Weapon history is a continuous process of improving small arms, aimed at increasing their combat effectiveness and developing in accordance with world trends in combat tactics. Experimental and prototypes created at the stages of research and development work (R&D) and experimental design work (ROC) and did not pass competitive tests remain in the factory's weapons storage facilities. Nevertheless, they are of interest both for amateurs and connoisseurs of weapons, and for people of a creative mind, because they allow you to look into the creative laboratory of the designer, to trace the development of his creative thought.
Experimental and prototypes of weapons of the Izhevsk Machine-Building Plant
In 1959, the modernized Kalashnikov assault rifle was adopted by the SA. In the same year, a new exploratory research work began - the development of new schemes for small arms for standard cartridges based on the search for more advanced principles of automation, which would make it possible to obtain weapons with simplicity of design, low weight and reliability in operation. Young specialists of the plant, graduates of the Izhevsk Mechanical Institute - A. I. Nesterov, B. M. Zorin, R. S. Povarenkin and a graduate of the Leningrad Military Mechanical Institute Yu. K.. Alexandrov. As a result, the LA and AL assault rifles (light assault rifle) were developed.
LA-2 assault rifle. The sample was developed by the designer of the Izhevsk Machine-Building Plant A. I. Nesterov in 1961 under the influence of the factory competition to facilitate the assault rifle AKM being mastered. When designing it, technical solutions were used for the design of the SVD rifle being developed. In the sample, the limitation of the frame travel is applied in the extreme rear position against the front liner of the receiver. This made it possible, due to the elasticity of its walls, to reduce the impact of the impact of the moving parts in the extreme position on the aiming of the weapon. The assault rifle demonstrates increased firing accuracy with single fire. The location of the return spring on the left side of the bolt carrier made it possible to reduce its height and the height of the weapon as a whole. The front sight block is combined with the gas chamber, the diopter sight is entirely placed on the receiver cover. In the upper part of the gas chamber, a hole is made for cleaning the gas outlet, which is closed by a valve in the firing position. The mass of the machine is reduced to 2, 15 kg
LA-3 assault rifle. The sample was developed by the designer B. M. Zorin in 1962. Its feature is the automatic operation based on the forward movement of the barrel. The mechanisms of the machine are favorably distinguished by their simplicity. Tests of the sample revealed increased dispersion when firing in bursts due to the appearance of additional impulses when the barrel moved forward.
LA-4 assault rifle, designer A. I. Nesterov, 1964. The principle of operation of the automatics is the use of the recoil energy of the barrel during its long stroke. The use of this principle of automation made it possible to significantly reduce the recoil of the weapon when fired. The return springs of the barrel and the bolt carrier are located concentrically on one guide rod (from the inside - the spring of the barrel, from the outside - the spring of the bolt carrier). All parts of the trigger, including the trigger, are stamped from sheet. The fire mode translator and the fuse are made separately, the sight is located in the handle for carrying the weapon. To improve the convenience of handling the weapon, the control handle is tilted to the right.
AL-2 assault rifle. Designers Yu. K. Aleksandrov and R. S. Povarenkin, 1960-70s A sample from a new series of light assault rifles, originally developed for cartridge 7, 62x39, and later chambered for cartridge 5, 45x39. It has a classic side gas engine automation scheme, located in the "bull-pup" layout. In the design of the machine, the frame travel is limited in the extreme rear position against the front receiver insert. This made it possible (due to the elasticity of its walls) to somewhat reduce the impact of the impact of the moving parts in the extreme rear position on the aiming of the weapon. Placing a return spring on the right side of the bolt carrier reduced the height of the receiver. The gas chamber of the machine (closed type, equipped with a two-position gas regulator) simultaneously serves as the base of the sight. Trigger parts are completely stamped from sheet metal. Later, in the 1970s, in the work on the AL series machines, the use of a forward trigger and a scheme of work with balanced automation were tested.
In general, work on an experimental series of light automata, which sometimes differed in the most unexpected automation schemes, made it possible to analyze the strengths and weaknesses of the application of various technical solutions.
Scientific research on the development of a small-sized machine
State competition "Modern"
In 1973, the Ministry of Defense announced a Modern competition to create a small-sized assault rifle intended for crews of military equipment. At the Izhevsk Machine-Building Plant, several versions of shortened machines were developed. An attempt to miniaturize the machine was made by Evgeny Antonovich Popovich in the PPL machine. In this sample, a significant reduction in the size and weight of the weapon was achieved due to the rearrangement of the feed mechanisms, the firing mechanism and the gas engine, miniaturization of parts. The gas chamber of the machine is combined with the front sight block. The sight in the form of a two-way rear sight is located on the receiver cover, secured by a special latch. The butt of the machine is a metal frame, original shape, folds to the left side. The barrel of the weapon is equipped with a muzzle device (compensator).
Later E. A. Popovich was transferred to the group of M. T. Kalashnikov for the development of a small-sized assault rifle based on the standard AK74 and took part in the development of the AKS74U assault rifle. It was this machine that was submitted by the plant to a state competition and in 1979 was adopted to provide crews of combat vehicles, calculations of guns and other army personnel, for which the standard AK74 machine gun was too large. The advantages of AKS74U include high mobility in cramped conditions (indoors, inside a car), the possibility of hidden wearing, a fairly high penetration capacity of the cartridge. The disadvantages include a relatively small aiming range of fire (with a large lethal range of ammunition), low stopping effect of a bullet.
Also, as part of the research and development work "Modern" on the instructions of TsNIITOCHMASH, a version of the small-sized automatic machine MA (designer EF Dragunov) with extensive use of plastic as a structural material was developed. A maximum of parts (including the receiver, magazine and handle) are made of high-strength polyamide. The design feature is the location of the moving parts of the machine on the cover of the receiver, and not in the box itself, low aiming line, ergonomics.
Technical solutions and practical experience in creating small-sized automatic machines in the 1970s.found their continuation in the later work on the creation of submachine guns "Bizon" and "Vityaz" for the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the FSB in the 1990-2000s.
Research into the use of alternative ammunition
In the 1970s, under the conditions of the arms race in the USSR and the United States, work was carried out almost in parallel to increase combat effectiveness based on the search for new schemes for the operation of automation and the determination of the effectiveness of the use of new ammunition. In the OGK Izhevsk Machine-Building Plant, a number of search R&D works were carried out using new ammunition developed at TsNIITOCHMASH - cartridges with an arrow-shaped bullet of 4.5 mm caliber, a caseless cartridge of 7, 62 mm and 5.6 mm calibers.
Research and development work on the creation of a sniper rifle for arrow-shaped ammunition received the code name "Finval". An experimental sample of a sniper rifle designed by N. S. Lukin with a magazine with a capacity of 15 rounds was developed on the basis of the Dragunov sniper rifle. The design feature of the rifle is the use of a smooth barrel without making rifling in the channel. The peculiarity of the ammunition is the high flight speed of the arrow (1100-1200 m / s) and the high flatness of the trajectory (direct shot range). For obturation when passing through the bore, the arrow was in a special plastic (aluminum) pallet, which, when fired, was destroyed by a special muzzle device. The main disadvantages of such a scheme were the danger of injury to the shooter or the pallet surrounding the fragments, as well as the low stopping effect of the arrows and unsatisfactory accuracy. R&D was closed.
Work on the use of a caseless cartridge began in the context of an intersectoral competition announced by the USSR Ministry of Defense Industry in 1972. An experimental series of automatic machines for a caseless 5, 6-mm cartridge, developed at the Izhevsk Machine-Building Plant, was named AB. A feature of this scheme is the absence of a cartridge case in the cartridge, the bullet is located inside the compressed powder checker, which, when fired, almost completely burns out, and therefore there is no need to arrange the mechanisms necessary for ejection and reflection of the cartridge case, the mass of the ammunition is lightened. However, studies have revealed an unsatisfactory storage reliability of a caseless cartridge, uneven combustion of a compressed powder checker under conditions of low and high temperatures (the powder crumbles or splits into pieces), which leads to instability of the pressure in the barrel bore. There were also problems with obturation during firing, which is provided by the sleeve in the classic cartridge layout.
Research work to improve combat effectiveness
Due to the lack of prospects for the use of new ammunition schemes, work continued to increase the combat effectiveness of small arms using the standard low-impulse cartridge 5, 45x39. At the end of the 1970s, research began on the search for a scheme that would increase the combat effectiveness by 1.5-2 times (compared to the standard AK74), which was codenamed "Flag". At the Izhevsk Machine-Building Plant, several mock-ups and experimental models of automatic machines were developed and manufactured, including the AF automatic machine designed by E. F. Dragunov. A feature of the sample is the use of technical solutions of a sniper rifle for automatic weapons chambered for 5, 45x39, which led to an increase in the accuracy of single fire firing and the preservation of the dimensions of a sniper weapon.
Also, work was carried out to improve the combat effectiveness of the light machine gun. A series of experimental PU machine guns chambered for 5, 45x39 were developed. The main performers for the development and testing of experimental models of machine guns are Yu. K. Aleksandrov, M. E. Dragunov, V. M. Kalashnikov.
Machine guns were belt-fed weapons that could be fired from using standard submachine gun and machine-gun magazines. The machine guns were thoroughly tested at TsNIITOCHMASH and at the training ground in Leningrad, but military experts did not see convincing arguments for replacing the standard RPK and RPK74 machine guns. In the opinion of the military, the new model, with the complexity of the design, did not have an increase in combat effectiveness. However, an interesting fact is the later appearance of a similar layout of the Minimi machine gun of the Belgian company FN, which was adopted by many armies, including the US Army under the M249 index.
Another development of the Izhevsk Machine-Building Plant is distinguished by the original layout of the moving parts - a high-speed double-barreled machine gun designed by G. N. Nikonov. Its feature is two movable barrels, each of which is driven by a gas outlet of an adjacent barrel, the operation of the barrels is synchronized through a rack and pinion transmission. The presence of two barrels and the minimum possible stroke of each of them made it possible to provide a rate of fire of more than 3000 rds / min. This work was carried out on an initiative basis and was aimed at assessing the operation of the automation of this assembly of units.
The logical continuation of the research work "Flag" was experimental design work (ROC), but already in the conditions of an inter-sectoral state competition with the code designation "Abakan", announced by the decision of the Commission of the Presidium of the Council of Ministers of the USSR on military-industrial issues of August 27, 1981 in order to create a new an assault rifle that exceeds the combat effectiveness of the standard AK74 by 1.5-2 times. The main condition was a significant improvement in the accuracy of automatic fire. The complexity of the task was that it had to be solved only by means of a machine gun, without changing the cartridge. The new assault rifle in terms of its dimensions was supposed to be similar to the AK74 while maintaining its best combat and operational qualities (the Kalashnikov assault rifle was unconditionally recognized as the world standard of reliability).
Development of an assault rifle with increased combat effectiveness in the state competition "Abakan"
In the competition for the development of a new machine, 12 of the best specialized design teams of the country were involved, including several design bureaus of the Izhevsk Machine-Building Plant OGK. All the experience of previous work testified that a solution can be found only with a radical change in the design of the weapon. In the bureau of A. I. Nesterov (where G. N. Nikonov worked), based on the theoretical forecasts of TsNIITOCHMASH and information about the West German rifle G11, the choice was made in favor of the recoil-momentum shift scheme (as the most promising). At the same time, it was clear that this leaves no room for wide unification with the AK74 assault rifle.
Figuratively speaking, the meaning of the scheme with a shifted recoil momentum is to "deceive" the recoil of the shot, that is, to make it happen after two or three bullets have left the barrel - in this case, the recoil will not affect the accuracy of the hit. GN Nikonov was appointed the leading developer of the new machine. The very first mock-up with a shifted recoil momentum, with the simultaneous provision in the mock-up of a high rate of fire and a three-shot burst cut-off (one pull of the trigger triggers three shots at once), showed extremely optimistic results in the accuracy of automatic firing in short bursts when firing. The work was taken under special control by the management of the plant. Experimental models were developed, designated HA-2 and HA-4, made in the "bull-pup" layout (with the return mechanism and the magazine of the machine not located in front, but behind the trigger guard and the handle, that is, in the butt).
In 1983-86, in the bureau of G. N. Nikonov, AS machines were developed in a classic layout, but with a side-mounted store. This scheme was applied based on the peculiarities of this type of automation - inside the casing of the machine there is a movable firing unit, which includes a barrel, receiver, moving parts and a magazine. The main design flaw was that, when firing, the openly located magazine moved at high speed relative to the casing, which could lead to impacts on surrounding objects with delays in firing, breakdowns and injuries.
Another design group of the Izhevsk Machine-Building Plant under the leadership of VM Kalashnikov took part in the Abakan competition. In the AKB-1 and AKB automatic machines presented by her, a scheme with balanced automation was used. When fired, when the bolt carrier with the bolt begins to move backward, a special part - the rail - begins to move forward and in the extreme rear position the bolt carrier collides not with the receiver, but with the movable rail. The energy of their movement is mutually compensated, increasing the stability of the machine, and, accordingly, the accuracy and accuracy of fire.
The results of the competition for the development of assault rifles chambered for 5, 45x39 cartridges showed that assault rifles with balanced automatics are 1, 2 times more effective in firing from unstable positions than assault rifles in the usual standard layout. The first samples were developed on the basis of the AL-6 assault rifles (designed by Yu. K. Aleksandrov). In 1984, the AKB-1 assault rifle with balanced automatics, in which a movable barrel is used as a balancer, was presented for testing.
Tests 1984-85 showed that none of the presented samples meets the requirements of the technical task "Abakan" in terms of efficiency when firing in short bursts. In 1985, V. M. Kalashnikov's group developed and presented for testing an automatic machine with a balanced automatic battery. The assault rifle had three firing modes:
- single fire;
- shooting with a fixed burst of 2 shots;
- automatic fire.
However, further tests revealed the prospect of using a scheme with a shifted recoil impulse used by G. N. Nikonov, and the main efforts were directed to finalizing the automatic systems.
In the spring and summer of 1986, during preliminary tests at TsNIITOCHMASH, the AS machine for the first time showed compliance with all the requirements of the tactical and technical assignment on the Abakan theme in terms of accuracy and firing efficiency. This machine has a classic layout and a vertical magazine arrangement, the movable magazine is covered in the front position with a special folding rack. At the same time, an AFM assault rifle with a fixed magazine, with a fixed queue of 2 shots, was tested at the test site. It was recommended for subsequent implementation.
For each new stage of the competition, Nikonov brought samples of machines that were completely new in design, which received the designation AC, and later CAM. In the process of searching for ways to significantly increase the accuracy of fire on prototypes, various designs of parts and mechanisms, various layouts were tested. The assault rifle has undergone a number of changes in terms of convenience and ease of use when firing, the use of various muzzle attachments has been tested.
The finalization of the AFM at the last stages of the competition (in the late 1980s - early 90s) concerned those characteristics that were considered secondary at the first stage of work. A more compact arrangement of the assault rifle units was required in order to improve ergonomics, the introduction of more technologically advanced injection molded polymer construction materials, the adaptation of technologies for mass production, and the provision of the possibility of connecting standard devices (sights, bayonets, knives, grenade launchers, etc.).
As a result, after field tests and a number of control tests, for which, according to separate decisions, samples previously withdrawn from the competition were also allowed, the commission issued the following conclusion. The AFM assault rifle, as the most satisfying of all the presented samples, the requirements of the technical assignment for the main combat characteristics: accuracy of automatic firing, trouble-free operation in various conditions, durability of parts and firing efficiency,having shown the best results in terms of combat effectiveness in comparison with other assault rifles, it can be recommended for military trials.
For military tests, it was necessary to make not two or three machine guns, as in the previous stages, but a batch of 120 pieces. The difficulty was that the finalization of the machine to eliminate the comments made during the tests was carried out simultaneously with the production of the batch. The comments related to issues that at the previous stages of sample development were considered secondary in comparison with the main task of ensuring accuracy. These, in particular, were the requirements for ensuring the use of the assault rifle in military equipment, which meant the need to ensure the installation of the assault rifle in the same attachment points of military equipment (armored personnel carriers, infantry fighting vehicles, helicopters), which at one time were worked out for the configuration and dimensions of the AK74 assault rifle. Therefore, in appearance and dimensions, the machine became more and more similar to the standard AK74. By the last stage of state proving grounds tests in 1994, the appearance of an assault rifle, which received the official name "5, 45-mm Nikonov assault rifle" AN-94, was formed, under which it was adopted by the Russian army in 1997 by a decree of the Government of the Russian Federation.
In the AN-94 assault rifle, it was possible to achieve an increase in combat efficiency by 1.5-2 times, and an increase in the accuracy of fire - by 7-13 times compared to the standard AK74. The dimensions of the AN-94 assault rifle were brought closer to the dimensions of the AK74.
Work on the creation of a self-loading sniper rifle for the army under the conditions of a state competition
In 1958, as part of a state competition, an engineering plant was given the task of developing a self-loading sniper rifle for the army. The work was very difficult due to the absence in weapon practice of examples of creating a self-loading sniper rifle (with the possibility of quick automatic reloading in case of a miss and the production of a subsequent shot while maintaining high firing accuracy). The development of a self-loading rifle was entrusted to EF Dragunov. His rivals were S. G. Simonov and A. S. Konstantinov, who had extensive experience in working on automatic and self-loading weapons, which Dragunov did not have. But Evgeny Fedorovich, unlike them, had experience with target weapons.
The competition was held in several stages. At the first tests at the Shchurovo test site near Moscow, a prototype of the SSV-58 self-loading sniper rifle showed very high results in accuracy, significantly surpassing its competitors. However, the reliability of the rifle was unsatisfactory - the rifle failed every 500-600 rounds. All three samples were recommended for revision for passing new field tests in 1960, after which the Simonov rifle dropped out of the competition. There are only two samples left - Dragunov and Konstantinov, recommended for revision.
Final tests were carried out in December 1961 - January 1962. In the Dragunov sample, the feed of cartridges was improved. Konstantinov's rifle showed the worst result in terms of accuracy. The sample of Evgeny Dragunov was recommended for the passage of military tests. In the summer of 1962, the first experimental batch of 40 pieces was manufactured (SSV-58 variant for military trials). After further improvements and the introduction of a chrome coating on the barrel bore, the sample was recommended for adoption, and its serial production began in 1964. Distinctive features of the Dragunov rifle, providing high sniper qualities, are:
1.the locking scheme for three lugs, which by now has become an indispensable element of high-precision weapons;
2. the design of the forend ensures the stability of the midpoint of impact when the barrel is heated from prolonged firing;
3. the design of the butt provides ease of manufacture (is a further development of the sports butt);
4.separate use of the gas piston and the bolt carrier, which also ensures stability;
5. reliably working magazine for a cartridge with a rim.
Some foreign arms publications have awarded the SVD the title of the best army sniper rifle of the 20th century, since this was the world's first experience in developing a self-loading sniper rifle with such high accuracy rates.
Despite the fact that the SVD was secretly adopted without a stamp, reliable information about it in the foreign press appeared only during the Afghan war. With the outbreak of hostilities, it became necessary to make the SVD more compact, since it did not fit well into the limited space of infantry fighting vehicles and armored personnel carriers. In the 1980s, at the request of the USSR Ministry of Defense, new shortened versions of the rifle were developed at the Izhevsk Machine-Building Plant, with a study to improve the manufacturability of its manufacture.
The prototype SVD with a stamped receiver was developed by the son of Evgeny Fedorovich Mikhail Dragunov in 1981. However, these studies were not crowned with success, since the rigidity of the receiver became lower, which negatively affected the accuracy of fire.
A shortened sample of the SVD with a folding butt was also developed by Yevgeny Fedorovich himself in the late 1980s, already before his retirement (one of his latest developments). Work on a rifle with a folding stock was completed by a team led by Azari Ivanovich Nesterov. There were two working versions of the SVD with a folding butt - with a 620 mm barrel (SVDS-A index, that is, army) and with a 590 mm barrel (SVDS-D landing). On August 26, 1995, the model received the SVDS index and was put into service.