The RA-05 is a select fire assault rifle chambered in 7.62x39mm. It was designed by the Ramos Defense Industries' small arms branch, Ramos Arms, as part of the program to supplement the L1A1 in Australian service.
During the war in Vietnam the Australian troops found that when fighting the Vietcong in the jungle the standard issue at the time the Australian L1A1 FAL, proved to be outclassed when it came to jungle warfare for prolonged periods of time against the Russian AK-47s of the Vietcong. The Ak-47 was lighter, easier to manipulate, able to carry more rounds in its magazine, more compact, and able to withstand almost any kind of environment with little to no maintenance. The Australian Government therefore started a project to replace the L1A1 with a weapon closer in performance to the AK-47 used in Vietnam.
In response to the military project to evaluate new and existing designs for the potential weapon replacement, the Ramos Defense Industry (RDI) came up with a design heavily based on the Ak-47 and the L1A1 FAL. The result was a weapon designated PFA-04x (prototype firearm -04x). It was a gas operated, long stroke system, much like the AK-47, though it was chambered to fire the relatively new American 5.56x45mm cartridge. During trials and evaluation the PFA-04x performed flawlessly meeting all of the requirements set by the military. It was however not adopted be the Australian military as cost concerns ultimately led to the termination of the project altogether.
Not wanting to waste the amount of research and development costs of the PFA-04x, the RDI decided to make a few redesigns and market it to other potential buyers. Though originally chambered for the 5.56 the new redesigned weapon was chambered in the Russian 7.62x39mm for the growing African weapons market that had better access to the Russian 7.62 round. The resulting weapon was renamed the RA-05 and although it never was fully adopted as a standard service rife, it and its variants continue to serve in various countries around the world.
During the production of the RA-05 from 1969 - 2012 it was often compared to and competed against the FN FNC, AK-47 and varients, the HK33, the SIG SG540, and the AG-77.
The design is heavily based on both the AK-47 and the L1A1 FAL. The most prominent similarity to the AK-47 is the design of the receiver and bolt. This was done by the RDI engineers to achieve the same kind of reliability and robustness of the AK-47. Other parts similar to the AK-47 are its reciprocating charging handle (though it is not permanently fixed in place like the AK), a dustcover/fire selector switch, and magazine release. The RA-05 was also designed to accept Russian AK mags.
The Influence of the L1A1 was translated into the design of the trigger and the ergonomics of the weapon itself, featuring a long handguard and an F1A1 inspired stock. Unlike the AK the RA-05 does not have a removable top receiver but the whole receiver is milled out of a solid block of aluminum, this was inspired by the F1A1 FAL design.
· RA-05f: included a folding stock (f for folding stock)
RA-05h: designed with a heavy barrel and a scope mount (h for heavy barrel)
RA-05s: designed for CQB with a 10in barrel (s for short)
RA-05MG: designed as a light support weapon, it had a 50 round drum, a redesigned stock, a longer and heavier 20in barrel, and a bipod. (mg for machinegun)
RA-05A2; improved design; longer 20in barrel, lighter polyester furniture, and improved iron sights.
RA-05A2f; included folding stock (f for folding stock)
RA-05A2s; designed for CQB with a 10in barrel (s for short)
RA-05A2t; designed with tactical rails (T for tactical)
RA-05A3 improved design; heavier 16inch barrel, monolithic top rail, quad rail handguard, improved pistol grip
RA-05A4 Improved design; monolithic top rail, redesigned quad rail handguard, lighter, and adjustable gas system