Will Russia Export Underwater Machine Guns?


Earlier this fall, the Russian arms manufacturer Tula Instrument Design Bureau unveiled what it said was the first machine gun that could be used on land or underwater.

The Tula-based company, which has been making precision weapons for almost a century, displayed its so-called ADS amphibious assault rifle in what looked like an expensive fish tank at the Interpolitex 2013 arms show in October in Moscow.

News reports said the weapon would soon be in the hands of Russian special forces and also available to international commandos. While the gun has apparently won orders from customers abroad, it’s unclear how many deals the state arms exporter, Rosoboronexport, has actually inked. Sales to specific countries weren’t immediately publicized.

The ADS relies on a specially designed cartridge and longer bullets for use underwater.

On land, the rifle shoots standard 5.45mm x 39mm rounds at a rate of 800 shots a minute and with a range of 500 meters, according to a report by RT, the Russia media organization previously known as Russia Today. The performance is similar to the AK-47, also known as the Kalashnikov, on which the ADS is based.

Underwater, it fires bullets measuring 53.5mm long from a slightly larger cartridge and has a range of about 25 meters at a depth of 30 meters, according to RT. A video of the event doesn’t actually show the amphibious assault rifle firing rounds in a submerged environment.

The weapon may be of use to Russia’s Spetsnaz special forces, who have historically relied on separate rifles for land- and sea-based missions.

Nikolay Komarov, a Tula official, alluded to such when he said, “Until now underwater fighters were compelled to use two types of weapon – for use underwater and the Kalashnikov for overland firing. Now it is only necessary to replace the ammunition magazine,” according to RT.

While its international market is likely small, the rifle may also be of interest to commandos or security personnel defending underwater infrastructure.

About the Author

Brendan McGarry
Brendan McGarry is the managing editor of Military.com. He can be reached at brendan.mcgarry@military.com. Follow him on Twitter at @Brendan_McGarry.

11 Comments on "Will Russia Export Underwater Machine Guns?"

  1. They will offer it BUT would not sell hardly at all most want awesome AK series of rifles.

  2. Didn't they already make this in a non bull pup AK version the ASM-DT or something.

  3. yawn.Really? WTFF?

  4. "Underwater, it fires 53.5mm bullets …" That's one big bullet!

  5. I love bull pup rifles but I have never seen any cartridge able to work under water, Those guys at myth busters proved that just about every cartridge known to us today will stop in water.
    SHOW ME!

  6. This is BS. First its not a machine gun, its a carbine.

    Second, any modern rifle/pistol will fire underwater but not cycle reliably. And instedd of firing a 49 grain projectile it will be pushing over a thousnd grain bullet equivelent (water volumn that has to be pushed out of the barrel. You better hit the target with the first shot because there won't be a second one, The damned thing will push you all over the place.

  7. I suspect they mean a 5.35 mm underwater projectile. A 53.5 mm projectile would be just over 2 inches in diameter, and would not fit into the weapon in the picture. It would be nice if the reporters or editors actually looked at the numbers when proofreading the articles.

  8. Guys, they said the bullet is 53.5mm long, meaning it fires 5.45×53.5 instead of the usual 5.45×39. A longer bullet profile and different boattailing would drastically improve the underwater aerodynamics of the bullet.

  9. How would a 5.45×53.5 cartridge fit in a chamber, let alone a magazine, designed for 5.45×39?

  10. The actual projectile appears to be another dart design which would cut way down on the water resistance. The projectile also extends almost to the base of the shell casing.

    The bullet length is 53.5 mm compared to an overall cartridge length of 57mm.

  11. watched the video and must say I'd like to get my hands on the rifle being assembled in it. The short barrel dropped in and snapped in place. How great would it be to easily drop in barrels of different lengths according to mission/home defense/hunting needs instead of having to buy a second gun or upper.

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