AS silent assault rifle
The 9 mm AS silent assault rifle (also referred to as the Val or 6P30) can trace its origins back to the time when Gary Powers was shot down with his U-2 reconnaissance aircraft over the former USSR in May 1960. Among his captured equipment was a silenced pistol which so impressed those examining it that a requirement for a similar Soviet weapon was issued. The captured pistol was examined by the Central Institute for Precision Machinery Construction (TSNIITOCHMASH) at Klimovsk, leading to the development of a series of silenced weapons by a team of designers including G Petropavlov, Yu Krulov, V Sabelinikov, A Neougodev, A Deryagin, A Khinikadze, I Kas'yanov, P Serdyukov, V Petrov and V Levchenko. They pioneered the development of the theory, design technique and creation of silent weapons and ammunition within Russia. Included in this series are two silenced rifles, the AS (or Val - Rampart or Shaft) and the VSS (or Vintorez - Thread Cutter - see following entry). Both these weapons are based on the receiver of the MA sub-machine gun (qv) and differ in detail, especially relating to the ammunition. The AS fires the 9 × 39 mm SP-6 cartridge while the SP-5 is intended to be used with the VSS. The designers of the AS regard it not as a weapon but as a `complex', a term encompassing not just the rifle, but the special cartridge as well.
The 9 mm AS silenced assault rifle uses a modified Kalashnikov action - a gas operated rotating bolt - allied to an integral silencer assembly to provide a very low noise level allied to far greater range and penetrating power than is usual with silent weapons. The cartridge is the special 9 × 39 mm SP-6 round with a rimless necked case, firing a heavy 250 grain bullet at a muzzle velocity below the speed of sound. The weapon is capable of selective single shot or automatic fire without sustaining damage to the sound suppressor.
The suppressor used with both the AS and the VSS relies on a dual-chamber principle. As the propellant gases produced after firing a cartridge pass down the barrel they can escape through specially designed barrel perforations to enter the first chamber. Inside the chamber the expanding gases lose pressure and heat prior to passing through a series of mesh screens which break up the gas stream still further before passing them out into the outer portions of the suppressor. The resultant sound signature is far less than that from an unsuppressed rifle and from even a short distance away cannot be recognised as the discharge of a rifle.
The rifle has a short forestock and a side-folding tubular steel skeleton butt. A built-in sight bracket on the left side of the receiver will mount any RFAS optical or electro-optical sight, including the PSO-1 used on the Dragunov SVD 7.62 mm sniper rifle or the 1PN52-1 night sight with a magnification of ×3.46. Iron sights are also provided.
The 20-round magazine carries a unique series of indentations to provide tactile identification and prevent confusing this magazine with other, similar, Kalashnikov pattern magazines. The AS can also use the 10-round box magazine of the VSS rifle.
The 9 x 39 mm SP-5 Ball and SP-6 armour piercing rounds were developed to provide optimum terminal ballistics at the subsonic velocities required to optimise sound suppressor effectiveness. The SP-6 and the less expensive PAB-9 9 x 39 mm were specifically designed to defeat body armour up to Class III at ranges up to 400 m.
Cartridge: 9 × 39 mm SP-5, SP-6, PAB-9
Operation: gas, selective fire
Locking: rotating bolt
Feed: 10- or 20-round box magazine
Weight: with empty magazine and without sights, 2.5 kg; with NSP-3 night sight, 5.7 kg
Length: butt folded, 650 mm; butt extended, 875 mm
Muzzle velocity: 280-290 m/s
Rate of fire: cyclic, 800-900 rds/min
Effective rate of fire: semi-automatic, 30 rds/min; automatic, 60 rds/min
Max effective range: day, 400 m; night, 300 m
2 Zavodskaya Street, Klimovsk 142181, Moscow Region, Russia.
Rosoboronexport Federal State Unitary Enterprise
21 Gogolevsky Boulevard, 119865 Moscow, Russia.
In production. Offered for export sales.
RFAS Army, special forces and Internal Ministry personnel.
Photos by TJ Gander
Picture and Information from: PIERANGELO TENDAS