Sunday, November 25, 2007

SVU and SVU-AS (OTs-03AS) sniper rifle (Russia)

Basic SVU (OTs-03) rifle without telescope and with open sights raised to working position

SVU-AS (OTs-03AS) rifle with 4X PSO-1 telescope sight and camo paint; bipod is folded

SVU-AS rifle with bipod extended

Caliber: Russian 7.62x54mm Rimmed
Operation: gas-operated, rotating bolt, semi-automatic (SVU) or select-fire (SVU-AS)
Capacity: 10 round detachable box magazine
Weight: 4,4 (SVU) kg with empty magazine and telescope sight; 5,5 kg (SVU-AS with empty magazine, telescope sight and bipod)
Length: 900 mm
Barrel Length: 520 mm
Rate of Fire: 650 rounds per minute (for SVU-AS only)

The SVU project (Snaiperskaya Vintovka Ukorochennaya - shortened sniper rifle) traces its roots back to 1970s, when it was decided to develop a compact sniper rifle for Soviet airborne (VDV) troops. Such rifle was designed using standard Dragunov SVD action converted to bullpup layout. Back then this project never went past development stage, but in around 1991 it was resurrected in Tula and offered to Russian Internal Affairs Ministry (MVD) as a possible weapon for urban operations. At that time MVD accepted the offer, but requested the rifle to be converted from semi-automatic to selective fired version (probably inspired by German HK G8 "police automatic rifle"). Such conversion was developed by TSKIB SOO (Central Sporting and Hunting Arms Design Bureau in Tula). It was initially known as OTs-03 in semi-automatic version and as OTs-03A and OTs-03AS in selective fired versions (SVU, SVU-A and SVU-AS respectively). Since mid-nineties this rifle was produced in Tula and issued in limited numbers to various law enforcement organizations across the Russia.
There are no firm data on accuracy of SVU rifle, but on short- to medium ranges it is believed to be on par with standard Dragunov SVD rifles.

The basic action of the SVU-AS rifle is inherited from Dragunov SVD sniper rifle - it is a gas operated, rotating bolt design with short-stroke gas piston. The trigger unit is modified with long connect bar, which links forward-mounted trigger with sear back in receiver. In SVU-AS, trigger unit is further modified with introduction of the full-automatic mode of fire. Selection of the mode of fire is done by the pull on the trigger - short pull produces single shots, and long, deliberate pull produces automatic (burst) fire. For semi-automatic fire only rifle is equipped with selector, which, when engaged, limits rearward travel of the trigger so only single shots can be squeezed out of the gun. This selector is located within trigge guard, above the trigger, and moves laterally. Because of bullpup layout, buttplate is attached directly to the receiver, and pistol grip and scope mount are moved forward. Barrel is shortened and equipped with combination flash hider / muzzle brake device. Integral folding bipod is attached to special rod, which runs forward from receiver. This is done to relieve the barrel from stresses generated by bipod. Early versions of SVU and SVU-A vere produced without bipod, and actually the "S" letter in SVU-AS designation stands for "soschka" (bipod in Russian). Standard sighting equipment includes open sights installed on folding bases, with rear being of diopter type and adjustable for range between 100 and 1300 meters. There's also a standard side rail, which will accept variety f telescope or night sights, the 4X PSO-1 being most typical. SVU-AS rifles use standard SVD magazines with 10-round capacity. Apparently, bigger capacity magazines were also designed for SVU-A, but it seems that none were produced in quantity.
The automatic fire feature of SVU-A and SVU-AS seems to be of any value only in emergency close combat or self-defense actions, as the limited magazine capacity and light barrel greatly limits automatic fire capabilities of this weapon.

No comments: