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Russia's New Underwater Assault Rifle Can Shoot 800 Shots Per Minute

The question is, when are we going to need this?

When it comes to the future of warfare, most nations these days are focused on defending themselves in cyberspace—it's safe to say deep-sea fighting has been bumped a few spots down on priority list. Nevertheless, Russia has continued to develop its aquatic arsenal, and yesterday unveiled what it says is the first “amphibian” assault rifle—a gun that can effectively shoot at a rate of 800 shots per minute on both land or underwater.

Russia’s latest innovation in weapons technology, the ADS assault rifle, was manufactured by the state KBP design bureau and presented to the public yesterday at the Interpolitex 2013 arms exhibition in Moscow. Soon, Russian Special Forces units will be armed with the hybrid weapon.

The obvious first reaction is, when are we going to need this? The thought of submerged soldiers shooting slow-motion bullets while floating under the sea seems more like something out of a James Bond movie than a realistic scenario.

But in fact, many nations’ militaries have had underwater firearms since the Cold War, when they were developed to arm "frogmen"—combat divers that carried out stealth missions underwater. Those aquatic guns would fire steel darts instead of standard bullets in order to to cut through the water. And since the barrels weren't rifled, they weren't very accurate when fired on land, rendering the bulky weapon useless as soon as a frogman returned to the surface.

Hence, the ADS, which improves on the Soviet-era APS underwater rifle to solve that problem, a KBP design bureau official told the news site Ria Novosti. It’s designed to fire 5.45-mm cartridges with a similar accuracy as a AK-74. It's simple to toggle between water and air mode, though soldiers do have to reload the weapon with underwater-friendly ammunition before submerging. What a world.