21 Dec 2018 20:54

2,500 AK-12s batch 1st big purchase of new small-arms weapon for army in past 30 years - Defense Ministry

IZHEVSK. Dec 21 (Interfax) - The delivery of the first batch of 2,500 units of the AK-12 assault rifle was the first mass purchase of new assault rifles in 30 years, Russian Deputy Defense Minister Alexei Krivoruchko told reporters during a visit to the Kalashnikov company facilities on Friday.

"For nearly 30 years, no new assault rifles were bought, so there is now the prospect of new assault rifles, there is the need for renewal. This work was planned out a few years ago and has now reached the production level," Krivoruchko said.

A Defense Ministry delegation saw for itself that Kalashnikov Concern is ready for the new rifle's serial production, he said. "In my view, the enterprise is fully ready, all preparation here has been carried out and the first shipment only confirms this. So one may consider serial production to be up and running," Krivoruchko said.

The re-armament program provides for much bigger deliveries of the new weapon in future, the deputy minister said.

On December 20 the Kalashnikov.Media website announced that the company had begun first AK-12 deliveries under a government defense contract. The company shipped 2,500 units of the assault rifle. At present, the Russian Defense Ministry remains the only buyer of the AK-12 which is meant to gradually replace the AK-74M in the army.

Which units will be the first to receive the AK-12 will be decided in the first quarter of 2019; for now all the deliveries are being stocked up in the Defense Ministry's warehouses, Krivoruchko said.

The AK-12 was designed as an element of the future individual soldier protection kit Ratnik.