APS Underwater Assault Rifle
The APS Underwater Assault Rifle (Russian: Автомат Подводный Специальный; Avtomat Podvodny Spetsialnyy, lit. "Special Underwater Automatic Rifle") is a rather bizarre derivative of the AK-74 developed in the early 70s for issue to divers guarding Soviet naval installations, to give them more firepower and range than the SPP-1 Underwater Pistols they had been issued previously. The weapon is a smoothbore gun firing 4.7 in (12 cm) long dart-shaped projectiles from modified 5.45x39mm cases: the effective range depends on the depth it is fired at, from about 100 feet at a 16 foot depth to about 36ft at 130ft: at these ranges it delivers more power than a conventional speargun and is easily capable of penetrating reinforced military diving suits. A variable gas regulator compensates for depth, and as a result the weapon's rate of fire decreases the deeper it is used. The distinctive stepped magazine is a product of the magazine's follower only pushing on the casings, since pressing on such a long projectile might unseat it from the case.
While the APS achieved the difficult challenge of building a fully automatic weapon that can be fired underwater, it had numerous shortcomings. When fired in air the rifle has an effective range of just 55 yards, and because of the gas seals in the weapon's action its lifespan drops dramatically above water, from 2,000 shots to just 180. Since the receiver is practically open on one side to allow water to be forced out as the bolt travels backwards, it is also horrendously prone to fouling when used above the water. The APS's magazine is also bulky and the sights are extremely crude.
These shortcomings meant that while it was fine for defensive use, Spetznatz amphibious warfare teams tended to stick with the SPP-1 pistol as otherwise they would have to carry two full-sized rifles. This lead to the development of the ASM-DT, a rifle that could used a 5.45mm dart round but also load standard AK-74 magazines, in 2000, but this proved problematic due to its complicated magazine well and requirement to carry a set of bulky underwater magazines very much like those of the APS. Further work led to the ADS Amphibious Rifle in 2013, a bullpup rifle derived from KBP's A-91 design which uses a thin saboted round that can fit in a standard 5.45mm magazine. This is planned to totally replace the APS in service.
China produced their own rifle based on the APS for use by Navy divers in 2006, known as the QBS-06, using a round derived from their domestic 5.8x42mm intermediate casing with a dart of the same length as that used by the APS, with a non-stepped 25-round magazine.
(1975 - Present, full replacement with ADS Amphibious Rifle began in 2013)
- Type: Underwater Assault Rifle
- Origin: Soviet Union
- Caliber: 5.66x39mm MPS dart (dart is 5.66x120mm)
- Weight: 7.5 lbs (3.4 kg)
- Length: 24.2 in (61.4 cm) (Stock Retracted), 32.4 in (82.3 cm) (Stock Extended)
- Barrel length: 11.8 in (30 cm)
- Feed System: 26 round detachable box magazine
- Fire Modes: Semi-Auto/Full-Auto
- Rate of fire: 600 RPM (in air), cyclic rate of fire decreases with depth
- Capacity: 25-round box magazine
The APS Underwater Assault Rifle and variants can be seen in the following films, television series, video games, and anime used by the following actors:
|The Third Planet (Tretya planeta)||Special forces fighter||1991|
|Black Lagoon||Revy||2006 -|
|Title||Referred As||Mods||Release Date|
|Delta Force: Land Warrior||APS Assault Rifle / Water Rifle||2000|
|Call of Duty: Ghosts||APS Underwater Rifle||2013|
- TsNIITochMash - A list of all firearms manufactured by TsNIITochMash.