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New Russian light machine gun born from iconic Kalashnikov heads for tests

New Russian light machine gun born from iconic Kalashnikov heads for tests
The Russian military has embarked on testing a new iteration of the iconic Kalashnikov light machine gun, the RPK-16. The new gun boasts a whole set of improvements, compared to its predecessor.

Testing will be performed at Moscow Higher Military Command School, the Russian Defense Ministry said earlier this week. Soldiers will train to use the new weapons, providing feedback over their reliability, ergonomics and other parameters.

RPK-16 was first shown to the general public during the ARMY-2017 forum. The new gun is chambered for the intermediate 5.45×39 cartridge, used by AK-74 family. RPK-16, however, features a whole set of improvements, giving it more flexibility – and a fresher modern look.

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Unlike its predecessors, the RPK-16 has an interchangeable barrel, coming in two variants. With a full-length barrel it can be used as a light machine gun, but with a shorter one – as a heavy assault rifle. The gun is equipped with various rails suitable for scopes and other equipment, and it can be fitted with a suppressor as well.

While the gun can be fed with any existing AK-style magazines of the correct caliber, it comes with a new high-capacity drum magazine, which holds 96 cartridges. The bipod is no longer an integral part of the machine gun and it can be attached and detached freely. RPK-16’s stock folds to the left like its predecessors, but is also telescopic and can be adjusted for comfortable use.

Following tests, the military will provide feedback to the manufacturer, the Kalashnikov Concern, which will tweak the new gun if necessary.

Also on rt.com Russia’s brand new ‘Boa’ pistol may soon replace legendary Makarov sidearm

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