On November 30, 2020, in an interview with RIA Novosti reporters, Bekkhan Ozdoev, who holds the post of industrial director of the weapons complex of the Rostec state corporation, spoke about promising models of Russian weapons. Among other things, data were announced on the progress of work on the new Ugolyok sniper complex for the Russian military.
According to Bekkhan Ozdoev, work is currently underway in Russia to manufacture prototypes of a new sniper complex, after which the assembled rifles will be handed over for preliminary tests. According to Rostec’s plans, state tests of the Ugolyok sniper complex should begin at the end of 2021.
What is known about Ugolyok sniper rifles
The development of the Ugolyok sniper complex has been underway in our country over the past several years. Three domestic companies, which are part of the Rostec state corporation, are working on the creation of new sniper rifles for the army. These are the Kalashnikov concern (Izhevsk), TsNIITOCHMASH (Klimovsk / Podolsk) and TsKIB SOO (Tula).
New rifles are being developed by order of the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation. Evaluation and comparative tests of new models at the plant in Klimovsk began back in 2019. Information about this appeared (including in the newspaper of the enterprise TsNIITOCHMASH “Klimovsky gunsmith”) in April 2019.
It is believed that work on a new sniper complex in Russia began after the military did not adopt the Accuracy high-precision sniper complex. As part of work on this topic, two rifles VSK “Tochnost-8.6” and VSK “Tochnost-7.62” were created.
Rifles within the ROC “Tochnost” were created on the basis of the ORSIS T-5000 sniper rifle of the industrial group “Promtechnologii”. At the same time, in the course of improvements to the design of the model, more than 210 different changes were made (compared to the original version). The created rifles received an effective firing range of up to 1500 meters.
© Source: cniitm.ru
At the same time, the “Precision” rifles remained a product with the use of foreign-made components. This fact did not prevent the introduction of high-precision weapons into the armament of the Russian power structures. It was reported that these rifles in September 2017 were adopted by the FSB, FSO and the Russian Guard. In 2018, the head of Rostec, Sergei Chemezov, told reporters that deliveries of the Rosgvardia rifle had already begun.
At the same time, the Russian military refused to purchase this complex due to the presence of foreign components. It was then that new development work began within the framework of the “Coal” theme.
As part of the ROC Ugolyok, the Russian Ministry of Defense expects to receive modern high-precision sniper rifles that can hit targets at distances greater than those available to SVD rifles. The latter is designed for effective shooting at a distance of 500-800 meters. The new rifles should ensure confident defeat of the enemy at distances of more than 800 meters.
At the same time, the use of a new powerful cartridge of 8.6 mm caliber will allow hitting targets in any modern personal protective equipment. Opinions differ about whether completely new rifles will replace the SVD troops (created back in the 1960s). In particular, the magazine “Kalashnikov” believes that the new rifles, which are being created within the framework of the ROC “Ugolyok”, will eventually replace all modifications in the SVD troops.
Rifles ORSIS T-5000 “Precision”. © Photo: Vitaly V. Kuzmin / Vitalykuzmin.net
In turn, in February 2019, the general director of TsNIITOCHMASH Albert Bakov told Izvestia reporters that new sniper rifles are not considered as a replacement for SVD. According to him, at the distances at which the SVD operates – up to 800 meters, its capabilities are quite enough. Over the years of production and operation, the weapon has been brought to perfection.
You can spend billions of rubles on a project for a new rifle of a similar class and do nothing. At the same time, the SVD works perfectly at distances of 500-800 meters. The rifle can be thrown, you can row it. Probably, the optics can be improved on the SVD. But in general, it is better not to make this weapon, as Albert Bakov noted last year.
Russian components and NATO calibers
Since the new high-precision sniper complex is being created in the interests of the Russian Ministry of Defense, it will not have foreign components. This is a very important requirement from the military. In an interview with RIA Novosti, Bekkhan Ozdoev stressed that
Rostec is systematically working to reduce dependence on the supply of various foreign components, small arms are no exception in this matter.
The main feature and difference between “Ugolok” and “Accuracy” will be the use of exclusively components and materials, sights and ammunition of Russian production when creating rifles,
ꟷ noted Ozdoev.
Earlier, Igor Nekrasov, who holds the post of chief designer of combat equipment at TsNIITOCHMASH, said in an interview with RIA Novosti that
As part of the work on the Ugolyok design and development project, it is planned to develop new gunpowder and cartridges, since the sniper complex is not only a rifle, but also optical sights, as well as ammunition.
It is curious that for the new models of Russian sniper weapons, the military chose two standard NATO calibers of ammunition. New Russian powder and cartridges will be developed specifically for rifles, which will be presented in two popular NATO calibers: 7.62×51 mm (.308 Win) and 8.6×70 mm (.338 Lapua Magnum).
This ammunition in the world has long been a kind of standard for high-precision sniper weapons. At the same time, the choice of the Russian Ministry of Defense is rather conservative.
The magazine “Kalashnikov” notes that taking into account the emerging trends and world experience, the selected calibers already look like an attempt to catch up with yesterday. Emphasizing at the same time that in case of successful completion of work on the Ugolyok sniper complex, nothing should prevent Russian designers from adapting the created sniper platforms for other, more promising types of ammunition. True, such work will invariably be associated with the attraction of additional financial investments and time costs for development.
Three developers must ensure competition
Three companies are currently working on the creation of a new sniper complex for the Russian army. Each of them will have to present two versions of the rifle: one each chambered for .308 Win and .338 Lapua Magnum cartridges. Thus, for state tests at the end of 2021, if everything goes according to the planned scenario, six new sniper rifles will be allowed – two from each enterprise.
The involvement of three domestic companies in the creation of a promising sniper complex should increase healthy competition and facilitate the selection of the most promising small arms.
Microwave rifle chambered for .338 Lapua Magnum. Source: all4shooters.com
Concern “Kalashnikov” in the framework of the ROC “Ugolyok” presents its high-precision sniper rifles Chukavin (SHF), built on the same base. At the same time, the most successful in the capital of Udmurtia are working on rifles in the caliber of 7.62 mm. These works have been carried out quite actively over the past years. Civilian versions of the new Izhevsk microwave rifle are already available to consumers.
At the same time, the Kalashnikov weapons magazine notes that it will take some time before the problems with the new rifle are completely resolved. And the rapid scaling of the microwave to a caliber of 8.6 mm at this stage of work seems unlikely. Kalashnikov journalists are confident that Izhevsk will face the problem of scaling their relatively crude microwave platform for such a powerful ammunition.
In this regard, the Tula sniper rifle OTs-129 looks more promising, which initially has a more rigid architecture and does not have dubious design and technological solutions. Like the SHCh rifle, the Tula rifle, developed by the TsKIB SOO gunsmiths, is available in a civilian version.
Commercial sales of the Tula MTs-566 self-loading rifle, created on the basis of the OTs-129, were supposed to begin in 2020. The civilian version of the MC-566 is available with a magazine for 10 rounds, while the manufacturer claims an accuracy of less than one arc minute at a distance of 100 meters. It is known that the rifle will be presented to customers in the caliber 7.62×51 (.308Win). Barrel length – 600 mm. Rifle length – 1190 mm. Weight – 5 kg. Effective firing range – 1000 meters. (You can read more about the microwave and OTs-129 rifles in the materials on our website).
Rifle MC-566 under the cartridge 7.62×51
It is curious that at present practically nothing is known about the samples of TsNIITOCHMASH, which are being created within the framework of the Ugolyok ROC. The enterprise from Klimovsk does not disclose any details about the rifles, except that it conducted evaluative and comparative tests at the enterprise in 2019.
If everything goes according to the scenario planned and announced by representatives of Rostec, then six new sniper rifles chambered for 7.62×51 mm and 8.6×70 mm cartridges will be ready for state tests by the end of 2021.
And already in 2022, based on their tests, the winning rifles can be adopted by the Russian army. Then their mass production can begin.