India, Russia finalised AK-47 203 rifles deal
India and Russia have finalised a major deal for manufacturing AK-47 203 rifles in India during defence minister Rajnath Singh's ongoing visit to Moscow, the official said on 3 September 2020. The AK-47 203 is the latest and most advanced version of the AK-47 rifle, which will replace the Indian Small Arms System (INSAS) 5.56x45 mm assault rifle. The Indian Army has a requirement for around 770,000 AK-47 203 rifles, of which 100,000 will be imported and the rest will be manufactured in India.
- The Ministry of Defence said: "Both sides welcomed the advance stage of discussions for the establishment in India of an India-Russian Joint Venture for the production of AK203 assault rifles which are considered one of the most modern weapons available for infantry forces''. This provides a very positive basis for further engagement of Russian defence industry in the 'Make-in-India' programme.
- The rifles will be manufactured in India as part of the joint venture Indo-Russia Rifles Private Limited (IRRPL), established between the Ordnance Factory Board (OFB), the Kalashnikov Concern and Rosoboronexport - the Russian state agency for military exports.
- The OFB would own a majority stake of 50.5 per cent in IRRPL while the Kalashnikov Group would have a 42 per cent share. Russia's state-owned export agency, Rosoboronexport, would own the remaining 7.5 per cent.
- The 7.62×39 mm Russian weapon will be produced at the Korwa Ordnance Factory in Uttar Pradesh, which was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi last year.
- The cost of each rifle is expected to be around $1,100, including the cost of technology transfer and of setting up the manufacturing unit.
- The INSAS, which has been in use since 1996, has developed some issues such as jamming and magazine cracking at higher altitudes in the Himalayas.