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Pakistan Is Selling This New Heavy Machine Gun

April 21, 2019

The Chinese Type 85 or W85 heavy machine gun has proliferated across the Middle East and Africa. It now seems like a derivative is manufactured by Pakistan’s state-owned ordnance plant.

The Pakistan Ordnance Factories (POF) just added another weapon to its growing catalog. For some years now a rare 12.7x108mm machine gun that isn’t a DShK was displayed whenever the POF exhibited its small arms at the biennial IDEAS. This turned out to be the HMG PK-16, a heavy machine gun on a collapsible tripod resembling the Chinese Type 85 or W85 that’s a favorite among militias and rebel groups across the Middle East.

The HMG PK-16 recently joined the POF’s website with a chart listing its characteristics. Its name might suggest its debut in the year 2016.

A side by side comparison of the HMG PK-16 and the W85 (pictured above) reveals a few differences. The carrying handle on the barrel assembly of the HMG PK-16, for example, is a separate spade grip rather than a lever. The spade grip, by the way, refers to the handles behind the receiver used for operating the machine gun. Like the DShK, to fire the HMG PK-16 the gunner must use their thumbs to press the trigger between the spade grips. The crooked shoulder rest on the HMG PK-16/W85 is supposed to mitigate the weapon’s recoil.

Another difference is the muzzle brake on the HMG PK-16, which is similar to the DShK/Type 54 machine gun. (The latter is a Chinese copy.) The W85, on the other hand, has a cylindrical muzzle brake. One appealing feature of the HMG PK-16 is its collapsible tripod that can be set up either flat on the ground or elevated. The latter is useful for raising the gunner’s line of sight or targeting small aircraft.

Via Pakistan Ordnance Factories / POF.

The POF’s unannounced promotion of the HMG PK-16 makes it the third state-owned enterprise outside China that sells a W85 copy. The military industries of Iran and Sudan each have W85’s available for export, albeit with different names. In Sudan the machine gun was rebranded as the “Khawad” and joins a selection of weaponry licensed from China and Russia.

Pakistan does have an official arms exporting agency known as DEPO and the POF website is meant for advertising military products to foreign markets. This means the HMG PK-16’s intended end users are military and police units who want better options than their existing DShK machine guns. Armies with stocks of 12.7x108mm ammunition should consider adopting the HMG PK-16 if Chinese and Russian alternatives are beyond reach. The HMG PK-16 is also a more recent model than the M2 Browning and is accurate to 1.6 kilometers. It’s possible to mount the HMG PK-16 on different vehicles, from tanks to pickup trucks.

By virtue of its Chinese origins and availability, the HMG PK-16’s effectiveness as a heavy machine gun is unquestioned. Its “cousins” are found in three continents–Africa, Asia, and Latin America. Outside the Middle East, ongoing conflict in Nigeria and Somalia as well as the civil war in South Sudan has bolstered demand for W85 machine guns. In Latin America, Chinese battle tanks sold to Peru have W85 heavy machine guns as secondary weapons on their turrets. Bolivia’s Chinese-made APCs arrived with W85 machine guns too.

The formal armaments industry of Pakistan is controlled by the government. Although some corners of the internet loves to obsess about handmade assault rifles and vintage weapons made by local smiths, the country does export military products in varying quantities. The full portfolio is quite broad, in fact, and aside from small arms and ammunition Pakistan sells drones, naval frigates, multirole fighter jets, and even the expertise for manufacturing ballistic missiles.

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