American Vs Russian Light Infantry weapons - #3 Analysing Army
Even during WW2 as the fight against Nazi Germany raged on American and British military planners were preparing offensive plans against their mutual ally the Soviet Union.
In 1945 under the guise of PM Winston Churchill 'Operation Unthinkable' was developed.
The end of the second world war did not bring western and eastern worlds together but rather further separated them especially during the periods of the cold war.
This lead to a stark contrast in military weapons designs which will be compared in this analysis of the two nations infantry light weapons.
America vs Russia two different ideologies clashing:
When looking at the modern weapon platforms of the United States armed forces complexity, sophistication and power projection come into mind. The Russian armed forces have a different perspective simplicity, reliability and workhorse characteristics came into thought.
The light infantry weapons of these armed forces highlight the differences.
USA Light Infantry Weapons:
On average based on a government contract reports a M16 and M4A1 single unit can cost between $700 to $1800. While a single M107 Sniper based on 2005 reports obtained from Rapid Fielding Initiative (RFI) can cost upto $15000. FInally field sources report the Mossberg 500 to cost around $250 per unit
Russian Light Infantry Weapons:
The simpler designs of Russian weapon platforms does translate into lower cost per unit. This is evident for the Ak-47 and Ak-74 assault rifles. A single unit can cost between $300 to $800 according to Russian defence ministry reports. Additionally the SVD sniper rifle also has a cheaper cost of $6000 to $11000 also based of Russian weapons acquisition reports.
Ak Class vs M Class assault rifles.
The Ak class of weapons was designed with low cost, high production and firepower in mind. The 7.62mm cartridges give it good penetrating power but reduced range at 300 to 400m.
The M class weapon platform especially the M16 and M4 were a response to the firepower to the Ak-47. They feature 5.56mm cartridges which reduces penetration but increased effective range to between 500 to 800m. Additionally they are capable of being optimised to certain warfare environments.
The simplicity and reliability of the AK weapons have earned them the nickname "king of the streets" as they are the primary tool of all insurgents. It is currently estimated that 100+ million AK weapon platforms are in circulation around the world.
On the other hand the M series weapon platforms with their more advanced features and optimise ability are more aimed at counter insurgency and currently around 8 million such units exist mostly in the armies of American allies.
The conclusion about which gun platform is better is hard to reach because context is important while the American guns are more expensive and offer additional features and strengths they do have some drawbacks which the simpler Russian weapon platforms address like firepower.