UKM-2000, in three different variants, has been introduced into service in the Polish Army, with the purpose of replacing the Soviet-made PK/PKM machine guns. However, the experience related to operational use of this weapon, especially the knowledge gathered during the operational deployments in Afghanistan and Iraq, shows that there is a need of modernizing the UKM-2000 weapons system.
Due to the reasons above, ZM Tarnów decided to develop a modernized variant, initially referred to as the UKM-2013. Later on the weapon’s name was changed to UKM-2000M. In June the machine gun has passed the military tests, which opens the way towards a contract, the value of which is estimated as PLN 24.76 million. The agreement is related to procurement of the modernized UKM-2000P machine guns. Deliveries are going to take place within the period between 2015 and 2018. Almost 380 examples of the new gun are going to be acquired.
The modernized variant of the UKM-2000P general purpose machine gun has been improved within the scope of the permissible conditions of use, ergonomics and it was perfected mechanically. The most evident changes include introduction of the Picatinny rails, both on receiver cover, as well as on the gas tube. The above makes it possible to utilize a variety of sights and other equipment. The stock has also been changed – now it is folded on the left side of the gun. It is applied in an adjustable, semi-open variant. The metal case for the ammunition belt has been replaced with a textile bag, which is much more comfortable to use.
When it comes to the mechanics, the weapon now is capable of firing blank cartridges, without a need of implementing additional insert in the feeding mechanism. The loading procedure, in case of the new variant of the weapon, is also easier, as a mechanism which prevents the ammunition belt from “going back”, along with a belt retainer, have been applied. The above developments make it possible to load the weapon, without opening the cover of the receiver.
The system for opening the receiver features a clip which makes it possible to lock the receiver in two, programmed positions. Additionally, the receiver cover may be closed at any position of the slide, thanks to a retractable slide roll applied in the weapon’s design.
Another change which meets the expectations of the user is visible in a much more efficient muzzle brake, including a flash guard which limits down the flash during shooting, making it more difficult to detect the firing position where the UKM-2000P is located. Stability of the weapon has been improved. The recoil has been reduced, thanks to the fact that a recoil shock absorber designed by ZM Tarnów has been implemented in the gun.
The new UKM-2000P variant is tailored to operations within a temperature range between -30 and +50 degrees centigrade, meaning that the gun would be realistically effective in any operating conditions. The modified UKM-2000P still remains one of the lightest general purpose machine guns manufactured around the world.