The Russian Army will induct modified version of new Kalashnikov AK-12 assault rifle along with several other small arms into operational service next year, a senior government official has revealed.
Military-Industrial Commission deputy chairman, Oleg Bochkarev, said in an interview with Echo Moskvy radio that: ''In 2014, the Russian Army will start receiving new assault rifles, handguns, machine guns and sniper rifles, including 5.45-mm and 7.62-mm variants of the Kalashnikov AK-12 assault rifle.''
An upgraded variant of the Russian Army's Soviet-era 5.45mm calibre AK-74 Kalashnikov series, AK-12 is capable of firing foreign-standard barrel-mounted grenades in three different modes, including single shot, three-shot burst and automatic fire.
Rolled out by its manufacturer, Izhmash in January 2012, the rifle retains almost all the AK-74's features and overall layout, with enhanced technology and features a folding stock, height-adjustable heelpiece, as well as Picatinny rails to support attachment of optical and night-sights, grenade launchers, target indicators and other special equipment.
Configurable for cartridges varying from 5.45mm x 39mm to 7.62mm x 51mm Nato standard, the rifle is also designed to serve as a basic platform for development of AK-12U carbine, PPK-12 submachine gun, SVK-12 sniper rifle RPK-12 light machine gun and several other export versions.
Also known as AK-200, the tactically flexible assault rifle however, demonstrated technical faults during its preliminary trials, which were carried out by the Russian central arms testing body, Tochmash, in November 2012.
The state acceptance trials of the rifle are scheduled to commence in later in 2013, with serial production planned by the end of the year.
Image: The AK-12 assault rifle on display at Engineering Technologies International Forum-2012. Photo: courtesy of Vitaly V. Kuzmin.