The Kalashnikov AK-12 – based on the prototype AK-200 – is the most modern incarnation of the famous AK-47 assault rifle to date.
The AK-47 altered the world military stage by becoming a ubiquitous combat system available to the general masses. The weapon proved relatively inexpensive to produce and, perhaps more importantly, it was a robust field performer with a reliable action and easy-to-operate in the “greenest” of hands. As such, the AK-47 – Kalashnikov’s best known and easily recognizable assault rifle – went on to be found in all parts of the world. Within time, the series was modernized with the changing era including a major facelift in the 1970s (the AK-74) and, again, in the 1990s (the composite-minded AK-100 series). The newest incarnation is the “AK-12” manufactured by the storied concern of Izhmash and currently (2012) undergoing evaluation by the Russian military to become the next standard-issue automatic weapon of its army. It is expected that the AK-12 will be produced through a “family” of automatic weapons to include the base assault rifle, a shortened carbine form, a compact submachine gun, a dedicated sniper/sharpshooter’s rifle and a light machine gun consistent with prior Russian Army infantry doctrine (the AK-47/AK-74 itself was developed into varied forms to suit battlefield needs within time).
With the export market in mind and proliferation of different cartridge types around the world, the AK-12 will be an inherently modular product that, with some modification to the base internal arrangement and barrel, the weapon will be available in a variety of calibers to further suit customer requirements. Additionally, adoption of a Picatinny rail system now allows use of various non-Russian accessories including laser aimers, tactical flashlights, grips, night vision scopes, reflex sights and the like. In this way, the AK-12 system will be highly adaptable and just as highly marketable on the world stage.
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