The Kalashnikov assault rifle is undoubtedly a national pride. He is known all over the world as one of the most effective and versatile weapons. However, this does not mean at all that Soviet designers did not try to create something even more perfect. Moreover, once the famous "Kalash" was going to be replaced at all. And not just a new machine gun, but a double-barreled modification. But nothing came of this idea, and almost no one will remember about the failed substitute. But Kalashnikov is still in the ranks and gives odds to even the most modern types of weapons.
Replacing the legendary Kalashnikov assault rifle, as it may not sound surprisingly, was first planned back in the first half of the eighties of the last century. At the same time, a competition was announced to create a new weapon, which was supposed to surpass the AK-74 in density and accuracy of fire. Among the participants were the famous Soviet designers S. G. Simonov and P. A. Tkachev. The result of the work of this particular tandem was the experimental model AO-63.
In fairness, it should be clarified that the competitive double-barreled machine gun was not the first for Simonov and Tkachev. Two decades earlier, in 1965, they created their first prototype weapon with similar characteristics. We are talking about the prototype AO-32. It was not put into mass production, but it did serve the service: it is believed that it was on the basis of this experience that the designers designed the AO-63.
The AO-63 double-barreled assault rifle by its design, however, is a twin AK-74. In particular, most of the details were taken from him. The main attention of the gunsmiths during the development was aimed at meeting the main requirement of the competition - to increase the density and accuracy of fire.
So, AO-63 fired alternately from each barrel with a delay of 0.01 seconds. Thus, the designers were able to maintain the recoil force at the required level. In addition, the AO-63 produced very impressive rates of fire: 850 w / m - at 600 w / m for the AK-74 - and the maximum rate of fire as much as 6,000 w / m.
Accuracy and accuracy of shooting did not suffer from such density - it was approximately equal to that of which Kalashnikov was capable. In total, the machine gun could fire in four modes, in particular, in bursts, in semi-automatic mode, or in single shots - in this case, only one barrel was involved.
Other technical characteristics of the AO-63 were similar to the Kalashnikovs. The weight of the assault rifle was 3680 grams, while, like the AK-74, it was 3300 grams. The maximum firing range was one thousand meters. The open sights were similar to the AK-74. The fuse also had the function of a firing mode translator. This was not without innovation. So, for example, for the experimental model, a special three-row magazine was designed from scratch for standard cartridges of caliber 5, 45x39 mm with a capacity of 45 units.
Interesting fact: many believe that the slightly modified AO-63 was involved in the filming of the film Red Scorpion (1989), because a double-barreled machine gun appeared there too. In fact, this is not the case: in the picture you can contemplate the decorated South African R1 rifle, which, in turn, is a modification of the American FN FAL.
All these design solutions allowed AO-63 to break through to the conditional final of the competition, where its competitor was the Nikonov AN-94 assault rifle - only these two models met the requirements of the commission in terms of accuracy of fire. However, during the testing process, it turned out that the double-barreled competitor was not so versatile in terms of operating conditions, and it took several times more time to assemble / disassemble it than the AK-74 required.
All these shortcomings, as well as the more complicated design compared to the Kalashnikov, and the increase in the cost of the assault rifle led to the fact that the AO-63 was never put into mass production. The winner of the competition was the Nikonov assault rifle, which turned out to be more acceptable for the commission on the basis of a set of indicators.
If you delve into the domestic history of weapons, you can be convinced that the double-barreled machine gun is, it turns out, not the limit: TKB-059: how in the Soviet Union they tried to make a machine gun with three barrels