This new Russian rifle works on land—and underwater

People are usually not naturally outfitted for preventing underwater. Whereas advances in every little thing from scuba tanks to goggles to underwater autos made it potential for individuals to battle beneath the waves, it has nonetheless been laborious to place precise weapons into the fingers of the individuals doing the preventing. Underwater rifles, constructed particularly to launch a projectile by dense water, are one solution to arm a submarine soldier, however they current a separate downside: underwater rifles are ineffective above the floor, and an individual hoping to battle on land might want to carry a second gun.

To assist remedy this distinctive downside, Russia has developed specialised dual-use underwater and above-water rifles. The newest of those is the “dual-medium ADS assault rifle” created by Excessive-Precision Weapons Firm, a part of Russian protection big Rostec. With {a magazine} positioned behind the set off and deal with (the “bullpup”) configuration, the rifle is compact. Its barrel is fitted for five.45x39mm bullets, the identical type generally discovered within the AK-74 rifle and in use the world over at this time. As well as, the ADS can load a cartridge of particular 5.45x39mm bullets designed to fireside solely underwater.

The newest iteration of the ADS rifle appeared on the Worldwide Maritime Protection Present in Saint Petersburg, Russia, held in late June. The design has been within the works for a while, with the ammunition formulated in 2005 and early manufacturing fashions reportedly present process discipline trials in 2009.

The brand new model is now below mass manufacturing, making it a considerably curious weapon. Underwater gunfights are an particularly uncommon sort of fight. Even when they’re undertaken by particular forces greater than common troopers, it’s nonetheless at coronary heart a novel device for a subset of missions. 

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What makes it considerably much less outstanding is that it comes from an extended line of underwater rifles. Most famously, the Soviet Union’s APS underwater rifle was constructed to fireside lengthy metal darts, at a variety of 100 ft at a depth of 16 ft underwater. (With underwater weapons, their vary is strongly affected by depth, reducing as they go deeper.) On land, the weapon was restricted to a variety of about 330 ft, with the large caveat that as a result of the gun’s barrel was not rifled, it was not terribly correct.

That underwater vary, quick even in shallow depths, highlights the sort of preventing a gun like that is good for. It’s a close-range device designed to completely cease an individual or animal close to the diver. Swimming infiltrators, outfitted with explosives that may connect to the hulls of ships, have functioned as saboteurs in wars for many years. “Frogmen,” commandos with scuba gear and flippers (therefore the identify), date again to World Warfare II. 

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A rifle that may cease a frogman underwater in a harbor, or battle off attackers on a dock, is a useful gizmo. It’s also one which may very well be used in opposition to animals educated for army functions, like sea lions, dolphins, and beluga whales. Whereas experiences of precise fight between educated dolphins and armed frogmen are laborious to source, the US Navy did deploy educated dolphins for harbor safety within the Vietnam Warfare. Each the USA and the Soviet militaries educated animals for army porpoises—that’s, functions—all through the Chilly Warfare. Extra lately, in 2019 a beluga whale believed to be educated by the Russian army was found off the coast of Norway. 

Rifles just like the ADS go some solution to making people barely more proficient at surviving fight underwater. Just like the existence of frogmen suggests, it’s a device that brings people one step nearer to being masters of really amphibious warfare. 

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