India to start producing upgraded version of iconic Russian weapon – official
Production of Russia’s new Kalashnikov AK-203 assault rifles in India may be launched before year’s end, a senior Russian official has said.
The weapon will be manufactured at a plant in the town of Korwa in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, according to Aleksandr Mikheev, the head of Rosoboronexport, the Russian state agency for the international arms trade.
“We plan 100% localization of the production of the legendary Russian assault rifles in India,” the agency quoted its chief as saying in a statement on Monday. “In the future, the joint enterprise may ramp up capacity and upgrade to manufacture more advanced models based on the Kalashnikov platform.”
New Delhi and Moscow created the joint venture in December of last year, building on previous direct sales of the weapon to India. The contract, which was estimated at some $620 million, involved producing over 600,000 AK-203s on Indian soil, the newspaper Hindustan Times wrote at the time.
The AK-203 is part of the ‘series 200’ of Kalashnikov’s small arms, which includes several models using various popular round calibers and barrel lengths. The series features tuning options such as adjustable stocks and the Picatinny rail and other improvements. The AK-203 assault rifle is designed for the 7.62×39mm round.
Rosoboronexport gave the update on the joint enterprise with India ahead of the Defexpo India 2022 arms show, which is scheduled for this week. Russia and India have been closely cooperating in defense for decades and have previously launched other joint ventures for making arms in India.