Assault rifle M16, which will be produced in Ukraine at enterprises of the SC "UkrOboronProm" – in cooperation with American company “Aeroscraft” – is a modern weapon that unites a long production experience and combat use.
The new assault rifle is to become new fire arms in accordance with the standards adopted in NATO armies. For our country and the Ukrainian army, M16 production in Ukraine is a real step towards Euro-Atlantic structures.
It should be noted that the State Concern "UkrOboronProm" is not the one who answers the question what Ukrainian soldiers are to use in combat, it faithfully and comprehensively perform its duties in accordance with the state defense order. But realizing the fact that the country is facing a global strategic problem: departure from Soviet weapons systems, offers a variety of options to solve this problem effectively. Thus, this path requires years of hard work and balanced approach, and the first steps in this direction are to be taken today.
This work is carried out in all areas of the military-industrial complex. UOP enterprises supply modern Ukrainian army with drones, surveillance systems, new armor, high-precision missile and other weapons, while performing modernization and repair of existing military equipment that can increase our defenders’ combat capability.
Press service of the SC "UkrOboronProm" prepared a special material on WAC-47 that will be produced in Ukraine as a result of the Memorandum of Cooperation between UOP SE "Ukroboronservis" and the American company Aeroscraft.
Ukraine is facing a global task: transition to NATO standards, as opposed to post-Soviet resolution, which appeared as a temporary coercive measure. Every country that has teared itself away from Russia’s orbit, went or is going through this difficult stage, taking many years and demanding great effort. In terms of Kremlin aggression, Ukraine is now facing the same problems and is to decide those as soon as possible and under conditions that are far from ideal.
Ukrainian soldiers are already participating in joint maneuvers with NATO, there are joint teams with Lithuania and Poland; the creation of a similar unit with other NATO countries – Romania and Bulgaria is offered. After all, Ukraine permanently takes part in joint peacekeeping operations.
And in each case, one of the problems is logistics. For example, in the Polish-Lithuanian-Ukrainian brigade Polish soldiers use assault rifle Beryl, caliber 5,56×45, while Ukrainian soldiers use automatic AKM or AKMS caliber 7,62×39.
Ukrainian engineers in Afghanistan faced similar problems, while participating in the ISAF mission. To solve the problem of different standards weapons Ukrainian troops had to use German assault rifles G36, given by Lithuanian soldiers.
And in further Ukraine’s integration to NATO systems, similar problems – not with small arms only, but also with other weapons – will only deepen, if not taken into consideration. Therefore the Concern offers options, allowing avoiding the problems, mentioned above, in future; one of these options – creating assault rifle, based on M16.
Assault Rifle M16 – after many modifications became a reliable and accurate tool of war – is used by dozens of countries.
M16 main peculiarity is design modularity, allowing to create various versions that best meet the needs of the soldiers. This allows switching calibers, increasing or reducing the length of the barrel, changing units of the weapon, from rifle butt and hilt up to the firing mechanism.
This system allows M16 to serve as a compact weapon of small dimensions that best fits for close combat or vice versa: M16 can be used as sniper rifle for infantry, equipped with a longer barrel and optical sight.
M4 is an alternative to M16; it is a shorter version of M16A2. The US Special Operations Command has defined this assault rifle as weapon for all US special operations.
This decision was made by the leadership of the most advanced army in the world that has the largest defense budget, regardless opinions of self-proclaimed "military experts".
Professional army requires professional weapons that can use soldier’s potential on the battlefield in full. Through the use of fasteners of RIS type, it takes a few minutes to equip modern version of M16 assault rifle with collimating or optical sight, night vision devices or thermal imagers, under-barrel grenade launcher, laser pointer system, not to mention the tactical grips or lights.
M16 for Ukrainian army
UOP enterprises will manufacture assault rifle variant, known as WAC-47, based on M16. This weapon has all the advantages of the basic version.
Design modularity allows to mount barrels of different length, depending on requirements: 10.5 ", 11.5", 14.5 ", 18" or 24 ". This allows adjusting the weapon under the individual soldier’s tasks. For example, an infantry sniper can use a long 24-inch barrel, which ensures effective accurate fire at 600 meters, while the short 10.5-inch barrel better meets the requirements for individual compact automatic firearms.
Modular approach allows adapting WAC-47 to different calibers: 5,45×39, 7,62×39, 5.56×45 NATO. As well as the latest ammunition types: 458 SOCOM, powered and heavy cartridge with subsonic bullet, or 6.8 SPC II with high kinetic energy and stopping properties.
Thus, WAC-47 can "work" with the caliber 7,62×39 5,45×39 Ukrainian army is armed with. And if necessary, modular design allows to re-equip assault rifle under 5.56×45 NATO ammunition, which – according to STANAG 4172 standard – is used in all NATO assault rifles.
At the same time, assault rifles versions that use special ammunition and are designed for narrow purpose may be necessary for special operations.
This contributes to "smooth" and more cost-effective transition to the introduction of the new caliber to Ukrainian army, as well as efficient use of existing ammunition stocks, avoiding distribution and logistics problems with new cartridges and minimizing risks.
In turn, Ukrainian soldiers are to gradually receive new NATO assault rifle. According to the plan, the first batch of WAC-47 modification will go into trial operation in the combat units of Ukrainian army, during this time all information on using the riffle in the field will be collected. Gathering feedback from Ukrainian soldiers will enhance necessary changes before mass production starts.
In addition, development of small arms in accordance with NATO standards – in case Ukraine receives lethal weapon from Western partners – will allow more quickly and more effectively use it on the battlefield.
An important aspect in the production of NATO rifle is that it will produced in Ukraine under US government license. The first license for testing and evaluation was received three weeks ago.
Due to this fact UOP SE "Ukroboronservis"- together with the American company "Aeroscraft" – will soon produce small arms by NATO standards in Ukraine.
"This project will enable transition of the Ukrainian Army and industry to NATO standards. Our soldiers will be armed with Ukrainian weapons – this will boost the country’s economy. This means workload for our enterprises, new jobs, tax increase, and technological production increase. In addition, this will be another step in the development of relations with Euro-Atlantic partners, and integrating Ukraine into the global world markets ", – said UOP Deputy Director General for Aircraft Industry and Operations Volodymyr Korobov.
In addition, SC "UkrOboronProm" is ready – in case of state funding for building the ammunition production plant, both Soviet and the NATO caliber. All projects on building the plant are under consideration of the Cabinet. After receiving the funds the project will take 18 months. Creating such a plant – to replace capacities lost due to Russian aggression – will solve a strategic task – ensuring defense capability of Ukraine.
Image sources: the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine, US Army.