Russia’s Defense Ministry has ordered an undisclosed number of Kalashnikov’s newest RPK-16 machine guns under an agreement signed with the Kalashnikov Concern, TASS reports Tuesday.
When asked if such a contract had been signed, Kalashnikov Concern CEO Alexey Krivoruchko answered in the affirmative, the report says.
The RPK-16 5.45mm light machine gun was unveiled at the Army 2016 international military exhibition. It was especially developed to replace the old Soviet-made RPK 7.62x39mm caliber light machine gun developed by Mikhail Kalashnikov in the late 1950s. The RPK-16 has a maximum firing range of 800m and a rate of fire of 700 rounds per minute.
The weapon can operate as a light machine gun or as an assault rifle because its long barrel can be replaced with a short one. It uses traditional gas operated action with rotary bolt locking. The RPK-16 has barrel change capability, so it can be used as a standard light machine gun with a long barrel or as an assault machine gun with a short barrel. A Picatinny bipod is mounted at the front of the weapon. The RPK-165 can fire in single shot or automatic mode. It has a combat weight of 6 kg or 4 kg without bipod and accessories, a length of 1,076 mm, a barrel length of 370 mm with the short barrel or 550 mm with the long barrel. It has a new ergonomic pistol grip and a folding stock.
A special 96-cartridge drum, which is also compatible with Kalashnikov assault rifles, has been developed for this machine gun.