AEK-971 and AEK-973 enter service as well!

No joke, it has just been reported by a dozen newspapers.

On a side note: You remember the article about the AK-12 and AK-15 last week?
It is official now. Kalashnikov released a press statement today:
Concern Kalashnikov announced on their website:

The Russian Ministry of Defense has adopted the AK-12 and AK-15 assault rifles of the Concern Kalashnikov. They are to be issued to the Ground Forces, Marine Corps and Airborne Forces. (translated form Russian)

If you missed the article last month, read it up here.

Back to the topic: Trud (one of Russia’s largest newspapers) reported that in addition the AK-12 and AK-15 the 6P67 and 6P68 are adopted as well.
Most of you will probably know then under a different name: The AEK-971 and AEK-973.

That comes as a bite of surprise, since the AEK was already was a contender as the new main assault rifle that dates back till the 1970s (…but was rejected) However it did undergo several modifications and modernizations, plus the demands of the Russian MOD changed over the years as well. Having a simple and reliable rifle once again became the top priority after the AN-94 fiasco. Trud specifically mentions, that those were two main reasons behind the decision.

However I assume that this is only half of the truth. The AEK (as many of you might already know) has something that makes it very special: It is recoil compensated.

Balanced Recoil System

Only a hand full assault exist with this kind of feature – and all of them are Russian.
Apart form the AEK it is namely the AK-107 and AK-108, which like the AEK-971 and AEK-973 only differ in their caliber.

So why didn’t the Russian MOD go with the AK-107 and AK-108 instead of the AEKs?
It would be useful, since those handle so much more like the AK-12, AK-15 or any other traditional AK. Special training could be reduced and the learning process would be simpler, not to mention the better interchangeability. So it would make sense in that regard, yet they didn’t.
Or even replace the AK-12, AK-15AEK-971 and AEK-973 altogether?

AK-107 (5.45x39mm with balanced recoil system)

I suspect the main reason is to spread the dependency more evenly. It is always good to have more then one capable manufacture, or things might get ugly like in the US (where the Lockheed as the sole manufacture for fighter jets causes big problems).
Speaking of fighter jets, the Sukhoi and Mikoyan Design bureaus are another good example how the Russian MOD likes to split their dependencies.
So instead of exaggerating Concern Kalashnikov even further, they chose to have a second supplier, Degtyarev Plant (also known as ZID), should things go sideways.

Also the AEK-971 particular already saw limited service with SOBR units and will probably by issued to the front-line units of the Russian Federation.

The version that is going to be adopted and seen on the picture above is the S version namely the AEK-971S (GRAU index 6P67).

Compared to prior versions it incorporates many design elements of the H&K MP-5 A5.
The buttstock, the pistlgrip and the safety, the drum sight…
This probably links directly to the feedback of SOBR units, which are one of the few Russian units that used MP5s in the past.

Further the fire rate is considerable higher, since the distance of the reciprocating parts is less compared to the AK-107, AK-12/15 or other traditional AKs.
Early models had a rate of 1,500 rounds per minute (RPM), whereas the current version has been reduced to 900 RPM.
While the AK-15 and especially AK-12 are manageable on full auto (due to the low fire-rate and the muzzle brake), the AEK series with its high fire-rate greatly benefits from the balanced recoil system.

While this two-tier acquisition system seems a bit over the top, it might work out just fine. Nevertheless it is pretty unusual to field four different assault rifles (or even more if you count the older AK-74M and the AS-VAL, which is also issued to VDV units)

31.01.2018 – by netsplit for Gruppa L

6 thoughts on “AEK-971 and AEK-973 enter service as well!

  1. I was wondering if they can still use the magazines from the ak or if those are special aek magazines – do you know this maybe?
    looks for me like normal ak magazines

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