Ukraine used to be under the thumb part of the Soviet Union back in the day. They got all of the benefits which came with that alliance: a bad economy, long lines at food stores, unfiltered Russian cigarettes, and the AK-47 rifle.

These days Ukraine is attempting to distance itself as much as possible from its former masters and is trying to enter into the NATO alliance. Part of that process includes swapping from the AK-74 rifle currently being used by the Ukranian military to the M16 rifle.

Word comes today that the Ukranian arsenal is now working with NATO allies to start making the Stoner-designed themselves.

The Ukrainian state-run defense concern Ukroboronprom announced a plan to manufacture firearms, such as the M16 assault rifles, in Ukraine in accordance with NATO standards jointly with the US Aeroscraft company, the press service of Ukroboronprom said Tuesday.

“The state concern Ukroboronprom, a part of the state Ukroboronservice company, jointly with the US Aeroscraft company will produce firearms in accordance with NATO standards in Ukraine. The first project will be the M16 assault rifle,” the press release said.

It will be very interesting to see how this transition goes. The AK-74 is manufactured primarily on stamping an riveting machines, easily produced by even unskilled peasants under the worst of conditions.

The M16, on the other hand, is designed to be produced on milling machines and lathes. Swapping from one design to the other is no mean feat and it’s easy to see how things might not go well, at least initially. All I know is that I don’t want to be the one who test fires the first one off the line.

65 Responses to Ukraine to Switch From AK-74 to M16, Produce Their Own Rifles

  1. Personally, I would’ve kept the 74’s. If they are dead set, maybe change the tooling up a bit and make the 74’s in 5.56.

    • The two possibilities are

      1: The change will be gradual, with AK-74s being shifted to rear echelon troops before retirement (or worse, kept as reserve and never gotten to us).
      2: They’ll like the price whatever importer offers for their kits and use the money from that to speed up the transition.

      Hopefully it’s 2.

    • Maybe. Assuming the EU doesn’t block the export. And they’re very very anti gun, as well all know

      And that’s what the entire Ukraine was REALLY about. The real government there was overthrown by pro-EU militants. And that was also what the Crimea ‘annexation was about too. That part of Ukraine has been a semi autonomous republic since the early about ’91. When the legitimate government fell that peninsula involved preexisting legal agreements to leave then joined with Russia a few days later.

      Not too sounds too much likes an intern for RT or something. All I’ve said is well enough enough and has been on Wikipedia for years. And the fact that Ukraine is rearming it’s remaining army all with NATO standard hardware kind of nails home what I said about the situation earlier. I personally expect the EU to make more of a stink about Crimea in the coming years. And we might even have had seen action about in, if Hillary would have won the election. I don’t buy the ‘Russian Agent’ BS about Trump, but he is obviously far more friendly towards them than any previous POTUS.

      • Any previous PotUS? What about the guy who gave them a shitgun of guns and technical stuff with no expectation of getting money back (He’s on the dime)?

        • FINE. Any MODERN President. That better nub-nuts?

          Sorry, didn’t think we needed to be a complete history major over something that’s doesn’t involve this conversion.

      • “When the legitimate ^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H corrupt government fell that peninsula involved preexisting legal agreements to leave then joined with^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H was invaded by Russia a few days later.”

        There, fixed it for ya!

    • Now all that said I’d be ALL over a parts kit or complete semi auto Mil-Surp Vepr Bullpup from the Ukraine! 😮

  2. Take that Duty! Freedom wins again! ЧИКИ-БРИКИ!

    Interesting to see them go with (apparently) a standard US spec M16 instead of a special snowflake custom rifle. Perhaps they saw the problems the British (and Germans… and French… and…) got themselves into.

    • And it’s exactly as politically motivated as it sounds. Be advised however, the winds have shifted. It’s going to take a lot more than a common caliber to alter Ukraine’s historical path.

    • Nice reference to the stalker video game series. Buggy and broken sometimes, but those guys know how to make a fun and challenging experience. The dynamic lighting still looks great today on max settings.

  3. By all means, lets help the Ukrainians along as much as they wish! Anything to troll Putin….
    No. I won’t give him credit for “interfering” with our election: was your vote swayed by the hacking? Do you know anyone’s vote that was? Me neither.

  4. Stoner belongs with the rifle gods. Rest in peace while we wage war. God Speed. F all you all….yeah I’ve been drinking and thinking.

  5. “These days Ukraine . . . is trying to enter into the NATO alliance.”

    And if it does, Russia will take it for what it is — a declaration of war.

    • Ukraine joining NATO would be just as much a provocation to Russia as the Cuban missile crisis was a provocation to the US. Letting Ukraine into NATO would be pants on head retarded. Staying in NATO if they do get in would be dumber.

      Oh a side note… I LIKE unfiltered cigarettes. Don’t knock it if you don’t smoke.

      • Ukraine joining NATO would be like California joining the Warsaw Pact. Putin would invade Ukraine before he lets that happen. That won’t fly (nor will Ukraine join the EU, which is verging on collapse at any rate).

        • California is a part of US. Ukraine is an independent state.

          The Russians might not think so, but you know what? Fuck them.

        • Ukraine was part of Russia for far longer than California has been part of the USA. Ukraine may become a part of Russia again, and California may leave the USA.

    • Exactly. Last time I checked, Ukraine has (for better or worse) been a ‘part’ of Russia for about 1,000 years.

      • Sorry brother. Ukraine is a sovereign nation since July 1990. Perhaps you remember that they were the ones in conflict with Putin and Russian over Crimea which Putin annexed in 2014.

        • Some conflict that was. Putin took Crimea without a single shot fired (well, metaphorically speaking; there were instances of shots fired into the air for intimidation). Ukrainians simply rolled over and decided that they did not want Crimea badly enough to fight for it. Eventually Russians let them all withdrew and the highways were lined with abandoned equipment all along the rout route. It was like 1991 in Kuwait, only entirely peaceful and with pants full of load.

  6. After they say the rifles are in production, I wouldn’t be surprised if a big batch of rifles mysteriously appears in Ukraine that are every bit as good as US rifles.

    Good cover story!

  7. So, maybe there’ll be an influx of cheap, Eastern Euro spec AK74 magazines where mofos aren’t asking $80-150+ for a single goddamn magazine!

    Already have an SLR-104 in the safe, but gahdamn are the “Rifle is Fine” crowd *PROUD* of the ’74 magazines. Wish Magpul would hurry the hell up and release the AK74 PMAGs they’ve been teasing us with for over a year. Sure, they may not do so well under the redonkulous abuse that the youtube AK channels (AKOU, I’m looking at you) put them through, but for the other 99.999999999999% of us that don’t beat the living snot out of our rifles, they’ll be fine.

  8. The AR platform grows, but I think this is more of a political move for better integration of individual units into NATO. It’s obvious the rest of Europe wants Ukraine in NATO, in the EU.

    I still think for armies all over the world, it’s a toss up whether the AK or AR is best.

    • As far as I know, the AK platform is rock solid in severe arctic cold. How does the AR platform perform in severe arctic cold?

    • ” It’s obvious the rest of Europe wants Ukraine in NATO, in the EU.”

      Two problems:

      1) The EU (Germany) cannot afford the subsidies and grants that would be necessary to bring Ukraine up to EU spec. Adding them to the EU without Russian agreement would almost certainly trigger a very ugly response from Russia.

      2) Adding Ukraine to NATO absolutely WOULD trigger a stiff Russian response, probably one that rhymes with “sminvasion”. Since Poland and the UK are the only countries in NATO not named “America” who are even slightly ready to fight, I don’t think that Americans, Brits and Poles should have to die in droves to add Ukraine to NATO.

  9. Good for them.

    If Uncle armed the Iraqi Army with M16/M4 (rather than Eastern Euro POS AKs) over the last decade we would have a marginally better environment in the area over the lasts few years. But AMERICAN when spending American tax $.

      • At least they would have jammed after ISIS pulled them out of the sand. The extra day they spent cleaning them out would have slowed them down at least.

  10. Ukrainian Fort already produces licensed ACE and TAR-21. Not unlike Chinese, Japanese or Germans, QC can be hammerred home, provided hamer is heavy enough.

    However, talks of dispencing with 74 and adopting different assault rifle are nothing new. Proposition to switch to ACE and 5.56 were voiced in 2014, probably before proxy invasion, and led to nothing.

    I understand their idea, though. Selling 74s, even in non-5.45 caliber, requires factory mod to install some RIS, a problem with AK design.

    • A part of the story is that Fort is formed in part because UOP is useless at small arms. It’s like GE deciding to supply rifles and fight FN at a tender. The minuscule amounts make the company’s brass disinterested, and the project turns into a trainwreck of management by the less competent managers, who cannot get assigned to projects more promising for career advancement. One look at Malyuk confirms what we’re dealing with here. Mr. Pasternak probably found a contact at one of UOP’s factories.

      • >>One look at Malyuk confirms what we’re dealing with here.

        Bullshit. Our dear TSKiB has been creating abominations like that for decades. Yet another stillborn bull-pup made by USSR-trained weapon designers is nothing new.

  11. I mean they make AR-15 platform rifles for Russian special forces in Russia I imagine after a couple of issues up front this will go along pretty well. Hopefully under a Trump presidency this means we see a flood of de-milled AK74 kits and surplus ammo hit the US

  12. Ukraine has already been manufacturing AR-15 and AR-10 for a while now, and some of them found their way to the frontlines.

    http://zbroyar.com.ua/carabines/semiautomatic

    From what I’ve heard, though, it’s mostly Z-10 as a DMR. AKs aren’t going away any time soon, no matter what anyone says. It would be stupid for a country at war, and with shortage of guns as it is, to undertake a massive rearmament project.

    • Zbroyar is tiny. It started out in 2004 as a custom shop, known for their bolt actions. They have a long way to go even to match Fort, let alone UOP.

  13. > Last time I checked, Ukraine has (for better or worse) been a ‘part’ of Russia for about 1,000 years.

    You’re wrong, but the reasons are a bit subtle.

    1000 years ago, Ukraine wasn’t a part of Russia, because there was no Russia (or Ukraine, for that matter). There was a single state that included most of what’s today Ukraine, and most of what’s today European part of Russia, settled by a bunch of Eastern Slavic tribes, and ruled by a Varangian (Norse) dynasty. That state was called Kievan Rus, and its capital was in Kiev. So were the most densely populated areas. It’s meaningless to speak of it as “Ukraine being a part of Russia”, because the distinction didn’t really exist back then; but insofar as you could draw the lines (between tribes etc), it was the other way around – what will become Russia was a part of what will become Ukraine…

    Kievan Rus broke apart mostly due to internal feudal strife. Eventually, the Mongols came and conquered most of the eastern parts. Meanwhile, the neighboring Grand Duchy of Lithuania was on the uptick, and conquered the remaining western parts. That point was the genesis of Russians, Ukrainians and Belarusians as three distinct people.

    The parts that went into GDL became what today is Ukraine and Belarus; they actually constituted the majority of the population in GDL, which is why East Slavic became the language of the state there, but still, GDL was a thoroughly European state with a Catholic monarch, and especially after GDL joined Poland in a dynastic union, the whole thing mostly had European cultural influence.

    The parts that were under Mongols became what today is European Russia. They were effectively cut off European politics for a couple centuries, and adopted a lot of practices from their Mongol conquerors, particularly with respect to politics and governance. Eventually the Golden Horde (by then no longer Mongols, but really Central Asian Turkic tribes) was weakened enough that it could be kicked out, and then the strongest feudal ruler, who happened to be the prince of Moscow, united all the liberated lands (i.e. all that wasn’t in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth) under his banner by force. That was the beginning of today Russia.

    Pretty much all of Ukraine was still in the Commonwealth by 1650s (by then for three centuries, so languages have also diverged – thus creating separate Russian and Old Ukrainian/Belarusian languages out of Old East Slavic). However, the Commonwealth was dominated by Catholics due to Polish influence, and eventually the Orthodox cossacks in eastern (i.e. Ukrainian) provinces rebelled. The uprising did well enough, but eventually ran out of steam, and so the cossacks decided to ally themselves with Russia, and declared the Russian tsar as their ruler. A war between Russia and Poland-Lithuania followed, in which Russia was ultimately victorious, and the peace treaty was signed that handed over all of left bank (east of Dniepr) Ukraine, as well as Kiev, to Russia. That was the first time when the entity that was recognizably Ukraine was a part of a distinct entity that was recognizably Russia.

    Belarus, meanwhile, remained in the Commonwealth, which in turn caused further cultural and linguistic split, this time between Ukrainians and Belarusians.

    Right-bank (west of Dnieper) Ukraine was not joined to the Russian Empire until the Second Partition of Poland, in 1793. Even then that wasn’t all of them – the two westernmost provinces of Ukraine, Galicia and Transcarpathia, were a part of Austria-Hungary for several centuries. Russia briefly captured them in WW1, but then lost them in the collapse of the Revolution; Galicia to Poland, and Transcarpathia to Czechoslovakia. USSR ultimately reconquered them again in WW2.

    Thus, no part of what’s today Ukraine was a part of a Russian state (as opposed to an East Slavic state) for more than 350 years, before its independence in 1990s. Even then this only goes for eastern Ukraine; most western provinces were in Russia for 200 years before independence, and the two westernmost provinces were only a part of USSR for 60 years.

  14. Hat tip to Kaban for inspiring this…

    For some degree of newness, armed new arrivals are an invasion, not an insurgency or revolution. I wonder if the Ukrwine gear change could help them prove folks coming in from elsewhere with guns and uniforms.

    I wonder… change your issue gear to be different from the Russian’s n maybe it gets harder for them to sell their incursions n insurgent support as “indigenous.” We issue .556 AR-pattern weapons. Maybe those guys with the AKs aren’t from here. Teally, how many APCs and Howitzers have to drive into your country by accident before it’s an invasion. “Honestly, NATO, it just went off,” “103 times?”

    How many “ethnically Russian” folks seeking self-determination in Crimea – I remember being told that’s what was going on … and the U S “flexibly” going along with the it – were “ethnjcally russian” because that’s where they were born, trained n armed? If you are Ukraine, it might want to identify the invading army as such.

  15. Stupid and ignorant comment by author of this article: “All I know is that I don’t want to be the one who test fires the first one off the line.” Ukraine is not a backward country and is ranked 4th in the world for most educated people. They are a high-tech industry nation and have been building AR-15 and AR-10 type rifles for years through this private company and others: http://zbroyar.com.ua . Their state factories produce high quality firearms as well. Also, Ukraine was a nation long before Russia existed as Russians were Muskovite tribes back when Ukraine was the Kyivan Rus nation existed. The only reason it is called Ukraine which means “on the border of” (Russia) is because the Muskovites stole the name “Rus” from and stated that they were the leaders of the Rus people and later took the name Rus which became Russians so the Kyivan Rus people changed their name to get away from the Muskovites misuse of it. Since that time, Russians have persecuted Ukrainians to destroy their culture and heritage which took place under the tsars and under one of worst genocides under Stalin where he ordered the death of over 8 million Ukrainians from 1932-1933. Stop believing fake RT “News” which features American “celebrity” leftists and spouts still communist Putin propaganda. Also, in Ukraine, although handguns are not legal, you can own any MSR with any “hi cap” magazine.

    • There’s nothing stupid or ignorant about that comment. Not only de-industrialization was rampant in Ukraine in general, UOP in particular is the worst of the Soviet legacy, maintained with government decrees. They can easily forget to heat-treat their barrel extensions. Of course once the assembly line is started up and the QC office is staffed, I could give it a try. But fist off the line? Nope, I’m not shooting it either.

      • You know nothing about Ukraine or their manufacturing and your comment is based on what? Being and internet researcher? I worked with Ukrainians in the defense industry and I speak the language. What’s your experience? Enjoying hearing yourself self talk? Show me the proof that Ukraine made AK-74s which are not heat treated properly or dangerous to fire. I will wait for you to do online searches since you obviously don’t know anyone with any credibility or experience to contact and you certainly don’t have any information except what you make up and post.

    • I smell SALO! You forgot to tell us about the prehistoric “Great Ukrs”, being the original Aryan race! Seriously though, it’s really sad that Ukrainian children are getting brainwashed with the schlock like you posted these days. Can’t find anything real to be proud of?

      “Kievan Rus” (term invented by historians in the 19th century) was not “Ukraine” in any way, shape or form and does, in fact, originate in Novgorod. It was Oleg of Novogorod who captured a minor Khazar trading post that was Kiev and decided to build his capital there, due to its favorable position on the trade route with the Byzantine. Most of the Rus was in modern day Russia, with Vladimir-Suzdal Principality and Novgorod both being the second and third largest/most important in the state. The Tsardom of Moscow, arising out of Vladimir-Suzdal, was a very valid successor state to the Rus. The term “Ukraine” was barely used until the 20 Century, even by guys like Taras Shenchenko and your whole “country” was Lenin’s pet project, with more territory added by Stalin and Khrushchev. Your current flag and dumb russophobia were given to you by Austrians. I feel sorry for you guys and do hope that you come back to your senses soon though.

  16. Nick is giving this news a very strange spin. In reality they UOP is going to make an M4 retool IN 7.62 (!) — probably with the sick banana AR mags. So, with the AK-74 in 5.45 remaining the mainstay of the army, and Fort making Tavor clone in 5.56 as the bright future, the UOP initiative is nothing but an attempt to use the stocks of 7.62 AK rounds, IMHO.

    Now it’s possible that UOP will eventually offer a 5.56 variant as a substitute standard alongside the Tavors. They may even find a certain success if they can make it cheaper.

    I suspect a part of the problem here is the selection of the dumbest possible retelling of the news, which fails to mention the cartridge. Here’s the original at UOP (also never mentions the caliber but at least identifies the parent gun as Aeroscraft WAC47):
    http://ukroboronprom.com.ua/uk/media/ukroboronprom-vyroblyatyme-nativsku-gvyntivku-m16.html

    P.S. Do keep in mind that UOP themselves make a modded AK, including a bullpap under the designator “Malyuk”.

  17. “The AK-74 is manufactured primarily on stamping an riveting machines, easily produced by even unskilled peasants under the worst of conditions.”

    If “unskilled peasants” can make the AK correctly, then why can’t most Americans?

    • You’re exactly right to question that. I was about to say the same. This article is untruthful in many ways.

      The manufacture of AK rifles is more of an art than a science. Making stampings work in a rifle is not easy, and the tooling and record of metallurgy has long been lost to time. The only good AK rifles rolling off the production line anymore are those made on old Soviet tooling (e.g. Arsenal and some domestic Russian manufacture).

      Manufacture of AR rifles is categorically simpler. Milling aluminum is a cakewalk.

      • Oh please, people were being AK receivers in their garages all across America for decades using nothing but jigs, screws, and grease. And it worked perfectly.

  18. > I wonder… change your issue gear to be different from the Russian’s n maybe it gets harder for them to sell their incursions n insurgent support as “indigenous.”

    It’s already easy enough to tell. Many separatists are carrying AK74M, which is recognizably distinct from AK74 with steel stocks (which is the only modification that Ukraine had ever issued).

    > How many “ethnically Russian” folks seeking self-determination in Crimea – I remember being told that’s what was going on … and the U S “flexibly” going along with the it – were “ethnjcally russian” because that’s where they were born, trained n armed?

    Here, you’re barking up the wrong tree. Crimea was majority ethnically Russian ever since it (Crimean Khanate) was conquered by Russia from the Ottomans, because, after expelling the Turks, most settlers sent there were Russian. It was never majority Ukrainian, ever. For that matter, it was never under control of either Russia or Ukraine before that conquest.

    So no, it’s not at all surprising that Crimea voted the way it did. They actually voted in a similar way back in 1991, when Ukraine first declared independence from the USSR, except back then both Russia and Ukraine ignored that vote.

  19. Smart move. The AK is a great rifle, but it is obsolete. Transitioning to the AR platform allows the Ukraine to benefit from the development going on in govt and civilian circles in the USA without having to spend any money themselves. Watching all the different ways the Russians have attempted to attach an optic to the AK leads you to the inescapable conclusion that it is basically past its sell by date.

  20. Has anyone noticed that that stock M4 photo at the top is a US soldier firing a Danish C8… made by Colt Canada… much stars have aligned to get that photo.

    Joking aside, probably some kind of joint training.

  21. You’ve got the order wrong.

    On February 27, 2014, Russian forces invaded Crimea, taking over the Crimean parliament and the ministerial buildings.

    That say dame, the parliament held a vote (in still-occupied building) to hold an independence referendum, and another to replace the prime minister.

    Meanwhile – on that same day – other Russian troops took over the checkpoint that separates Crimea from Ukraine. Over the next few days, they started methodically taking over other military installation, completing that by March 2.

    On March 16, they held a referendum on independence.

    On March 17, they declared independence, at the same time requesting to join Russia. Russia immediately recognized Crimea as an independent state.

    On March 18, a treaty of annexation was signed. On March 19, it was submitted to the Russian parliament for ratification. It was ratified by one chamber on March 20, and and the other on March 21, with Putin signing it into law on the same day.

    Thus, Russians have been occupying Crimea for almost a month by the time it was formally annexed, and all the associated legal procedures were carried out under occupation. Which is a big reason why pretty much no-one recognizes the result of the referendum.

  22. Ukraine was overthrown by Obama who funnelled 8 billion dollars of money to the opposition and sent in mercenary volunteers as well as guns. US Foreign secretary Victoria Nuland helped arm the Neo-Nazi groups like Right Sector and SVOBODA. 5000 white christian Ukrainians died in that war over mere bankers ambitions (Ukraine owed money to the IMF and EU). The whole goal was to steal the Sevastapol base from Russia but it failed.
    Thousands died thanks to Obama’s meddling. Its a terrible thing because Ukraine is a poor state and Putin was planning to forgive Ukrainian debt.

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