Traditionally, for many years, cotton was the main raw material for obtaining gunpowder in the Soviet Union. With the disintegration of the country, its main producers, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan, became “near abroad”, and the “white gold” grown there was bought up by the United States in order to then sell this most important strategic product at exorbitant prices.
In this situation, Russia had the only way out - to find an alternative to cotton, so as not to become dependent on our potential enemies. The work was entrusted to the Central Research Institute of Chemistry and Mechanics, where the possibility of using flax and hemp was considered as a substitute for cotton.
Research began 12 years ago and ended in success. For more than 5 years now, our army has been receiving ammunition equipped with domestic gunpowders, superior in characteristics to their "cotton" counterparts.
As it turned out, "linseed" gunpowder has a higher energy. This means that the mass of the propellant charge has decreased by about 5–8% while maintaining the necessary energy characteristics. There were also additional advantages in transportation, storage and increasing the firing range.
Hemp gunpowder is still being developed. The fact is that the yield of useful material from this type of raw material is an order of magnitude higher. The institute has already received permission to grow non-narcotic weed varieties.
Tests have shown that ammunition with gunpowder made from flax and hemp hit targets with greater accuracy and create less smoke.