MANUFACTURER(S): Tula Arms - Russia
ACTION: Gas-Operated; Rotating Bolt; Dual-Feeding
CALIBER(S)*: 5.45x39mm (surface)
SIGHTS: Iron Front and Rear; Optional Optics
Detailing the development and operational history of the ASM-DT (AAR) Amphibious Assault Rifle.
Entry last updated on 10/3/2017.
Authored by Staff Writer. Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com.
The ASM-DT was developed as a combination assault rifle / underwater weapon to serve specialist Russian forces (these elements known as "frogmen"). The practice of underwater weapons is not a new one to Russian special forces for, during the latter half of the Cold War, Soviet operatives relied on the APS "Underwater Assault Rifle" which appeared in 1975. The weapon was a large, cumbersome system but became a proven underwater weapon. Its dual nature design also allowed for firing on land though its smoothbore barrel and dart-like projectile suffered accuracy. Additionally, barrel wear was drastically increased. Instead, operatives began favoring the earlier "SPP-1" underwater pistol series for underwater work and carried their trusty Kalashnikov AK-74 assault rifles for surface work - the obvious detriment being that operatives were now forced to carry two weapons into battle.
Due to the limitations of the APS line, there was a long standing requirement for a truer dual-purpose weapon that offered equal lethality whether used underwater or on land. Design work on a new weapon to fulfill this requirement fell to Professor Yuri Danilov who, throughout the 1990s, devised an all-new approach to meet the requirement. It was decided to provide the new weapon with a dual-feed system in which one feed accepted the Soviet 5.45x39mm cartridge (as in the AK-74 rifle) for land-based work and the other feed accepted the 5.45x39mm MGTS projectile for underwater firing. The underwater projectile utilized a dart-like body for basic piercing and was originally developed by Vladimir Simonov for the preceding APS rifle. In the earlier gun, the barrel could be forged as smoothbore but it was this quality that led to reduced accuracy for surface actions. The new weapon - christened as "ASM-DT" - was given a rifled barrel to suit both underwater and out of the water action with the barrel featuring specially designed channels to help drainage for land-based firing. A typical gas-operated/rotating bolt action was used for both ammunition types regardless of firing environment.
Beyond its unique feed mechanism, the ASM-DT was largely a conventional automatic weapon given a rectangular receiver with a general form not unlike the famous Kalashnikov line of assault weapons. The pistol grip/trigger unit was underslung at the usual position under the receiver while the shoulder stock became a lightweight, two-strut skeletal structure with a padded butt for some comfort. The shoulder stock was designed to fold over the receiver along a hinge for a more compact profile. The dual-feed/dual-magazine design, appearing somewhat cumbersome due to its depth and odd shape, allowed for 30 rounds of 5.45x39mm cartridges to be carried along with 26 x underwater darts. Unlike the APS before it, the ASM-DT was developed with modern support features for tactical accessories like optics / aimers, a fore-grip, a sound suppressor, bayonet, and Under-Barrel Grenade Launcher (UBGL).
As far as is known, the ASM-DT is still an active component of modern Spetsnaz special forces. Its use in actual combat has become a closely-guarded secret over its decades-long use. The gun has been manufactured at the legendary Tula Arms arsenal.