Russia confirms its readiness to ensure full-scale production of the AK-203 assault rifles in India within two-three years, said Alexander Mikheev, Director General of the Russian state agency, JSC Rosoboronexport (RoE). The manufacturing of the rifles at the plant in Uttar Pradesh is likely to begin within a few months, officials said.
“The first 70,000 AK-203 rifles will be produced in India with a phased increase in the extent of localisation from 5% to 70%. The rest of the rifles will be produced with 100% localisation,” Mr. Mikheev stated on the just-concluded deal to manufacture over 6 lakh rifles.
Since 2019, Russian and Indian specialists have completed a huge amount of preparatory work to optimise the price and tech parameters of the contract, Kalashnikov spokesperson Maria Vorobyeva said. “Today, the long-awaited contract for the production of more than 600,000 assault rifles in India has been signed. We are ready to start producing the AK-203 assault rifles in India in the upcoming months,” she added.
Over 6.1 lakh AK-203 assault rifles costing over ₹5,000 crore will be manufactured by the joint venture, Indo-Russian Rifles Private Ltd (IRRPL), at Korwa in Amethi. The IRRPL was set up jointly between the erstwhile OFB [now Advanced Weapons and Equipment India Limited (AWEIL) and Munitions India Limited (MIL)] of India, and RoE and the Kalashnikov concern of Russia.
On this, Mr. Mikheev said, to date, a modern production line has been established at Korwa, and a small arms range has been set up, where both the factory and acceptance tests of the assault rifles will be carried out. “Rosoboronexport and Kalashnikov specialists take an active part in all production setup stages,” he said.
In the IRRPL, the Russian side owns 49.5% share, with the Kalashnikov concern holding 42% and Rosoboronexport 7.5%. “An international technology cooperative chain has been set up. With up to 100% localisation, the joint venture will manufacture more than 600,000 Kalashnikov assault rifles and meet the needs of the country’s security agencies in the least-cost manner,” Mr. Mikheev added.