The RPD is a 7.62 mm light machine gun developed in the Soviet Union by Vasily Degtyaryov for the intermediate 7.62x39 mm M43 cartridge. It was created as a replacement for the Soviet 7.62 mm DP light machine gun, chambered for the 7.62x54 mm Mosin rifle round.Work on the weapon began in 1944, participating in the design process were: Vasily Degtyaryov, Sergei Simonov and Alexei Sudayev. Among the completed prototypes presented for evaluation, the Degtyarov design proved superior and was accepted into service with the Soviet armed forces as the 7,62 mm RPD (Ruchnoy Pulemyot Degtyaryova Degtyaryov light machine gun) model 1944. Although the RPD was ready for mass production during the final stages of World War II, large scale delivery of the weapon did not begin until 1953. After the introduction of the Kalashnikov-designed support weapons such as the RPK and PK machine guns in the 1960s, the RPD was withdrawn from most first tier units of the former Warsaw Pact. However, the RPD remains in active service in many African and Asian nations. Apart from the former Soviet Union, the weapon was license-built in China (as the Type 56), Egypt, North Korea (Type 62) and since 1956 Poland, where it still manufactured (rkm D).