The first assault rifle officially adopted by the United Batavian Republics, the Zelfladende Karabijn model 1982 came about due to the Zürich Pact passing a motion to standardize on a new 6x40mm round in 1978. Unlike other armies, the Batavian Armies had never previously developed an intermediate rifle cardrige, relying on the 19th century vintage 6.5x51mm dutch round and the Zk m/64 which fired it until then. The standardization motion prompted the army to prototype a version of the m/64 in the new cardrige, while requesting a new generation infantry weapon from the Republikeinse Munitie Fabriek.
The new 6x40mm PACT round was smaller, much shorter overall and lighter than the 6.5x51mm dutch round, but it kept good ballistic performance through the use of a relatively long and heavy (7g, 105 gr) round and a broad case. First production rounds achieved 840 m/s speed and 2,390 J of muzzle energy, and depending on platform achieved 400 to 600m of effective range.
Though not standardized, there had been assault rifles issued to Republican Special Forces and Marine formations since at least 1965, predominantly of German, French and Louisiannean origin.
In 1979, trials were held between the m/64-79 prototype chambered in 6x40mm PACT, the German StG 77, the Swiss SIG SG 421 and the RMF prototype, which would later become the Zk m/82. Continental Army officers favoured the local RMF design overwhelmingly, whereas African Army officers favoured the StG 77, which was already in limited use by them. The trials were finally decided with imput from Navy and Eastern Army officers, and the RMF rifle was declared the winner in November.
The Zk m/82 sported an innovative bullpup configuration, enabling the use of a long 60 cm barrel while maintaining a compact package. A shorter version with a 45 cm barrel was soon developed as the m/82-83, to be used by vehicle crews, signallers and other positions that had till then used submachineguns, and was also adopted by the Navy for issue to boarding parties. The gun is cycled by a gas operated rotating bolt, the gas cylinder located above the barrel, and a regulator valve located on the front end of it. It was designed from the outset to fire rifle grenades like the previous m/64, so it features a hinged sight on the left side. A fire rate selector is located on the left side, in front of the magazine well, and has 3 positions, safe, semi-auto and full-auto.
The production version of the m/82 differs from the prototype by having a hinged cover for the gas cylinder valve regulator, a bayonet lug, a hook to connect a shoulder strap, fixings for a bipod, a hinged rifle grenade sight on the left side, a more robust stock bottom cover, and having its sights finished in matte. The m/82-83 cannot make use of a bayonet or bipod, and therefore has a smoother muzzle and no bipod fixings.
Specifications: Zk m/82
In service: 1982 - ???
Designed: 1978 - 1981
Manufacturer: Republikeinse Munitie Fabriek, Spyker, DMF
Produced: 1982 - 2002
Length: 86 cm (33.8) in
Barrel Length: 60 cm (23.6 in)
Cartridge: 6x40mm PACT
Action: Gas-operated rotating-bolt
Rate of fire: 450-600 rounds/min automatic
Feed system: 20-round detachable magazine