First appearing in 1926, the Degtyaryov was the Soviet Union’s most common light machine gun, comparable in doctrine and usage to the American Browning Automatic Rifle, British Bren Gun, or Italian Breda 30. Firing the 7.62x54mmR cartridge, it was invented by Vasily Degtyaryov and first appeared in the form of the DP-26, which was simplified for mass production purposes and adopted as the DP-28. The DP-28 was known as a highly reliable machine gun, even going through a torture test where it was buried in sand, afterwards firing 500 rounds before jamming. Firing 550 rounds per minute, it also had few problems with overheating.
While the gun itself was mechanically sound, the accessories that went with it were not. The biggest complaint was that the bipod it was often equipped with was fragile and cheaply produced, commonly bending or breaking in battle. In addition, its 47 round pan magazine was likewise fragile. Despite these flaws the DP-28 was an effective light machine gun. Most importantly, they were very plentiful, with around 795,000 being produced, mostly during World War II.
The DP-28 was used in the Winter War against Finland, with many being captured and used by the Finnish Army. After World War II it continued to be issued, supplemented by the RPD machine gun in the 1950’s, finally being phased out and replaced by the PK machine gun in the 1960’s. Numerous thousands were also exported to com bloc nations. Many were used in the Korean War and Vietnam. Today, it is not uncommon for them to be found on modern battlefields in Ukraine, Syria, and parts of Africa.
AEK-999 ‘Barsook’ (Badger) (Russian : Барсук) is a Russian machine gun chambered for the 7.62x54mmR round. It is a modernized version of the PKM machine gun, developed during the 1990s in order to improve its capabilities in the LMG/SAW role. It was to be capable of sustained automatic fire without requiring a quick-change barrel, and better suited for assault operations where it could be fired from the hip or from the integral bipod. The AEK-999 was developed at the Kovrov Machinebuilding Plant, but lost in military trials to the Pecheneg machine gun, which was developed under same requirements at the TsNIITochMash research institute. In 2006 KMZ ceased all military production, but small batches of the AEK-999 were manufactured by KMZ before 2006 for Russian MVD troops.