Ukraine’s Plan to Manufacture US M16 Combat Rifles Hits a Snag Over Ammunition

The Daily Signal | 1/10/2017 | Staff
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KYIV, Ukraine—Kalashnikov assault rifles are among the most iconic symbols of the Soviet military.

Weapons such as the AK-47, the AKM, the AK-74, and the AK-103 are ubiquitous reminders of the Red Army’s legacy among the modern militaries of former Warsaw Pact countries and Soviet client states.

Use - Kalashnikovs - Terrorists - Insurgent - Groups

Also, the contemporary, worldwide use of Kalashnikovs by terrorists and insurgent groups offers grim evidence of the widespread proliferation of Soviet weapons during and after the Cold War.

On Jan. 3, as part of a long-term plan to adopt NATO military standards, Ukraine took a step toward ditching this Soviet military carryover.

Ukroboronprom - Ukraine - Defense - Industry - Conglomerate

Ukroboronprom, Ukraine’s nationalized defense industry conglomerate, announced a partnership agreement between the Ukrainian defense manufacturer Ukroboronservis and the U.S. company Aeroscraft to produce in Ukraine a variant of the U.S. M16 assault rifle.

“The M16 project was conceived some time ago, as the Ukrainian armed forces, border guards, and National Guard will with time switch to NATO standards,” Aeroscraft founder and CEO Igor Pasternak said during a Jan. 3 press conference in Kyiv.

M16 - Ukraine - WAC47

The M16 variant Ukraine will produce is called the WAC47.

The catch: The WAC47 uses Soviet ammunition, not the standard NATO 5.56×45 mm cartridge.

Production - Soviet-caliber - M16s - Plan - Step

However, the Ukrainian production of Soviet-caliber M16s plan is a first step toward adopting NATO military standards—a goal Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko directed the military to achieve by 2020.

The WAC47 can be modified to use NATO ammunition, and “switching calibers” was one of the reasons Ukroboronprom listed to justify its decision to build its M16 variant.

Country - Army - M16 - Production - Ukraine

“For our country and the Ukrainian army, M16 production in Ukraine is a real step towards Euro-Atlantic structures,” Ukroboronprom said in a statement published to its website.

By the time Ukraine fully adopts NATO military standards, its military will have a stockpile of M16s that can be modified to use NATO ammunition.

Ukroboronprom - Interoperability - Problems - Troops

According to Ukroboronprom, interoperability problems Ukrainian troops...
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