MANUFACTURER(S): RomArm; Regia Autonoma pentru productia de Tehnica Militara (RATMIL) - Romania
OPERATORS: Paraguay; Romania
ACTION: Gas-Operated; Rotating Bolt; Selective-Fire
SIGHTS: Iron Front and Rear
Detailing the development and operational history of the Pusca Automata Model 1986 (PA md. 86) Assault Rifle / Assault Carbine / Light Machine Gun (LMG).
Entry last updated on 8/1/2017.
Authored by Staff Writer. Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com.
Prior to the fall of the Soviet Union (1922-1991) and the end of communist Romania (1989), the Romanian Army moved on adopting a new, all-modern Kalashnikov-based assault rifle for standard issue to its infantry force. Design work was handled by Romtechnica with manufacture out of RomArm S.A. (Cugir). The weapon became an 8.15lb long gun chambered for the 5.45x39mm cartridge and known as the "Pusca Automata Model 1986". A gas-actuated action with rotating bolt function was retained as was feeding from a 30-round curved detachable box magazine.
The shift to the smaller 5.45mm cartridge was in accordance to the Soviet push to standardize the new round of 1974 and move away from the tried-and-true, though decidedly larger and heavier 7.62x39mm cartridge common to Kalashnikov rifles (this was similar to the change from 7.62mm to 5.56mm seen in the West).The Romanian version incorporated some carry-over design elements from the original AK-47 while instituting some proven qualities of the modernized AK-74 derivative as well as the AKM (both detailed elsewhere on this site). The rest of the weapon was finalized to better suit Romanian Army requirements through and through and included a vertical foregrip as standard and inherent support for an Under-Barrel Grenade Launcher (UBGL) component. A three-round burst mode was also included as was a side-folding metal stock (folding over the left side of the receiver). The folded, skeletal stock reduced the overall length of the weapon which made it suitable for issue to airborne troopers and other space-strapped infantry elements like vehicle crews. There was also broader tactical accessories support.
As can be expected, a standardized frontline service rifle like the Model 1986 served as the basis for several major variants to form a complete family line of automatic weapons. This included a dedicated carbine form and a Light Machine Gun (LMG) - the former became the PA Model 1986 "Cu Teava Scurta" and was inherently shorter due to a reduced barrel length while the latter became the PA Model 1993 which incorporated a carrying handle, barrel change feature, reinforced receiver and bipod support assembly.
The export version of the Model 1986 Assault Rifle was designated as "AIMS-74". The rifle was also introduced into the civilian firearms market under various names.
The Model 1986 family of guns has seen service in the Bosnian and Kosovo wars of the 1990s as part of the peacekeeping Romanian presence in those hotspots. It has seen combat exposure in the Afghanistan and Iraq theaters due to the Romanian involvement there as well.