what sniper rifles can replace the legendary SVD

TSNIITOCHMASH company has started the production of prototypes of a new sniper rifle created within the framework of the Ugolyok project. Weapon tests will begin in 2022. Project Ugolyok rifles are chambered for .308 Winchester (7.62 × 51 mm) and .338 Lapua Magnum (8.6 × 70 mm) calibers. The work is being carried out by order of the Russian Defense Ministry. A distinctive feature of the new rifles will be the complete absence of imported parts. According to experts, in the event of successful tests, the Ugolyok project rifles can in the future replace the legendary SVD.

The Podolsk enterprise TSNIITOCHMASH (part of Rostec) has begun manufacturing prototypes of the new Ugolyok sniper rifle, testing of which will begin next year. TASS was told about this in the press service of the state corporation.

“At present, prototypes of sniper systems are being manufactured for preliminary tests. State tests are scheduled to begin in 2022, ”the statement reads.

It is noted that the rifle will be produced in two versions: chambered for the .308 Winchester caliber (7.62 × 51 mm) and the more powerful .338 Lapua Magnum caliber (8.6 × 70 mm). During its development, exclusively domestic materials and components are used.

“Realize Your Full Potential”

According to the publication “Military-Industrial Courier”, “Ugolyok” may eventually replace the legendary Dragunov sniper rifle (SVD).

SVD uses cartridges of 7.62 × 54 mm caliber. It was adopted by the Soviet army back in 1963. In addition to the CIS countries, this rifle is also used in dozens of countries, including the Czech Republic, Finland, Iran, Iraq, Cuba, North Korea, Romania and Poland.

In addition, on the basis of the SVD, the Chinese Type 79 and Type 85 rifles were designed.

Since its adoption, the SVD has been repeatedly modernized and produced in various modifications. In particular, for the needs of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, an SVU was created – a shortened version of the SVD. The SVDS rifle was developed for the airborne troops.

  • A soldier shoots from a Dragunov sniper rifle
    RIA Novosti © Vitaly Timkiv

In the 2010s, the SVDK rifle also appeared. It was designed to effectively defeat enemy manpower using modern means of protection or inside armored vehicles.

The SVD direct fire range is 350 m when firing at a head figure 30 cm high, at a chest figure 50 cm high – 430 m and at a running figure 150 cm high – 640 m.

The PSO-1 sight is designed for firing up to 1.3 thousand meters, however, at such a range from the SVD, you can effectively shoot only at a group target or conduct harassing fire.

According to analysts, SVD has become popular in Russia and the world due to its efficiency, reliability and unpretentiousness. However, as experts note, by now there is still a need to replace the SVD.

“Sooner or later, equipment becomes obsolete, ammunition and protective equipment change. Now there are new generation body armor that successfully stop a bullet fired by SVD. Therefore, it is necessary to improve the means of fire suppression, including sniper rifles. In addition, it is necessary to increase the firing range, ”military expert Alexei Leonkov explained in an interview with RT.

In turn, the editor-in-chief of the Kalashnikov. Weapons, ammunition, equipment “Mikhail Degtyarev noted that caution should be exercised in the matter of replacing the SVD.

“The need is ripe, but the replacement of the SVD with a new rifle must be approached carefully, haste is unacceptable. It is necessary to realize the full potential that domestic gunsmiths have at the moment, “he said in a conversation with RT.

Import substitution course

Several years ago, two rifles were considered as a replacement for the SVD: VSK “Tochnost-8.6” and VSK “Tochnost-7.62”. They were created on the basis of the ORSIS T-5000 sniper rifle of the industrial group “Promtechnologii”.

The effective firing range of these rifles reaches 1.5 thousand meters.

Rifle T-5000
RIA Novosti © Evgeny Biyatov

In 2017, they were adopted by the FSB, FSO and the Russian Guard. However, the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation refused to purchase this weapon due to the presence of imported components in it. According to experts, the military department has traditionally more stringent requirements for contractors in the use of foreign spare parts.

“The barrels and some other elements of these rifles are made from steel imported from abroad. The Ministry of Defense quite rightly raised the issue of the need for import substitution of materials of foreign origin, ”explained Mikhail Degtyarev.

As a result, separate semi-automatic sniper rifles began to be developed for the RF Armed Forces as part of the Ugolyok R&D project. One of the main requirements for these rifles is that all parts of the weapon must be produced on the territory of Russia.

“We are systematically reducing our dependence on supplies of foreign components. Small arms are no exception. The main feature of Ugolk is the use of only domestic materials and components, ammunition and sights in its creation, “Bekkhan Ozdoev, industrial director of the Rostec armament complex, told RIA Novosti in an interview with RIA Novosti in the fall of 2020.

According to experts, the use of an 8.6 mm caliber cartridge will effectively hit targets in any modern personal protective equipment.

“.308 Winchester and .338 Lapua Magnum are good base calibers, pushing off from which you can further develop the sniper direction in terms of the calibers used in any direction. I would like to note that calling them NATO is not entirely correct – they are simply used by the armies of NATO countries as well, ”Degtyarev says.

According to media reports, three companies are working on the Ugolyok R&D project at once, each of which will have to present two variants of a sniper rifle – one chambered for .308 Win, and the other chambered for .338 Lapua Magnum.

In addition to TSNIITOCHMASH, the Kalashnikov concern (Izhevsk) and TsKIB SOO (Tula) are working on this task.

Kalashnikov is working on the Chukavin sniper rifle (SHF), which has already been presented at the Army-2017 exhibition, and Tula gunsmiths are developing a product with the factory designation OTs-129. The company TSNIITOCHMASH has not yet demonstrated its product or its prototype.

According to Mikhail Degtyarev, the specialists of the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation have a difficult job to do.

“The new sniper rifle, like the SVD at one time, will be put into service for decades to come. Therefore, the military will need to very carefully analyze the results of comprehensive tests to which all participants in the competition will be subjected, ”the analyst concluded.

Author: Alexey Latyshev, Elizaveta Komarova
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