M. P.R. in Quebec forwarded this one to me, and amid a week of strange technological stories and blogs, this is one of the strangest. RT (Russia Today) is reporting that Russia has unveiled a new assault rifle, a Kalishnikov that easily fires both out of, and under, water:
Now, we are told by the article, it is no longer necessary to carry one gun for normal use, and another gun for use under water, just change magazines. Oh, and by the way, there's an automatic grenade launcher too. And, best of all, the manufacturer in Tula (a place that, incidentally, used to be a major Russian tank production center during the World War, except for a brief unpleasant period when it was occupied by Colonel-General Heinz Guderian's panzer army in 1941), says it will be available for export too.
Now, I can, like you, imagine all sorts of scenarios that it would be rather handy to have underwater AK-47s available, except, I cannot think of any of those scenarios, or even anything resembling those scenarios, having made the news lately (or, for that matter, ever), and with the exception of Tom Clancy's The Hunt for Red October, I can't imagine how underwater AK-47s would have helped there.
Which raises the question, what is this Russian armaments company developing these weapons for? and for whom? Is the Russian Navy planning deep sea bases that it needs to defend from underwater invaders? Or, conversely, is it planning to invade American or Brazilian deep sea bases? Well, deep sea bases would, on the surface of things (to coin a pun), seem to be out, since the effectiveness of underwater weapons, both in range and accuracy - unless the Russians know something we don't - would diminish dramatically at deeper pressures.
Why develop such weapons at all, unless one is envisioning situations of underwater small arms combat (underwater artillery and tanks anyone?). But again, against whom? Are they to protect underwater oil derricks? or attack them? It is revealing - to that frustrating degree that Russia reveals anything - that the weapon will be deployed by Russia's elite and fearsome special forces, the Speznaz.
I'll admit folks, I find this story intriguing, fascinating, and my mind is going in many directions all at the same time, because the Russians are not stupid, and they don't wash dishes without a plan, much less invent ingenious weapons systems, unless there is a need for them... Shades of Mr. Medvedev's calls, a month before the Chelyabinsk meteor, for an asteroid defense system.
See you on the flip side.