Monday, February 06, 2023

Ukrainian Small Arms Advancements

Throughout the conflict within Ukraine, the arsenals have advanced quickly. In 2014, the majority of small arms consisted of Soviet-era Kalashnikov rifle variants utilizing the widely available 7.62x39mm and 5.45x39mm ammunition. Since then, the desire to gain advantages in the conflict has led to adoptions, adaptations, and developments of other small arm platforms amongst Ukrainian forces. Bullpup platforms are now being used to gain the similar effectiveness downrange of standard rifles in a smaller overall platform. The Fort-221 rifle is one such bullpup that is adopted from Israel, but has been adapted by Ukraine to use their standard 5.45x39mm ammunition. Another is the Malyuk, which has been completely designed and developed by Ukraine as a bullpup conversion of the Kalashnikov rifle, with the additional benefits of convertible ammunition types, attachment of suppressors, and optics mounting. 

Western platforms are also being adopted in Ukraine, such as Armalite rifle variants and other commercial small arms that are chambered in the NATO standard 5.56x45mm and 7.62x51mm ammunition. The use of these weapons and ammo makes resupply possible from more countries rather than strictly Eastern Europe, and is another indicator of greater alignment with the west. Furthermore, the variety in ammunition provides a greater advantage against Russian body armor and more versatility in infantry tactics. Thus, small arms of Ukraine are advancing greatly compared to the beginning of the conflict, and their effectiveness on the battlefield could dictate the outcome of the attrition warfare in eastern Ukraine.

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