CZ-2000 “Lada” – AK Czechnology in 5.56mm

Development of the CZ-2000 began in the 1970s as a replacement for the vz.58 rifle. The project was named “Lada”, and was essentially an improved AK-74 rifle chambered for the 5.45x39mm cartridge. The new rifle was mechanically an AK, but had a number improved features including a thumb-operated safety/selector switch, aperture sights mounted on an improved receiver cover, and a compact sidefolding stock. By the late 1980s rifles were going into limited initial production for troop trials, which were finalized in late 1989 – just as the Velvet Revolution overturned the government.

When the aftermath of the political changes began to shake out, the new Czech Republic was looking to the West and NATO for affiliation, and the 5.45mm cartridge no longer made a lot of sense. Instead, CZ redesigned the rifle to chamber the 5.56mm NATO round, and renamed it the CZ-2000 to sound a bit more modern. Three variations were made; a short barreled “submachien gun” version, a rifle/carbine version, and a light machine gun version with a longer barrel and bipod. The rifle was not successful in military trials, and was eventually dropped by CZ in favor of the rifle that would become the CZ805 “Bren”.

28 Comments

  1. I watched this development thru all those years and what I gathered was that the main goal was (oh, that boring word) – modularity.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%C4%8CZ_2000

    This by itself may not be a bad idea since different services/ application require different features. The previous vz.58 did not have the same capability, although attempts were made and they did not work out.

    I happened to visit the place of origin of this creation, Prototypa Brno in 1996. At that time they were disparate for work and were in process of radical reduction of workforce. I remember the manager saying with visible discontent in his face: “whole life I worked with weapons and now I will build cannery lines”.

    Not everyone was excited about this newfound ‘liberty’.

      • Yes, among some other attempts. Although lately I observe vz.58 based semi-automatic “carbines” with extremely short barrels (on civilian market in Canada!), I do not see any practical value in them; I am definitely not intent to buy one.

    • “modularity”
      So now I am wondering if it was influenced by 1960s development – EXPORT-ONLY project URZ:
      https://mpopenker.livejournal.com/1952570.html
      for 7,62×51 NATO cartridge, available as automatic rifle, machine gun, tank-machine gun. Interestingly it used delayed-blowback principle and (in all versions) was belt-fed weapons, using non-disintegrating belt and having special cavity in container to store empty belt (see drawing in link)

      • This was dead end to begin with. Of course, after battle everyone is general. That is advantage of accumulated time-based knowledge, I guess.

    • Not quite as “modular-tastic” maybe as the prototype URZ Automaticka Puska Plamen, no?

      Too bad that was in 7.62x51mm vs., say, 7.62x45mm?

      Personally, It’d have been interesting to either resurrect the ZB530 top-feed prototype or, for that matter, twit the Soviets by bringing back a TBB-517 lever-delayed blowback in the new-fangled 5.45mm caliber! Ha! As done by the Czechs, I’d be inclined to think that’d be a nice, low-cost weapon. Onward with the latest AR-18 with extra polymer design!

      • Ah! I saw Daweo beat me to the reference. Bravo!
        Now that’s modularity! One receiver for every conceivable militarily useful firearm…

        Although I’d think CZ could do much with that crazy 7.5mm handgun cartridge if not the behemoth handgun that fires it…

      • “twit the Soviets by bringing back a TBB-517 lever-delayed blowback in the new-fangled 5.45mm caliber”
        It is TKB-517 which denotes adjective(Tula) Construction Bureau.
        Well you would get mechanically more or less FA-MAS, with main difference being classic layout, see comparison here: http://otvaga2004.ru/armiya-i-vpk/armiya-i-vpk-service/korobov/ interestingly there also existed TKB-517 derivative called TKB-523 using same principle but belt-fed (see photo in link).
        It must be noted that Korobov himself created weapons 5,45-mm cartridge, but it seems that after TKB-523 he dropped delayed-blow-back in favor of gas-operation.

        • That being said, it must be noted that Soviet Army, from very beginning was favoring gas-operated long-arms (or more generally with locked bolt at moment of firing – c.f. Vladimirov 14,5 mm machine gun which is short-recoil/rotation)

  2. Another interesting ‘detail’ about follow-up development. I have read (sorry, cannot produce source) that at around that time (year 2000) CZUB was offered cooperation on development of new service rifle(s) for Eastern Europe by no other than HK. Czechs declined.

    If that decision was smart of not the future will judge. So far CZUB had made several inroads with their Bren II rifle (I dislike that name since it does not mean a smack). As far as I know they entered in contracts with Egypt(incl. pistols production), Pakistan, Slovakia and Hungary. It is also known they sold limited quantity of rifles to Mexican security forces and are in dealings elsewhere in south America. If they were in cahoots with HK, they would have to share the profit.

    This is not to say that new rifles from CZUB do not have plastic on them 🙂

    • It is useful to watch what is happening with HK lately. They have been on verge of bankruptcy, yet again. I have read somewhere that they changed ownership recently.
      So more than likely, Czechs were right. I do know one thing: CZUB do not go into anything risky and keep its solid base in sporting arms sales in United States and Canada.

    • “supposed to replace also ubiquitous UK59. I have difficulty to accept that prorosition.”
      I do not know what “prorosition” is, but if I understand correctly enough text here:
      https://forum.valka.cz/topic/view/12637/CZK-CZ-2000-Lada
      CZ 2000 je soubor tří univerzálních zbraní – dva typy krátkého samopalu a ruční kulomet, které využívají zkušeností z řady automatických zbraní jednotlivce používaných ve výzbroji Armády ČR – 7,62mm samopal vz. 58, 7,62mm univerzální kulomet vz. 59 a 7,65mm samopal vz. 61.
      means that CZ 2000 (in tree forms) was supposed to replace vz. 58 (assault rifle), vz. 59 (GPMG) and vz. 61 (sub-machine gun, better known as ŠKORPION)

  3. “1970s”
    According to https://forum.valka.cz/topic/view/28363 “in late 1970s” codename KRÁSA was started. If I understand correctly enough KRÁSA in Czech language means “short assault rifle”. But I am wondering what was relation between KRÁSA and shortest of LADA? Were they competitors? Also why KRÁSA was developed for 7,62×39 and 5,45×39 cartridges? Was it destined to be export only product?

    • Krasa (“beauty” in literal meaning) was one of those unsuccessful attempts for vz.58 variations I wrote about earlier.
      To create truly successful “modular” firearm is challenge of high order. I believe only Mr. Stoner made it so far.

  4. For Daweo or anyone who is keen on foreign source of information on subject of military armaments.
    https://www.armadninoviny.cz/vojenska-vyzbroj.html

    In this particular section (small arms) takes part in discussions man with nickname “zbrojir” (armorer). He is extremely knowledgeable in addition to his hands on experience. He his “go-to” man if you are interested in Czech firearms.

  5. Is it just me, or have the Czechs capitalized and improved upon every small-arms system they’ve gotten from both east and west?

    • I believe current relative success of Czech firearms industry (and it is more than CZUB) is combination of several factors.
      First it is tradition and reputation, next is broader industrial base and talent. But mostly it is good “nose”, which is nowadays more important than anything else. You can be capable and even master of your trade, but that itself is not guarantee of survival, not to mention success.

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