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The Russians Plan To Replace the PKM With The PKP “Pecheneg”

PKP "Pecheneg" By Vitaly Kuzmin

The Russian military’s march into the 21st Century as they beef up the capabilities of their forces with better equipment continues. So far, they have unveiled the Armata Tank, working on a 5th generation stealth fighter, and improving the equipment of their Army, such as adopting the AK-12 as the new assault rifle and more investment in warfighting equipment.

As part of the ongoing modernization they announced that they will be replacing upgrading their infantry support weapons, in this case replacing the venerable PKM with the more modern PKP “Pecheneg”. Not exactly a weapon designed in the 21st Century as it was developed at the end of the 20th Century. As an improved version of the PK Machine Gun, the Pecheneg has already seen action in various wars that the Russian Army or surrogates of Russia have been involved in since the Second Chechen War.

Army Recognition reports about this planned upgrade:

Russian Armed Forces will have Kalashnikov 7.62mm PKM machine gun replaced by modern PKP Pecheneg (Russian designation: 6P45) machineguns, according to a source in Russian defense industry.

“Kalashnikov PKM machinegun is one of the best machineguns in the world available for both dismounted soldiers and various armoured vehicles, including main battle tanks (MBT). It uses widespread and extremely effective Soviet 7.62x54R mm cartridge and has reliable belt-feeding system. As of early 2016, PKM remains the organic machinegun of Russian Armed Forces in both bipod and tank configuration. At the same time, TSNIITochMash scientific-research institute has developed PKP Pecheneg machinegun intended to replace the ageing PKM,” the source said.

He pointed out that PKM issued to Soviet/Russian Armed Forces in huge quantities would remain the main machinegun in the year to come. “We suppose that the process of PKM by Pecheneg replacement will be finished in the early 2020 to full extent,” he pointed out.

For those who remained attached to the PKM, which entered service in 1969, the PKM will still be around whilst the process of upgrade is ongoing. Most probably, the PKM will be in stockpiles to be used in reserve in case the Motherland has to go war again and the whole population is called upon for its defense.

As for an airsoft version of the PKP “Pecheneg”, airsoft players will have to wait until 2017 when LCT Airsoft finally release their airsoft version of the automatic support weapon.  LCT Airsoft announced that they are working on it in April 2016 as reported here.

PKP "Pecheneg" photos in this article are owned by Vitaly Kuzmin.