Joint production of AK-203 Kalashnikov assault rifles started in India


As Rostec State Corporation reported on January 17, 2023, on the basis of the Russian-Indian joint venture Indo-Russian Rifles Private Limited, registered and located in India, whose founders from the Russian side are Rosoboronexport JSC and Kalashnikov Concern, which are part of Rostec State Corporation, production of AK-203 Kalashnikov assault rifles has begun.

Kalashnikov AK-203 submachine gun chambered in 7.62 x 39 mm for production in India (c) Indo-Russian Rifles Private Limited"Russia and India are bound by reliable partnership relations.

One of the important results of military-technical cooperation between the two countries was the construction of a joint venture Indo-Russian Rifles Private Limited. With the launch of serial production of Kalashnikov AK-203 assault rifles, high-quality, convenient and modern small arms will begin to arrive in the power structures of India. The model combines excellent ergonomics, adaptability to the user and high tactical and technical characteristics, it is one of the best models in the world," said Rostec CEO Sergey Chemezov.

The production plans of the joint venture include 100% localization of the production of AK-203 submachine guns in India. In addition, in the future, the joint venture may increase production and modernize to produce promising models based on the Kalashnikov assault rifle platform.

"The first batch of 7.62 mm AK-203 Kalashnikov assault rifles has been released at the Korwa Ordnance Factory in Amethi, Uttar Pradesh. The start of deliveries to the Indian army is expected in the near future. At the same time, the plant's capacity makes it possible to fully equip the personnel of other power structures in India with AK-203 submachine guns, which, thanks to their high adaptability, are suitable for various operators. In addition, the joint venture will be able to export its products to third countries," said Alexander Mikheev, CEO of Rosoboronexport.

The joint venture Indo-Russian Rifles Private Limited fully complies with the Make in India concept and the DAP-2020 rules. Today, India is the first country to start producing the "two hundredth" series of Kalashnikov assault rifles of the world-famous brand.

The machines of the "two hundredth" series have retained all the advantages of the traditional AK scheme: reliability, durability and ease of maintenance. At the same time, they fully comply with the most modern requirements for small arms, ergonomics and the possibilities of using high-tech additional equipment.

Russia and India continue to implement projects in the field of military-technical cooperation. The current and prospective programs are based on the maximum focus of the parties on technological cooperation, including on the basis of joint ventures, in the format of licensed production and joint R&D. Rosoboronexport aims to work on the basis of the ToT (transfer of technology) conditions put forward by the Indian side and in accordance with the Make in India principle.

On the part of bmpd, we recall that in 2018 an Indian-Russian agreement was signed, providing for the organization of a joint Russian-Indian enterprise Indo-Russian Rifles Private Limited (IRRPL) for the production of Russian Kalashnikov assault rifles in India. In February 2019, the corresponding Indian-Russian intergovernmental protocol was signed.

The project to organize the production of AK-203 submachine guns in India is the main part of an extensive long-term program of the Indian army to purchase 768,000 automatic rifles of 7.62 mm caliber for the complete rearmament of linear units - due to the cessation of production of the unsuccessful 5.56mm INSAS automatic rifle of Indian design. As an emergency measure within the framework of this program, the Indian army in early 2019 carried out an "urgent" purchase of 72400 American-made SIG Sauer SIG716 automatic rifles chambered for 7.62 x 51 mm. However, for the purchase of the remaining 695,600 weapons, the Indian Ministry of Defense at the beginning of 2018 considered the preferred type of the Russian AK-103 submachine gun (later AK-203) chambered for 7.62 x 39 mm.

In accordance with the initial Russian-Indian agreements of 2018, India provided for the direct purchase of 20 thousand AK-203 submachine guns in Russia first (later changed to 50 thousand) with the organization of production of another 645-650 thousand (and taking into account the needs of other Indian law enforcement agencies, in addition to the armed forces - up to 750 thousand, with a total estimated cost of up to 2.5 billion dollars) of automatic machines at the joint Russian-Indian enterprise Indo-Russian Rifles Private Limited, in/" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">formed by the Indian state Defense Industry association Ordnance Factory Board (OFB, 50.5% stake in the joint venture) and Russian JSC Rosoboronexport and JSC Concern Kalashnikov (49.5%). The opening ceremony of the plant of the joint Russian-Indian enterprise Indo-Russian Rifles Private Limited for the production of AK-203 assault rifles took place in the presence of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on March 3, 2019 in the Indian city of Korva in Amethi district (Uttar Pradesh) at the site of a long-under construction, but never fully commissioned OFB enterprises for the production of ammunition Korwa Ordnance Factory. In 2021, due to the reorganization and division of OFB, its share in the joint venture was transferred to the new Indian state defense industry associations Advanced Weapons and Equipment India Limited (AWEIL, which is now subordinate to the Korva plant) and Municipalities India Limited (MIL).

However, despite the opening of the plant in Korva, the approval of the final contract for the organization of production of AK-203 submachine guns on it was delayed for another two and a half years due to disagreements on price issues and localization volumes (the Indian side insisted on achieving 100 percent localization within a year and a half from the start of production, while it was unclear whether it provides such localization). At the same time, the price of the Indian-built AK-203 declared by OFB to the Ministry of Defense of India was significantly higher than the price of the finished AK-203 with direct import from Russia. At the end of 2021, the agreed price for the supply of one AK-203 from the IRRPL enterprise of the Indian army was supposed to be 80 thousand rupees (1060 dollars), with the initial request of the OFB of 86 thousand rupees, while SIG Sauer SIG716 automatic rifles were imported from the United States at a price of 990 dollars (72782 rupees) per unit.

Only on December 6, 2021, in Delhi, within the framework of the meeting of the Defense Ministers of Russia and India, a contract was signed for the supply to the Ministry of Defense of India of 601427 AK-203 submachine guns manufactured by JV Indo-Russian Rifles Private Limited. The contract is denominated in Indian currency and costs 5124 crore rupees (about $ 672 million).

Delaying the issue with the organization of the AK-203 production in India forced the Indian Ministry of Defense in August 2021 to resort to the urgent purchase of ready-made submachine guns of this type in Russia, concluding a corresponding contract with an increase in the number of purchased ready-made submachine guns to 70 thousand.

The AK-203 assault rifle in the Indian version retains a number of elements from the AK-103 assault rifle, including a simple folding stock, a forearm (without an upper bar) and a selector lever, and in fact represents the development of the "Body Kit" OCD (KM-AK 6CH63).

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