Kalashnikov plant in India begins serial production of the AK-203
MOSCOW ($1=61.73 Russian Rubles) — India is one step closer to starting the production of Kalashnikov brand firearms. According to Alexander Mikheev, general director of Rosoboronexport, the plant in Korwa [Uttar Pradesh state] is fully prepared to start production of the AK-203 by the end of this year. The concept of future manufacturing fully corresponds to India’s Made in India program, which the government in New Delhi launched years ago.
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Russia and India will discuss details of the production of the assault rifle at the Defexpo India 2022. The exhibition which started yesterday [October 18] in Gandhinagar, Gujarat. The last day of the exhibition is October 22.
Rifles Private Limited is expected to be widely represented at the exhibition. It is a collaboration between Russia’s Rosoboronexport, Kalashnikov, and the Indian government. Russia has promised to give India a wide range of additional modern equipment, designed both to tune the AK-203 assault rifle itself and to equip the personnel. The parameters of the promised technologies will be discussed during the exhibition.
“Our plans include 100% localization of production of the legendary Russian submachine guns in India,” Mikheev said in his statement. In a press release from the Russian Rostec concern, it is clear that the AK-203 has passed all the tests to which it was subjected. “These machines have retained all the advantages of the traditional AK scheme. They are reliable, durable, and extremely easy to maintain,” the statement added.
The AK-203, as well as all 200 series assault rifles, meet modern requirements for small arms. They have attached Picatinny systems that allow the attachment of various accessories to improve the effectiveness of the weapon, such as optical day and night sights, thermal and laser rangefinders, infrared red dots, tactical flashlights, etc.
Some of the larger 200 series weapons, such as machine guns, now operate with a stock that shortens or folds. The firing mode has also been improved, Kalashnikov says.
Delayed production and disagreements
The AK-203 is expected to become the primary weapon of the Indian Army. A similar statement was made last year by the Indian ambassador to Russia. “The conclusion of a contract for the joint production of AK-203 will lay the foundation for the complete transition of the Indian Armed Forces to use the AK-203 as the main assault weapon,” said Datla Bala Venkatesh Varma in March 2021, quoted from RIA Novosti.
India is expected to produce 750,000 assault rifles of the 200 series. This was revealed in 2019 during the inauguration of the factory in the city of Korwa. However, not everything went according to plan to get to today. At the beginning of 2020, India and Russia still did not agree on the cost of production of AK-203, as well as on the possibility of India exporting Kalashnikov assault rifles to third countries.
Apparently, the hurdles have been overcome, as Russian officials claim that the plant can be operational by the end of 2023. According to the plan, the plant was supposed to start production in 2020, but the financial contradictions between Moscow and New Delhi, as well as the covid pandemic, failed these plans.
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