Kalashnikov AM-17 rifle to be upgraded for Russian pilots

The Russian Defense Ministry requested the Kalashnikov Group top upgrade its AM-17 assault rifle used by the fighter pilots.
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Kalashnikov AM-17 (Picture source: Army Recognition)

Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu inspected Kalashnikov firearms at Army-2020 forum. AM-17 drew his attention. He said Sukhoi Su-35 and Su-57 pilots may be armed with the rifle if it first into their rucksacks. “It is necessary to change the weight and size,” the minister said. General Chief-of-Staff Valery Gerasimov said the rifle had yet to pass acceptance trials. Military pilots are currently armed with the Stechkin pistol.

First unveiled in the Russian Army Expo 2017 alongside the AMB-17, the AM-17 (Avtomat Malogabaritnyj, Small-sized Automatic Rifle, awaiting GRAU designation), is an assault rifle that uses standard intermediate 5.45×39mm 7N10 cartridge. It was developed and manufactured by the late 2010s by Kalashnikov, based on the Yevgeny Dragunov MA Compact Rifle. The weapon is intended for use as a close quarters weapon, primarily for military and law enforcement units of the Russian Interior Ministry, Russian National Guard, and Russian Army to replace the AKS-74U.

The AM-17 unlike previous firearms in current use by the Russian military differentiates itself by employing two receivers that connect on a hinge instead of a single stamped receiver with a lid. To do this the upper receiver itself is made from polymer and steel reinforcements, while the lower receiver along with its magazine housing is made entirely from polymer and connected to the upper receiver by two captive take down cross-pins reducing the weight of the firearm significantly and allowing for easier access into the internal operation. The gas operated action within is a short stroke gas piston and rotary bolt which locks with three radial lugs on the bolt head similar to historic 9x39mm carbines such as the VSK-94. The bolt carrier within the upper receiver is almost streamline by design raising it towards the bolt group reducing both bolt friction and felt user recoil.

The weapon has an integrated upper full-length MIL-STD/1913 Picatinny railing, polymer side-folding and adjustable (telescoping) shoulder stock, and longitudinal slots in the walls of the upper receiver allowing for ambidextrous controls in both the fire selector and charging handle.