VHS, Croatian assault rifle


VHS assault rifle
The VHS (Višenamjenska Hrvatska Strojnica—"multifunctional Croatian machine gun") is a 5.56x45mm NATO bullpup assault rifle designed and manufactured by HS Produkt of Croatia. The VHS rifle was first introduced at the 2007 iKA exhibition, the annual Croatian innovation display that takes place in the city of Karlovac. The development was carried on following a request from the Croatian Army for a new infantry rifle to update the individual equipment to NATO standards.

Apparently at least two prototypes were produced: one superficially resembled the French FAMAS rifle, while the other has been compared with the Israeli IMI Tavor TAR-21. The rifle is 750 mm long, with a 500 mm barrel. Polymer parts are extensively used in the construction, and the weight of the rifle has been variously reported as 2.3 kg and 3 kg. The early project won the iKA innovation prize for an interesting feature, in the form of a venting system that recovered part of the gases generated by the shot and pushed it back in a space located behind the bolt; during the cycle, the bolt thus found itself to "bounce" on a sort of "gas cushion" that acted as a buffer, dramatically reducing recoil. The production-stage VHS is reported to operate by classical long stroke piston and to not implement anymore that buffering system.

On November 19, 2007, the Croatian Ministry of Defence placed an order for an experimental batch of 50 rifles to be tested by the Croatian contingent currently deployed in Afghanistan within the ISAF. Other nations, including Kuwait and Venezuela have already shown interest in acquiring the rifle.

On November 24, 2008 HS Produkt introduced the final version of VHS assault rifle. The first 40 rifles have been produced for testing. The test will be done by Croatian military in the first 3 months of 2009. If it performs well, the Croatian army will buy an additional 2,000 rifles in 2009. By 2012 the Croatian army plans on acquiring up to 60,000 VHS rifles, displacing the various AKM derivatives currently in service.

On May 12, 2009, the Croatian Minister of Defence Branko Vukelic confirmed the positive conclusions of a series of torture tests and on May 15 officially signed a contract with HS product for the acquisition of 1,000 rifle (both versions) for an average price of 10,700 Croatian Kunas each.
Type Assault rifle
Place of origin Croatia
Service history
Used by Croatia
Production history
Designer Marko Vuković
Designed 2005
Manufacturer HS Produkt
Unit cost c. €1000
Variants VHS-D, VHS-K
Weight VHS-D: 3.4 kg (7.5 lb)
VHS-K: 3.3 kg (7.3 lb)
Length VHS-D: 765 mm (30.1 in)
VHS-K: 665 mm (26.2 in)
Barrel length VHS-D: 500 mm (19.7 in)
VHS-K: 400 mm (15.7 in)
Width 43 mm (1.7 in)
Height 230 mm (9.1 in) (without magazine)
260 mm (10.2 in) (20-round mag.)
300 mm (11.8 in) (30-round mag.)

Cartridge 5.56x45mm NATO
Action Gas-operated "tappet" closed gas system, rotating bolt
Rate of fire VHS-D: 750 rounds/min
VHS-K: 760 rounds/min
Muzzle velocity VHS-D: 950 m/s (3,120 ft/s)
VHS-K: 940 m/s (3,080 ft/s)
Feed system 20, 30-round STANAG magazine
Sights aperture sights, laser sights and optical sights

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