A request for proposal for the development of a new 5.45x39mm Squad Automatic Weapon has been published on the official Russian government procurement website. This will start a bidding process, code named Tokar-2, which will lead to a new Russian SAW. Caliber of the new weapon, to be called ‘Kord-5.45’, will be in the standard 5.45x39mm M74 the same as the current issue AK74M and RPK74. The new design is intended for use by Russian Special Forces troops and is required to be both lightweight and compact. Overall length of the new design, with stock folded and not including the muzzle device, must be less than 35.4 inches when fitted with a long barrel and less than 29.5 inches when fitted with a short barrel. It must weigh in at under 15.4 pounds. Desired rate of fire is between 800 and 900 rpm. It must feed from not only standard 30/45 round AK74M and RPK74 box magazines but also belts. Plus it must also feed from higher capacity 50/60 round ‘coffin’ magazines which are popular with certain special units.
The new design will provide a small caliber belt-fed SAW for use by Russian Spetsnaz units. The Kord-5.45 will offer increased firepower over the RPK74 which is limited by its overly long 45 round box magazines which are limited in capacity. It will also be much more compact and maneuverable than the RPK74 as well. It’s short overall length will make it well suited for use in and around vehicles, inside buildings and for modern urban warfare. I would expect it to accept modern day/night sights as well as modern mission essential items such as IR laser/illuminators.
It will be interesting to see if this is an entirely new design, or merely a 1960/1970s vintage project (as seen in our lead photo) dusted off and brought up to date. Keep in mind the Soviets did develop 5.45x39mm squad automatic weapons which fed from both belts and box magazines. While development programs were undertaken the simple RPK74, basically a heavy barrel Kalashnikov, was adopted and fielded instead. So, we wait to see just what the Russian design bureaus come up with. The first prototypes of the Kord-5.45 are expected to be produced by the end of 2016.
and just for fun here’s an inspiring PK video
Here’s a good video of an overview of Russian/Soviet machine guns…..if you can deal with subtitles.