WARSAW PACT WEAPONS & EQUIPMENT 1970-1991





SKS 46 SIMONOV CARBINE


Calibre:7.62x39mm Muzzle Velocity:736m/s
Weight:3.85kg Length:1.021m
Magazine Capacity:10 rounds Rate of Fire:30 rounds/min
Effective Range:400m Date in Service:1949

During World War II, the Soviet Union realised that existing rifles, such as the Mosin-Nagant, were too long, heavy and fired powerful cartridges that created excessive recoil. It was noted that most firefights took place at maximum ranges of between 100m and 300m. The Soviet Union tested a new intermediate round, 7.62x39mm in 1943, and a small number of SKS rifles were tested on the front line in early 1945 against the Germans.

The SKS 46 Simonov is basically an improved version of Sergei Simonov AVS 36, but also incorporates some of the features of the SVT-40 and M-44 Mosin-Nagant rifles that it replaced.

In 1949, the SKS was officially adopted into the Soviet Army, produced at the Tula Armoury from 1949 until 1955 and the Izhevsk Armory in 1953 and 1954. Although the quality of Russian SKS rifles manufactured at these state-run arsenals was quite high, it’s design was already obsolete compared to the Kalashnikov which was selective-fire, lighter, had three times the magazine capacity, and also, had the potential to be less labor-intensive to manufacture.

AK-47 production increased until, by 1957, all front line troops were equipped with the new weapon, and SKS carbines were issued to support arms, and the armed forces of other Warsaw Pact countries.

The SKS 46 Simonov remained in service in this fashion into the early 1990s, and to this day, the SKS carbine is used by the ceremonial Russian Honour Guards.

Original Russian SKS rifles and copies can still be found today in the hands of third-world militias and insurgent groups. During the Cold War, the Soviet Union shared the design and manufacturing details with its allies. In total, 15,000,000 SKS rifles were manufactured by the Soviet Union, China, Yugoslavia, Albania, North Korea, Vietnam, and East Germany (Kar. S) with limited pilot production (Model 56) in Romania and Poland (Wz49).

SKS carbines have also made appearances in recent conflicts in Africa, Afghanistan, and Iraq. Today the SKS is in service with China, North Korea and Vietnam, as well as many other countries in Africa. Nations that utilised the SKS but did not receive manufacturing rights included Afghanistan, Congo, Indonesia, Iraq, Laos, Lebanon, Mongolia, Morocco, the United Arab Republic (Egypt), and the Yemen People's Democratic Republic.



AK 47 ASSAULT RIFLE


Calibre:7.62x39mm Muzzle Velocity:715m/s
Weight:4.3kg Length:0.870m
Magazine Capacity:30 rounds Rate of Fire:600 rounds/min
Effective Range:400m Date in Service:1949

The AK-47 is a selective-fire, gas-operated 7.62x39mm assault rifle, first developed in the Soviet Union by Mikhail Kalashnikov. The designation AK-47 stands for Kalashnikov Automatic Rifle, 1947 Model. It is officially known as Avtomat Kalashnikova.

Design work on the AK-47 began in the last year of World War II (1945). In 1946, the AK-46 was presented for official military trials, and in 1947 the fixed-stock version was introduced into service with select units of the Soviet Army.

In 1949, the AK-47 was officially accepted by the Soviet Armed Forces and used by the majority of the Warsaw Pact countries.

The AK-47 was one of the first true assault rifles and its variants remain the most widely used and popular assault rifles in the world because of its durability, low production cost, and ease of use. It has seen service with regular armed forces as well as irregular, revolutionary and terrorist organizations worldwide. The AK-47 was the basis for developing many other types of individual and crew-served firearms.

The AK family include:
AK-47 1948–51, 7.62x39mm.
AK-47 1952, 7.62x39mm.
AKS-47 Folding metal stock.
RPK, 7.62x39mm Hand-held machine gun version with longer barrel and bipod.
AKM, 7.62x39mm A simplified, lighter version of the AK-47.
AKMS, 7.62x39mm Folding-stock version of the AKM intended for airborne troops.
AK-74 series, 5.45x39mm
AK-101/AK-102 series
AK-103/AK-104 series
AK-107/AK-108 series
AK-200 series


75 million AK-47's have been produced, and over 100 million AK variant rifles have been produced, more than all other assault rifles combined.



SVD-137 DRAGUNOV SNIPER RIFLE


Calibre:7.62x54mm Muzzle Velocity:830m/s
Weight:4.3kg Length:1.135m
Magazine Capacity:10 rounds Rate of Fire:30 rounds/min
Effective Range:800m Date in Service:1963

The SVD Dragunov sniper rifle is a semi-automatic sniper rifle chambered in 7.62x54mm, developed by the Soviet Union. Three sniper rifles were tested, the SSV-58 designed by Sergei Simonov, the 2B-W10 designed by Alexander Konstantinov, and the SVD-137, designed by Yevgeny Dragunov. After the trials the SVD-137 was chosen to be the standard Soviet Sniper rifle and accepted into service in 1963. The initial pre-production batch consisted of 200 rifles, and from 1964 serial production was carried out at the Izhevsk Mechanical Works.

The Dragunov has become the standard sniper weapon of several countries, including those of the former Warsaw Pact. Licensed production of the rifle was established in China (Type 79 and Type 85) and Iran (as a direct copy of the Chinese Type 79).

The Dragunov has a two-piece wooden handguard and a skeleton type wooden "thumbhole" stock, fitted with removable cheek rest. Newer production models have black, synthetic furniture similar to the earlier wood furniture, although the thumbhole stock is of a different shape.

The Dragunov is issued with a quick-detachable PSO-1 optical sight. The PSO-1 sight has 4x magnification and 6° field of view, mounted on a side rail, that does not block the view of the normal sight line.

Rifles designated SVDN come equipped with a night sight, such as the NSP-3, NSPU, PGN-1, NSPUM or the Polish passive PCS-6 and can be used to engage targets at 600m, at night.

SVD Variants: In the early 1990s a compact variant of the SVD designed for airborne infantry was introduced, known as the SVDS, which has a tubular metal folding stock, fitted with a synthetic shoulder pad and a fixed cheek riser, and a synthetic pistol grip. It is fitted with a heavier barrel, the receiver housing was strengthened, the gas cylinder block was improved and a ported, and a conical flash hider was adopted.

The SVD Dragunov was not meant for highly trained sniper teams, but instead, for designated marksmen. In every platoon of Warsaw Pact troops, there was a Dragunov marksman.



DEGTYARYOV LIGHT MACHINE GUN (RPD)


Calibre:7.62x39mm Muzzle Velocity:735m/s
Weight:7.43kg Length:1.037m
Magazine Capacity:100 round disintergrating belt Rate of Fire:650 rounds/min
Effective Range:550m Date in Service:1953

The RPD Ruchnoy Pulemyot Degtyaryova, is a 7.62mm light machine gun developed in the Soviet Union by Vasily Degtyaryov for the intermediate 7.62x39mm M43 cartridge. It was created as a replacement for the DP machine gun chambered for the 7.62×54mmR Mosin rifle round.

Work on the weapon commenced in 1943. Three prominent Soviet engineers were asked to submit their own designs: Vasily Degtyaryov, Sergei Simonov and Alexei Sudayev. Among the completed prototypes prepared for evaluation, the Degtyaryov design proved superior and was accepted into service with the Soviet armed forces as the RPD, Ruchnoy Pulemyot Degtyaryova or "Degtyaryov light machine gun") model 1944. Although the RPD was ready for mass production during the final stages of World War II, large scale delivery of the weapon did not begin until 1953During the Vietnam War, the RPD served the Vietcong as their standard general-purpose machine gun.

After the introduction of the Kalashnikov-pattern support weapons such as the RPK and PK machine guns in the 1960s, the RPD was withdrawn from most first-tier units of the former Warsaw Pact. However, the RPD remains in active service in many African and Asian nations. Apart from the former Soviet Union, the weapon was manufactured in China (as the Type 56 LMG), Egypt, North Korea (Type 62) and since 1956—Poland.

Operating mechanism The RPD is an automatic weapon using a gas-operated long stroke piston system and a locking system recycled from previous Degtyaryov small arms, consisting of a pair of hinged flaps set in recesses on each side of the receiver. The movement of these flaps and the resulting locking and unlocking action is controlled by carefully angled surfaces on the bolt carrier assembly. The weapon fires from an open bolt.

The machine gun feeds from the left-hand side from a segmented, open-link metallic belt (each segment holds 50-rounds). Two combined belts (linked by cartridge), containing a sum total of 100 rounds are stored in a metal container resembling a drum, attached to the base of the receiver or can simply be fed by a loose belt without a drum magazine with a longer desired length rather than only 100 rounds if need be. The feed system is operated by a roller connected to the reciprocating bolt carrier assembly and the belt is pulled during the rearward motion of the bolt carrier. Noteworthy is that the drum magazine's design flaw is the fact that it is unreliable in dirty conditions and can become clogged with filth and other natural elements if they enter the magazine.

During its service life, the weapon was modernized several times. Initially, the gas block was modified as was the rear sight, where the windage adjustment knob for the rear sight was moved to the left side of the notch. Later, the RPD was modified with a non-reciprocating cocking mechanism with a folding charging handle (replacing the fixed charging handle connected to the bolt carrier) that does not move during firing. The feed port received a dust cover, which when open, serves as a feeding ramp for the ammunition belt. This version of the light machine gun was produced mainly in China and Poland. A further modified variant (sometimes referred to as the RPDM) includes an extended gas cylinder and a recoil buffer mechanism in the stock. Late production RPD variants also had the fixed drum attachment removed (instead, the ammunition container was “hung” from the feed port cover) and feature a folding cleaning rod, that is stored in the weapon’s butt (in the Chinese Type 56-1 variant).