Hello defence lovers! In this article, we are going to discuss a very fascinating weapon used by MARCOS the elite special force unit of the Indian Navy. We are going to discuss a specialized weapon called APS underwater rifle, which is used in underwater combat.
Frogmen And The Requirement Of Underwater Rifle
A frogman is a commando who is trained in scuba diving to undertake military operations. They are also known by the names of combat diver, combatant diver, or combat swimmer. Frogmen are used in a wide variety of missions which include infiltration of enemy harbors, planting magnetic explosives on enemy vessels, etc. In the Indian special forces, frogmen can be identified with the combat diver badge. Para SF and Marcos commandos can be seen wearing these badges.
In the Indian special forces, frogmen can be identified with the combat diver badge. Para SF and Marcos commandos can be seen wearing these badges.
Before the invention of the underwater rifle, the only weapon the frogmen could use underwater to deal with enemy frogmen was a simple combat knife. This was because normal firearms do not work underwater as the water is much denser than air because of which the parts of the firearms do not move in the way those are supposed to move. More overdue to the denser nature of water the normal shaped bullet cannot travel for long distances underwater. Thus a specialized weapon was required.
The APS Underwater Rifle
The APS underwater assault rifle is an underwater firearm designed by the Soviet Union in the early 1970s, almost five decades ago. Here APS stands for Avtomat Podvodny Spetsialnyy which means “Special Underwater Assault Rifle”. This rifle was designed to deal with the growing threat of enemy frogmen attacks on the Soviet Harbours.
The APS underwater rifle fires a specially designed120 mm (4.75 in) long 5.66 mm caliber steel bolt, which is much longer than any conventional rifle bullet. The long dart-like shape keeps the bullet in a straight line. It has a maximum magazine capacity of 26 rounds. It has a smooth, non-rifled barrel. The fired projectile is kept in line by hydrodynamic effects. Thus the APS underwater rifle is pretty inaccurate when fired out of water.
Range of APS Underwater Rifle
The range of the rifle varies with the depth. In the air, it has a range of 100 meters. At a depth of 5 meters, it has a maximum range of 30 meters. At a depth of 20 meters, it has a range of 20 meters. At depth of 40 meters, it has a range of just 11 meters. This is because as depth increases, the pressure also increases. Thus the bullet requires more force to penetrate the water.
In general, The APS underwater rifle has a longer range and more penetrating power than the conventional spearguns. This is useful in such situations as shooting an opposing diver through their reinforced dry suit, or a protective helmet, thick tough parts of breathing sets and their harnesses, and the plastic casings and transparent covers of some small underwater vehicles.
The APS underwater rifle is used by MARCOS, the elite special force unit of the Indian navy. However, the use of this rifle is very limited as the danger from enemy frogmen is very minimal.
How APS Is Different From Regular Rifles?
The APS fires long dart-like bullets which are heavier and more stable than regular bullets which enable them to travel long distances underwater. The gas tube is perforated which allows it to work underwater. The chemical composition of the charge is also different. We won’t dig deep into the engineering aspects of the rifle. In simple words, APS is an AK family rifle designed to work underwater. However, when fired out of the water, the APS is not very accurate due to its smooth barrel. Riflimh is an important factor for the accuracy of firearms which is missing in the APS.
At present, there are no alternatives to the APS rifle. It is truly only one of its kind. However, the US tried to develop a similar rifle but abandoned the project after unsatisfactory results. The American seal team operates worldwide but still lacks such a capability. It is simple because frogmen vs frogmen encounters are pretty rare after the second world war. The Navy SEAL frogmen generally operate in such scenarios where stealth is the key factor. Hence frogmen vs frogmen encounter are unlikely to happen.
The Americans developed smaller alternatives to the APS. They developed an underwater revolver called AAI underwater revolver which fired smaller darts. The German company Heckler and Koch developed a similar pistol that can fire darts electronically. The Soviets also developed an Underwater pistol with 4 barrels called “SPP 1”.
So this was all about the APS underwater rifle. We hope that you enjoyed the article. Follow our website for more such interesting articles.