RPD

RPD

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The RPD is a 7.62mm
7.62 mm caliber
7.62 mm caliber is a nominal caliber used for a number of different cartridges. Historically, this class of cartridge was commonly known as .30 caliber, the Imperial unit equivalent, and was most commonly used for indicating a class of full power military main battle rifle cartridges...

 light machine gun
Light machine gun
A light machine gun is a machine gun designed to be employed by an individual soldier, with or without an assistant, as an infantry support weapon. Light machine guns are often used as squad automatic weapons.-Characteristics:...

 developed in the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

 by Vasily Degtyaryov for the intermediate 7.62x39mm M43 cartridge. It was created as a replacement for the DP machine gun chambered for the 7.62x54mmR Mosin
Mosin-Nagant
The Mosin–Nagant is a bolt-action, internal magazine-fed, military rifle invented under the government commission by Russian and Belgian inventors, and used by the armed forces of the Russian Empire, the Soviet Union and various other nations....

 rifle
Rifle
A rifle is a firearm designed to be fired from the shoulder, with a barrel that has a helical groove or pattern of grooves cut into the barrel walls. The raised areas of the rifling are called "lands," which make contact with the projectile , imparting spin around an axis corresponding to the...

 round. It is a precursor of most squad automatic weapon
Squad automatic weapon
A squad automatic weapon is a weapon used to give infantry squads or sections a portable source of automatic firepower. Weapons used in this role are selective-fire rifles, usually fitted with a bipod and heavier barrel to perform as Light machine guns...

s.

History


Work on the weapon commenced in 1943. Three prominent Soviet engineers were asked to submit their own designs: Vasily Degtyaryov, Sergei Simonov
Sergei Gavrilovich Simonov
Sergei Gavrilovich Simonov was a Soviet weapons designer; he is one of the fathers of the modern assault rifle....

 and Alexei Sudayev
Alexei Sudayev
Alexey Ivanovich Sudayev was a Russian weapons designer. He created the PPS submachine gun and the AS-44 assault rifle....

. Among the completed prototypes prepared for evaluation, the Degtyaryov design proved superior and was accepted into service with the Soviet armed forces
Red Army
The Workers' and Peasants' Red Army started out as the Soviet Union's revolutionary communist combat groups during the Russian Civil War of 1918-1922. It grew into the national army of the Soviet Union. By the 1930s the Red Army was among the largest armies in history.The "Red Army" name refers to...

 as the 7.62 mm Ручной Пулемёт Дегтярёва, PПД (RPD, Ruchnoy Pulemyot Degtyaryova or "Degtyaryov light machine gun") model 1944. Although the RPD was ready for mass production during the final stages of World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

, large scale delivery of the weapon did not begin until 1953. During the Vietnam War, the RPD served the Vietcong as their standard general-purpose machine gun.

After the introduction of the Kalashnikov
AK-47
The AK-47 is a selective-fire, gas-operated 7.62×39mm assault rifle, first developed in the Soviet Union by Mikhail Kalashnikov. It is officially known as Avtomat Kalashnikova . It is also known as a Kalashnikov, an "AK", or in Russian slang, Kalash.Design work on the AK-47 began in the last year...

-pattern support weapons such as the RPK
RPK
The RPK is a 7.62x39mm light machine gun of Soviet design, developed by Mikhail Kalashnikov in the late 1950s, parallel with the AKM assault/battle rifle...

 and PK machine gun
PK machine gun
The PK is a 7.62 mm general-purpose machine gun designed in the Soviet Union and currently in production in Russia. The PK machine gun was introduced in the 1960s and replaced the SGM and RPD machine guns in Soviet service...

s in the 1960s, the RPD was withdrawn from most first-tier units of the former Warsaw Pact
Warsaw Pact
The Warsaw Treaty Organization of Friendship, Cooperation, and Mutual Assistance , or more commonly referred to as the Warsaw Pact, was a mutual defense treaty subscribed to by eight communist states in Eastern Europe...

. However, the RPD remains in active service in many Africa
Africa
Africa is the world's second largest and second most populous continent, after Asia. At about 30.2 million km² including adjacent islands, it covers 6% of the Earth's total surface area and 20.4% of the total land area...

n and Asia
Asia
Asia is the world's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the eastern and northern hemispheres. It covers 8.7% of the Earth's total surface area and with approximately 3.879 billion people, it hosts 60% of the world's current human population...

n nations. Apart from the former Soviet Union, the weapon was manufactured in China
People's Republic of China
China , officially the People's Republic of China , is the most populous country in the world, with over 1.3 billion citizens. Located in East Asia, the country covers approximately 9.6 million square kilometres...

 (as the Type 56 LMG), Egypt
Egypt
Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

, North Korea
North Korea
The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea , , is a country in East Asia, occupying the northern half of the Korean Peninsula. Its capital and largest city is Pyongyang. The Korean Demilitarized Zone serves as the buffer zone between North Korea and South Korea...

 (Type 62) and since 1956—Poland
Poland
Poland , officially the Republic of Poland , is a country in Central Europe bordered by Germany to the west; the Czech Republic and Slovakia to the south; Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania to the east; and the Baltic Sea and Kaliningrad Oblast, a Russian exclave, to the north...

.

Operating mechanism


The RPD is an automatic weapon using a gas-operated
Gas-operated reloading
Gas-operation is a system of operation used to provide energy to operate autoloading firearms. In gas-operation, a portion of high pressure gas from the cartridge being fired is used to power a mechanism to extract the spent case and chamber a new cartridge. Energy from the gas is harnessed...

 long stroke piston system and a locking system recycled from previous Degtyaryov small arms, consisting of a pair of hinged flaps set in recesses on each side of the receiver. The movement of these flaps and the resulting locking and unlocking action is controlled by carefully angled surfaces on the bolt carrier assembly. The weapon fires from an open bolt
Open bolt
A semi or full automatic firearm is said to fire from an open bolt if, when ready to fire, the bolt and working parts are held to the rear. When the trigger is pulled the bolt goes forward, feeding a round from the magazine into the chamber and firing it...

.

Features


The RPD is striker fired and features a trigger mechanism that is limited to fully automatic fire only. The bolt is equipped with a spring-loaded casing extraction system and a fixed insert inside the receiver housing serves as the ejector. Spent cartridge casings are ejected downward through an opening in the bolt carrier and receiver. The RPD has a manually operated lever-type safety mechanism that secures the weapon against accidental firing by blocking the bolt catch when engaged. Unlike Degtyarov's earlier firearm patents, the RPD's return spring is located inside the butt. Like many other rugged Russian-made firearms, the chamber and bore are chrome-lined
Chrome plating
Chrome plating, often referred to simply as chrome, is a technique of electroplating a thin layer of chromium onto a metal object. The chromed layer can be decorative, provide corrosion resistance, ease cleaning procedures, or increase surface hardness.-Process:A component to be chrome plated will...

, greatly eliminating the risk of corrosion and jamming.

The weapon has a non-removable barrel with a 3-position gas adjustment valve used to control the performance of the gas system. It is also equipped with a folding integral bipod
Bipod
A bipod is a support device that is similar to a tripod or monopod, but with two legs. It provides significant stability along two axes of motion .-Firearms:...

, wooden shoulder stock, foregrip and pistol grip
Pistol grip
On a firearm or other tool, the pistol grip is that portion of the mechanism that is held by the hand and orients the hand in a forward, vertical orientation, similar to the position one would take with a conventional pistol such as the M1911....

. The firearm strips down into the following major groups: the receiver and barrel, bolt, bolt carrier, feed tray and feed cover, the recoil mechanism and the trigger group and stock.

Feeding


The machine gun feeds from the left-hand side from a segmented, open-link metallic belt (each segment holds 50-rounds). Two combined belts (linked by cartridge), containing a sum total of 100 rounds are stored in a metal container resembling a drum, attached to the base of the receiver or can simply be fed by a loose belt without a drum magazine with a longer desired length rather than only 100 rounds if need be. The feed system is operated by a roller connected to the reciprocating bolt carrier assembly and the belt is pulled during the rearward motion of the bolt carrier.

Sights


The LMG is equipped with a set of open-type iron sight
Iron sight
Iron sights are a system of shaped alignment markers used as a sighting device to assist in the aiming of a device such as a firearm, crossbow, or telescope, and exclude the use of optics as in telescopic sights or reflector sights...

s. These consist of a front post (adjustable for windage and elevation) and a notched rear sight mounted on a tangent with a sliding elevation adjustment knob and marked with range indicators from 100 to 1,000 m (graduated every 100 m). A number of machine guns were fitted with a side rail (attached to the left side of the receiver), used to mount the NSP-2 night vision
Night vision
Night vision is the ability to see in low light conditions. Whether by biological or technological means, night vision is made possible by a combination of two approaches: sufficient spectral range, and sufficient intensity range...

 sight.

Accessories


Standard accessories supplied with the weapon include an ammunition container, extra belts, a cleaning rod (carried on the left side of the receiver), cleaning kit (stowed in a compartment inside of the stock), sling and pouches for the ammunition drums. (Although not designed for such a position, an RPD could be fired from the hip, utilizing the sling to hang the gun on the shooter's shoulder).

Variants


During its service life, the weapon was modernized several times. Initially, the gas block was modified as was the rear sight, where the windage adjustment knob for the rear sight was moved to the left side of the notch. Later, the RPD was modified with a non-reciprocating cocking mechanism with a folding charging handle (replacing the fixed charging handle connected to the bolt carrier) that does not move during firing. The feed port received a dust cover, which when open, serves as a feeding ramp for the ammunition belt. This version of the light machine gun was produced mainly in China and Poland. A further modified variant (sometimes referred to as the RPDM) includes an extended gas cylinder and a recoil buffer mechanism in the stock. Late production RPD variants also had the fixed drum attachment removed (instead, the ammunition container was “hung” from the feed port cover) and feature a folding cleaning rod, that is stored in the weapon’s butt (in the Chinese Type 56-1 variant).

Users





Type 56 and Type 56-1. Produced by Norinco
Norinco
The China North Industries Corporation , official English name Norinco, manufactures vehicles , machinery, optical-electronic products, oil field equipment, chemicals, light industrial products, explosives and blast materials, civil and military firearms and ammunition, etc...

. Hungary
People's Republic of Hungary
The People's Republic of Hungary or Hungarian People's Republic was the official state name of Hungary from 1949 to 1989 during its Communist period under the guidance of the Soviet Union. The state remained in existence until 1989 when opposition forces consolidated in forcing the regime to...


See also

  • Degtyarev-Garanin KB-P 790
    KB-P 790
    The KB-P 790 is a General purpose machine gun of Russian origin. The weapon uses a delayed blowback operation and is chambered in the 7.62x39mm round.-See Also:*List of Russian weaponry...

  • RPK
    RPK
    The RPK is a 7.62x39mm light machine gun of Soviet design, developed by Mikhail Kalashnikov in the late 1950s, parallel with the AKM assault/battle rifle...

  • FN Minimi
    FN Minimi
    The Minimi is a Belgian 5.56mm light machine gun developed by Fabrique Nationale in Herstal by Ernest Vervier. First introduced in 1974, it has entered service with the armed forces of over thirty countries...

  • M60 machine gun
    M60 machine gun
    The M60 is a family of American general-purpose machine guns firing 7.62×51mm NATO cartridges from a disintegrating belt of M13 links...

  • PK machine gun
    PK machine gun
    The PK is a 7.62 mm general-purpose machine gun designed in the Soviet Union and currently in production in Russia. The PK machine gun was introduced in the 1960s and replaced the SGM and RPD machine guns in Soviet service...

  • List of Russian Weaponry

External links