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Kalashnikov RPK-16

Squad Automatic Weapon (SAW) [ 2018 ]

The Kalashnikov RPK-16 was unveiled in a Moscow-based exhibition during September 2016 - it is intended to succeed the Soviet-era RPK weapons.

Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 03/15/2022 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site.

In infantry-level combat, many different weapon types come into play - automatic rifles, carbines, semi-automatic pistols, edged weapons, grenades and the like. There has always been thought given to expanding the firepower inherent in the infantry squad and this has eventually led to the development of portable machine guns fulfilled by various lightweight systems and "Squad Automatic Weapons" - or "SAWs". The SAW is unique in that it features the suppression capabilities of a true machine gun yet is chambered for a smaller, assault-style intermediate cartridge (as opposed to a full-powered rifle cartridge). While this reduces engagement ranges and penetration values at range, it provides the infantry squad with a weapon offering voluminous fire - the operator also being able to carry more ammunition into battle.

The "RPK-16" is being developed by modern Russian industry to provide a successor for the ages-old RPK-74 series Light Machine Gun (LMG) family of Cold War origin. The RPK-74, based on the Kalashnikov AK-74 assault rifle, was introduced in 1974 and was designed around the 5.45x39mm cartridge.

The RPK-16 follows suit in that it fires the 5.45x39mm intermediate cartridge. The weapon, weighing some six kilograms, is fed by way of a 30-round detachable box magazine or a 96-round hard drum. Overall length is 1,075mm and there are two barrel lengths to suit the mission need - 370mm and 550mm. The weapon ranges out to 800 meters. Sections of Picatinny rail - over the receiver, under the forend and along the sides of the forend - add modern flair and expand the tactical value of the system in allowing installation of various optics fits, a foregrip (or bipod assembly) and other tactical accessories. The muzzle has a slotted flash hider / suppressor and protrudes from under the gas cylinder seated over the barrel. The stock is of a collapsible design (similar in appearance to the AR-15/M16 style) to help decrease the weapon's profile when on-the-march or in close-quarters fighting.©MilitaryFactory.com
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Service Year

Russia national flag graphic


Squad Automatic Weapon (SAW)

Kalashnikov Group (Rostec) - Russia
(View other Arms-Related Manufacturers)
National flag of Russia Russia
(OPERATORS list includes past, present, and future operators when applicable)
Automatic Function
Features a mechanical function to automate the firing action.
Fire Support
Capable of suppressing enemy elements at range through direct or in-direct fire.

Overall Length
1,076 mm
42.36 in
Barrel Length
550 mm
21.65 in
Empty Wgt
13.23 lb
6.00 kg

Iron Front and Rear; Optional Optics.


Gas-Operated; Long-Stroke Piston

Long-Stroke Piston
Slower-moving piston action as part of the breechblock throughout the entire cycle, traveling the whole distance of the bolt's stroke; it is either fixed to the bolt or holds the assembly in some manner.
Gas-operated system is featured, typically involving a gas cylinder and rear-driven piston directing energy to the bolt component.
(Material presented above is for historical and entertainment value and should not be construed as usable for hardware restoration, maintenance, or general operation - always consult official manufacturer sources for such information)



Rounds / Feed

30- or 96-round magazine capacity.
Cartridge relative size chart
*May not represent an exhuastive list; calibers are model-specific dependent, always consult official manufacturer sources.
**Graphics not to actual size; not all cartridges may be represented visually; graphics intended for general reference only.
Max Eff.Range
2,625 ft
(800 m | 875 yd)

RPK-16 - Base Series Designation

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