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.