Kalashnikov Concern, a subsidiary of the Rostec State Corporation, has successfully fulfilled a three-year contract for the supply of the AK-12 assault rifle to the Russian Ministry of Defense. This announcement was made by Alan Lushnikov, the President of Concern “Kalashnikov,” during a press conference in honor of International Military Journalist Day. The contract was signed in 2021 and marked the largest long-term agreement for the delivery of combat small arms by “Kalashnikov.” Kalashnikov AK-12 (Avtomat Kalashnikova 2012, GRAU index 6P70) represents the pinnacle of the AK system’s development, featuring enhanced accuracy, precision, improved ergonomics, and readiness for round-the-clock use compared to previous generations.
The AK-12 is a Russian assault rifle chambered in 5.45×39mm designed and manufactured by the Kalashnikov Concern (formerly Izhmash), making it the fifth generation of Kalashnikov rifles. Compared to the 2018 model, when the AK-12 was adopted into service, the 2023 version incorporates significant changes according to the technical specifications of the Russian Ministry of Defense. The diopter sight has been improved, making it more versatile and weather-resistant. The safety selector system is now ambidextrous, which is particularly important for left-handed shooters. The muzzle device on the new model is non-removable, facilitating the attachment of a suppressor over the flash hider. Finally, the model boasts a structurally improved, more advanced handguard.
Kalashnikov Concern also offers a variant of the AK-12 chambered in 7.62×39mm, known as the AK-15 (GRAU index 6P71) due to the request of the Russian military. A variant chambered in 5.56×45mm NATO was later unveiled, known as the AK-19 upon the request of international clients. The AK-12 is chambered in 5.45×39mm and due to the Russian military requirements, Kalashnikov Concern also offers the rifle in 7.62×39mm cartridge, designated as the AK-15. Short-barrelled versions of the AK-12 and AK-15 are also being worked on, designated as the AK-12K and AK-15K. The AK-12 project began in 2011 by the IZHMASH factory, which became part of the Kalashnikov Concern as a private venture, in an attempt to participate in the “Ratnik” trials which were held by the Russian army.
It was further developed by the Kalashnikov Concern, throughout its development and evaluation stage it has received multiple modifications to meet the Russian military’s standard and to address the Russian army’s concerns regarding the cost and issues in fully automatic fire of the earlier prototype models. It went through three different prototypes in order to improve upon the “range of defects” that were discovered on the prototype models from 2012 to 2015. These were later abandoned in favour of the proven and improved AK-400, which became the finalised model of the AK-12. During 2023 Kalashnikov unveiled a new version of the rifle. THE First information was unveiled in January 2023. It was designated AK-12M1.