Simonov & Tkachev AO-63 assault rifle


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7 November 2008
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The AO-63 is a twin-barrel 5.45x39mm calibre assault rifle designed by Tkachev & Simonov and manufactured by TsNIITochmash with capabilities of firing from 850RPM or 6,000RPM when in two round burst mode making it the worlds fastest firing assault rifle known. It was used during the Abakan assault rifle trials by the Spetsnaz during the 1980s alongside other weapons with the Nikonov AN-94 being the winner. It is not known yet what the AO-63 exactly looks like but a number of people claim that an example was used in the 1989 movie Red Scorpion.

In the early 80-ies nothing remarkable river in Khakassia gave its name to competition, which was carried out to develop new high-performance machine. Today the name «Abakan» disturb the whole world of weapons.

The process of developing, testing and putting on the production of any model of arms is very expensive, labor intensive and sometimes stretched for many years. It is therefore constantly increasing requirements for tactical weapons overtaking the process of rearming. For example, the implementation of the ROC «Abakan» try to trace all the stages of testing each sample weapons before reaching a decision on the feasibility of adopting it.

Labor designer weapons is thankless by its nature, because weapons are in service for decades, and stringent competitive tests detect only the most vibrant, forward-looking design and add to the collection of museums «illegitimate». To amateur «designers», who divorced enough in recent years ( in small arms, as in women, football, hockey deals all) it's not clear that the refinement of modern designs are so high that requires tremendous intellectual efforts are not alone, but entire teams of designers, engineers, high-quality metal, a unique manufacturing base.

In 1974, with the adoption by the Soviet Army 5.45-mm assault rifle AK74 completed a certain stage in the development of small arms. The main achievement was the development of a powerful, easy low-impulse cartridge.

The AK74 assault rifle itself, despite the many positive attributes, get rid of the major shortcomings of its «grandfather» AK - low accuracy of fire bursts - marked as far back as 1947.

The tactics of modern battlefield dictate its conditions. Highly-maneurable actions of mobile combat units required sufficiently effective automatic fire mostly from the volatile situation: standing with a short stop, kneeling, lying down from hands. The decision of the Commission of the Council of Ministers of the USSR in the military-industrial issues number 280 27.08.81 ROC «Abakan» was started with the main purpose of - the development of a new assault rifle, superior to existing in combat effectiveness of 1,5 - 2,0 times.

The implementation of the designers took TSKIB SOO, Kovrov mechanical and Izhevsk Machine-building plants under the general guidance of scientific and Central Research Institute of precision engineering (TsNIITochmash).

Three years went by development of new weapons, technical design, manufacture prototypes and test factory.

By August 1984, eight samples were produced by machines experienced eight designers. Preliminary trials on the technical design stage in August and November 1984 were subjected to assault rifles:

TKB-0111 (TSKIB SOO, designer Korobov GA)
TKB-0136-3M (TSKIB SOO, designer Afanasyev NM)
TKB-0146 (TSKIB SOO, designer Stechkin I.YA.)
AEK-971 (SKB KMZ, designer Garev BA)
AEK-978 (SKB KMZ, designer Pikinsky PA)
AL-9 (PO «Izhmash», designer Kalashnikov VM)
AS (PO «Izhmash», designer Nikonov GN)
APT (PO «IzhNITI», designer Postnikov IA).

The Commission, appointed by the decision Minoboronprom (Ministry of Defence Industry) and Grau(ГРАУ, Главное ракетно-артиллерийское управление, Main Missile-Artillery Administration), reviewed the test results and confirmed the possibility of establishing a forward-looking machines. The APT rifle was withdrawn from testing because of the unreliability of the automation, and further development of TKB-0111 (the least promising) was decided to hold optional without the conclusion of the contract. Fine-tuning in increasing the automation reliability, details resource and accuracy of fire took one and a half years.

In May - June 1986 on the basis of TsNIITochmash was made a preliminary stage of testing. By previously tested machines joined AKB-1 (instead of AL-9, designer Kalashnikov V.M.) and AO-63 (TsNIITochmash).

Tests were conducted in a very large volume: shooting in the dust, sprinkling, in extreme temperatures, under high and low elevation angles, the definition of grouping and the effectiveness of fire from all positions. In spite of this work was completed after a month and a half. Designers had a lot of worries for their «home brainchild», and a metalworkers got more corn from the permanent replacements of parts and their adaptation. Neither model satisfied the requirements for the reliability of automation, resource details, volume and weight of shot. Only the AS and AO-63 satisfied requirements for grouping. For fixing all shortcomings only three months were given.

Repeated preliminary testing began in late October 1986. At the tests were presented to two fundamentally new samples ASM Construction Nikonov G.A. (shift in recoil momentum with the stationary cartridge clip) and the AKB instead of AKB-1 design Kalashnikov V. M. (balanced automatics).

Further development of the rest samples were limited to refine design of triggering and feeding mechanisms, modification of muzzle devices. By the middle of testing, it became clear that further work with the TKB-0111, AEK-971 and AKB unviable.

AS, ASM and TKB-0146 rifles showed excellent accuracy of fire. Testers and members of the commission unanimously noted a great comfort firing of these samples: almost imperceptible recoil (when shooting high rate of fire in standing position rifle can be keeped on weight, leaning buttstock to the shoulder) and «soft» sound of shots. Short burst of two shots from a high rate of perceived listening as a single shot, while the eyes of observer, standing aloof from the shooter, can fix the flight trajectory of the two reflected cartridges.

Thus, the estimated range tests came only three samples - AS, ASM and TKB-0146. The most dramatic moment of years of work was coming.

Who will be the first? «Venerable» Stechkin or little-known outside «Izhmash» Nikonov? Although both designer's rifles showed good results on the accuracy of fire, but because of the complexity and high dirt-sensivity of automatics details had low infallibility. Will Do to achieve the reliability of proven AK74? Moreover, the «civilian life» of rifles ceased. All further tests must be conducted only specialists from the Ministry of Defense on its governing documents, providing for checks on anyone, even the most fortuitous event of military operation.




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