Russian Army 150th motorized infantry division to receive first Kalashnikov AK-12 assault rifles

The Russian Army 150th motorized infantry division of the Southern Military District will be the first to receive AK-12 assault rifles and the latest-generation Ratnik outfit. The rearmament will take two years.

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AK-12 Kalashnikov assault rifle at Army defense exhibition near Moscow, in August 2016. (Picture source Army Recognition)

The rearmament will take two years. AK-12 effectively hits targets at a distance of hundreds of meters and Ratnik allows moving on the battlefield and be safe from bullets and fragmentation. Experts believe they will increase the combat capability, the Izvestia daily writes.

The Russian division will receive Ratnik and AK-12 by the end of the year, sources in the Russian Defense Ministry said. The 150th motorized rifle division of the Order of Kutuzov is deployed in Rostov region and is a part of the 8th combined arms army.

Although it belongs to the Southern district, the division also strengthens the western direction where Russia is opposed by well-armed NATO forces, expert Valery Yuryev said. “AK-12 is easily transformed. New sights, night vision devices or flashlights can be rapidly mounted on it. It has a telescopic buttstock to change the length depending on the soldier’s forearm. Both right and left-handed people can easily operate AK-12. The magazine is transparent to see the remaining stock of cartridges and prudently fire. The new rifle and Ratnik will increase the capabilities of a soldier and a rifle unit,” Yuryev said.

The 150th division comprises infantry, tank, artillery, air defense regiments, as well as communication, reconnaissance and logistical units. Five townships were built in less than a year to accommodate the personnel, as well as utilities and administrative premises, parking and warehouses, and combat training infrastructure.

Officers and men are trained at three ranges: Kuzminsky, Millerovsky and Kadamovsky. The Defense Ministry earlier said the western strategic direction was reinforced with three new motorized infantry divisions deployed in Smolensk, Voronezh and Rostov regions.

AK-12 resembles a classical Kalashnikov but is a new firearm. The design has been changed to fire in bursts of two shots. Additional dismountable barrel devices were designed and firing regime switch became more convenient. AK-12 enjoys better fire density and reliability of all mechanisms.

AK-12 is fit for usual AK-74 magazines with 30 cartridges. It got Picatinny rails to change sights, flashlights and install bipods for stationary fire. The rifle can carry underbarrel GP-25 and GP-30 grenade launchers. AK-12 is 54 percent unified with AK-74M which allowed launching its batch production with minimal costs.

Ratnik comprises modern firearms, effective protection, communication and reconnaissance mean, sights and heat imagers. There is a total of ten subsystems. In particular, they include 6B47 helmet, 6B45 vest with bullet-proof panels of 5A protection class, 6B49 combat set to protect arms, legs, and face from fragmentation, the Izvestia said.