some interesting features of the project. Soon, information about the new rifle went to other media, attracting the attention of readers. The emergence of new domestic models of high-precision small arms is not a frequent phenomenon, which led to an increased interest on the part of specialists and the public.
A new sample of the self-loading carbine received the designation CK-16. The project is developed by the leading designer of the Kalashnikov concern, Demian Belyakov and Yevgeny Yerofeyev. D. Belyakov is known to shooters for his previous developments in the field of pneumatic sports systems. His colleague relatively recently began working in the design office, but he had already managed to get the necessary experience and take part in the creation of new designs. In particular, he participated in the development of a modification of the rifled Saiga carbine with balanced automation.
In the new project SC-16, a number of original ideas are used, which have not yet become widely spread in Russian small arms systems. Due to the non-standard approach to one or another aspect of the weapon, it is planned to increase the usability and basic characteristics of the fire. All this led to the formation of an unusual appearance for the Russian armament, as well as a nonstandard architecture of internal units. The use of a large number of innovations may be associated with certain difficulties, however, the successful solution of all the existing problems will ensure a certain superiority of the new carbine over existing analogues.
There is reason to believe that recently the project SC-16 has advanced, and also received some innovations. This may explain the fact that the sample of the carbine shown in April of this year has noticeable differences from the product shown in the article "Popular Mechanics". In particular, there are significant differences in the finish and composition of additional equipment. Also samples differ in a design of a trunk and the gas engine. Probably, such changes were associated with the successful solution of existing problems. In addition, there may be other differences that are not so noticeable during an external examination.
In its current form, the SK-16 carbine is a system that looks similar to some other domestic and foreign developments. The weapon received a relatively long rifled barrel caliber 7,62 mm, covered with a polygonal metal forearm with perforation. There is a rectangular receiver, containing the main units, as well as a set of other components. In the assembled and combat-ready form, the product is very similar to other domestic developments, but a more detailed study demonstrates significant differences.
The cover of the magazine "Popular Mechanics" with the prototype of SC-16
The authors of the new project decided to abandon the traditional for domestic small arms design of the receiver. This unit is now divided into two parts, like the details of some foreign developments. The upper “receiver” accommodates fasteners and guides for the barrel group and the bolt, while the lower one contains the details of the firing mechanism, the receiving shaft of the magazine, etc. This design of the box made it possible to solve some problems, in particular, to use the bar to install sighting equipment, protected from possible vibrations.
The SK-16 self-loading karabiner should use automatics based on removal of powder gases. Such systems have the widest distribution, but the new project proposes to use not the most massive version of such automation. The early prototype of the carbine was equipped with a gas outlet unit placed on the upper middle part of the barrel. Updated weapons should use a different gas removal system.
Automation with exhaust gases through the hole in the barrel has a characteristic drawback in the form of parasitic oscillations of the barrel and the whole structure. The mechanisms of the rifle, interacting with gases, begin to move before the bullet leaves the barrel, which can adversely affect the accuracy and accuracy of fire. Carbine SK-16 should use a different version of the exhaust gases, eliminating such problems.
The new project proposes to use the removal of gases for the operation of automation with the help of a special modular device. Such a unit is located on the muzzle of the barrel, which ensures the correct operation of the mechanisms without problems with excessive vibrations of the barrel during the passage of a bullet through it. With all its advantages, this version of the vapor compartment has some problems, first of all, excessive complexity in comparison with traditional structures. In addition, the experience of previous weapons projects with such systems developed abroad, indicates their low reliability. Nevertheless, the SK-16 carbine should be equipped with the original and unusual gas supply system to the piston.
Another new idea, which has not yet received wide distribution, but implemented in the framework of the SK-16 project, concerns the layout of the main units and the principles of their operation, designed to reduce the recoil momentum. The barrel and bolt group are movable. When fired, under the effect of recoil, they must roll back. Due to this, the weapon gets a prolonged recoil impulse, which should positively affect its stability during firing and, as a result, on the accuracy of the fire.
It is also reported that instead of the traditional for small arms springs in the new project, a hydraulic shock absorber of the original design is used, the task of which is soft braking of the so-called. firing unit in the back of its trajectory. It is expected that this innovation also has a beneficial effect on the characteristics of the weapon.
In the design of the bolt section of the carbine used several new ideas. Thus, the reloading handle does not have a permanent rigid connection with the slide frame. During firing, it remains stationary, but if necessary it can interact with the internal aggregates of the weapon and carry out the required actions. The shutter of the new design received the original system of extraction of spent cartridges with the possibility of choosing the direction of their release. With the help of the appropriate governing body, the shooter can switch the kick to the left or right window of the receiver.
When developing a new self-loading carbine, it was decided to abandon the use of domestic cartridges. The new weapon type SK-16 in the basic version uses rifle cartridge 7,62х51 mm NATO. This ammunition is distinguished by the absence of a protruding flange on the sleeve, which, to a certain extent, simplifies its use in automatic weapons. According to its main characteristics, the cartridge corresponds to the existing requirements.
It is alleged that the cartridge 7,62х51 mm may not be the only ammunition that can be used promising carbine. The design of this weapon is based on the principle of modularity, which in the future will allow to change the appearance and indicators of weapons in a fairly broad framework. Thus, the project provides for the possibility of replacing the barrel and other parts in the workshop, after which the carbine can use other types of ammunition.
Another characteristic feature of the modular design are Picatinny rail, designed for the installation of additional equipment. One of these slats is rigidly fastened to the upper part of the receiver and is intended for mounting the sight. Additional mounting devices are available on the forearm. Also, as shown by the prototypes of the new weapons, the use of buttstocks and other “body kit” of various models is possible.
Unfortunately, the main characteristics of the new weapons are not reported. In addition, the most interesting information about the project regarding the accuracy of the fire should not be disclosed. The main innovations of the project are associated with increased accuracy, and therefore these characteristics are of particular interest. However, specific indicators are still unknown, which may be a reason for disputes.
According to reports of the domestic press, the promising self-loading carbine SK-16, which is currently being developed, may in the future become a contender for the “title” of a new sniper rifle for the Russian army. In this case, this weapon may be the successor of the Dragunov sniper rifle in service. Nevertheless, as follows from the available data, the promising project is still at one of the initial stages and, as a result, it cannot yet count on a great future.
It should be noted that the project SC-16 uses a lot of original ideas, which for one reason or another have not yet received wide distribution in the field of small arms, but are of great interest to both designers and shooters. For example, the original automation system with a gas outlet on the muzzle device and a monitor assembly can significantly improve the accuracy of shooting, and the modularity will provide the maximum adaptation of the rifle to the requirements of the shooter.
However, all these advantages can be associated with serious disadvantages. As you know, the application of new ideas and solutions is always associated with various difficulties, which can lead to a negative impact on the fate of projects. Even the available data on the SK-16 carbine suggests that it has an overly complex structure that may not suit potential customers. A lot of innovations can lead to the manifestation of an appropriate number of “childhood diseases” and to other negative consequences.
It has already been mentioned that the monitor assembly of the firing unit and the muzzle vent could not be widely spread due to the complexity and insufficiently high reliability of operation. In this case, the promising project of the Kalashnikov concern faces at least a double risk. Other bold innovations are also able to hit on the indicators of new weapons and close the road to practical use.
The risks associated with the massive use of innovations can have a negative impact on the future of the promising model. Nevertheless, even in this case, the project SC-16 is of great interest, and also has a certain value for the development of small arms. In case of successful solution of all the tasks, the design team will be able to create a promising model that can interest the military. Failure to complete the work, in turn, will lead to obtaining the most important experience, as well as to working out a number of original and interesting ideas.
Work on new weapons continues. To date, several prototypes have been created, differing in various design features. Early products have already been demonstrated to industry leaders and used in testing. The most recent photos of the SK-16 carbine depict a different product with a modified design, different packaging and a different finish. A newer model differs in the number of "tactical" equipment and looks more like a product suitable for deliveries to the troops.
The exact prospects of the SK-16 self-loading carbine developed by the Kalashnikov concern have not yet been determined. The project is at rather early stages, due to which it needs further development, inspections, revisions, etc. It will take at least several years to complete all these works. Only after all the necessary work is completed will it be possible to talk about the real prospects of the carbine. In the meantime, it is one of the most interesting domestic developments of recent times. New reports on these weapons will again attract the attention of specialists and the general public.
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