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Russian defense firm develops more powerful 5.45mm rounds for Kalashnikov assault rifles

The new rounds considerably excel available munitions, according to the Ratnik chief designer
Kalashnikov AK-12 assault rifle Sergey Bobylev/TASS
Kalashnikov AK-12 assault rifle
© Sergey Bobylev/TASS

MOSCOW, March 1. /TASS/. Russia’s TsNIITochMash (part of the state hi-tech corporation Rostec) has developed more powerful 5.45mm rounds and their version with the increased density of fire during its work on the next-generation Ratnik soldier gear, TsNIITochMash General Designer for the Ratnik Outift Igor Nekrasov said on Friday.

As was reported earlier, Russia’s Defense Ministry was considering giving up 5.45mm rounds used in Kalashnikov AK-74, AK-12 assault rifles and other small arms as they had the insufficient piercing power at medium and increased fire ranges.

"As part of the Ratnik experimental design work, the 7N39 and 7N40 rounds have been developed: one with the increased density of fire and the other with the enhanced piercing power," Nekrasov said.

As the chief designer of the Ratnik combat gear specified, "the new 7N39 cartridge pierces the 2P armor plate at a range of 50-70 m while the 7N40 round has increased the density of its fire by 1.5 times compared to the traditional round."

The new rounds considerably excel available munitions, Nekrasov stressed.

The Ratnik chief designer said, however, that previously Russia’s 5.45 mm rounds lagged behind NATO ammunition by the density of single-shot fire and the customer (Russia’s Defense Ministry) had also set the requirement of increasing the round’s armor piercing range.

Ratnik combat gear

The Ratnik is a system of advanced protective and communication equipment, weapons and ammunition. It comprises around 40 protective and life support elements and allows a soldier to get continuously updated information about the situation in the combat area. In addition, the Ratnik includes a self-contained heater, a backpack, an individual water filter, a gas mask and a medical kit.

The second-generation Ratnik combat gear has been arriving for Russia’s ground forces, the Airborne Force and marines since 2016.

Following the results of its combat use, not a single case of piercing the Ratnik’s armor has been registered, TsNIITochMash then-CEO Dmitry Semizorov said earlier.

An advanced Ratnik-3 combat gear with an integral exoskeleton and a helmet visor-mounted target designation system is currently being developed for Russia’s Armed Forces. With the same degree of protection, the Ratnik-3 will be 4 kg lighter than its predecessor.