|Type Bullpup assault rifle|
In service 2010–present
|Place of origin Ukraine|
Used by Ukrainian Army
|Designer National Space Agency's R&D Center for precision engineering|
The Vepr (Ukrainian: Вепр, wild boar) was announced in 2003 as the first indigenous Ukrainian assault rifle, designed by the National Space Agency of Ukraine. Note that on the Ukrainian Government Portal website (see below in External Links), the Vepr is classed as a sub-machinegun. It is one of several bullpup conversions of the conventional AK-74 design, along with the Polish Kbk wz. 2005 Jantar, the Chinese Norinco Type 86S, the Russian OTs-14 Groza, the Finnish Valmet M82 and the South African Vektor CR-21.
Prior to the development of the Vepr, the personnel of the Armed Forces of Ukraine were equipped mainly with the Soviet AKM and AK-74 assault rifle designs.
The first Vepr rifle was shown on 28 August 2003. Only ten Veprs were made until 9 October 2004
In addition, one test prototype («Malyuk») was made in 2005
The Ukraine's Ministry of Defense has declared intentions to purchase thousands of Veprs by the year 2010 but as of March 2014 there was not a single Vepr in Ukrainian Army
However, since the political tides in Ukraine are moving towards a NATO and possibly a European Union membership, and since a well-launched Ukrainian gun manufacturer (RPC Fort) is offering on the Ukrainian market firearms in "western" calibers such as the Israeli Tavor assault rifle, Negev light machinegun and Galil sniper rifle, the future of this weapon in Ukrainian service may be in jeopardy.
As of 2015, most Ukrainian personnel still use AK-74s.
Currently only small number of Veprs are in service with Ukrainian special forces.
Although the Vepr has been proclaimed as a revolutionary upgrade to the AK-74, it is, in fact, an interesting yet fairly simple modification of the basic AK-74 system in a bullpup design, with the following modifications:
Common characteristics with the AK-74
The weapon still fires 5.45×39mm ammunition from 30-round magazines at an approximate rate of fire of 600 to 650 rounds per minute, the barrel length remains the same and the muzzle brake has been retained, which suggests that the Vepr's ballistic performance should be identical to that of the AK-74. The weapon's weight is almost the same as that of the AK-74M variant, and its length is comparable to that of a folding-stock AK with the stock folded. The main advantage of the bullpup layout thus lies in the fact that the weapon becomes much shorter and thus easier to store, to carry and to handle in confined spaces. However, the bullpup's overall superiority to conventional rifle configurations, in which the magazine and chamber are in front of the trigger and pistol grip rather than behind, has yet to be seen.
The Vepr's only serious readily-visible drawback seems to be the fact that its layout, as that of the British SA80, does not favour ambidextrous operation, for three reasons:
The Vepr includes adjustable open sights and a conventional side mount, on the left, for day or night scopes. The front sight is strikingly similar to that of the American M16 series of rifles. A relatively large red dot sight of Ukrainian production can also be fitted as standard. The latest versions of the Vepr also include an integral 40mm underslung grenade launcher, with a dual trigger layout in which the front trigger fires the grenade launcher and the rear trigger fires the rifle.