Russia is reportedly looking to upgrade its iconic Kalashnikov assault rifle, commonly known as the AK-47, to “modernize” it and bring it more in line with other popular rifles.
Russia’s plan to modernize the AK-47 is part of the country’s nearly $700 billion project to modernize the country’s armed forces, equipping them with a slew of new and improved armaments, submarines and even aircraft by 2020.
The new Kalashnikov model, referred to as the AK-12, features detachable equipment such as a detachable sight and tactical flashlight, Dmitry Rogozin, the deputy prime minister, explained in a Parliament session on Tuesday.
“We are planning deep modernization of the Kalashnikov assault rifle,” said Mr Rogozin. “This will be a weapon with detachable equipment, such as an optical sight and a lamp.”
The announcement of a new-and-improved AK-47 variant follows news back in September that Russia had halted new purchases of the AK-47 assault rifle. The original Kalashnikov, designed by Mikhail Kalashnikov, rapidly gained popularity for its ease of use and cheap cost to manufacturer, but Russia has recently been leaning towards guns that are more effective in terms of effective range and stopping power.
Russia may be touting the AK-12 as a significant leap forward from the limited capabilities of the AK-47, but some analysts are saying that the upgrades are more cosmetic than anything else, and it remains to be seen if the AK-12 will prove to be combat worthy.