An Indo-Russian joint venture (Indo-Russian Rifles Private Limited– IRRPL) has started the manufacturing process of AK-203 assault rifles in Korwa Ordnance Factory in Amethi district in Uttar Pradesh (UP). This makes India the first country outside Russia which has started the production of AK-200 series assault rifles of the world-famous brand. These assault rifles are meant for the Indian Army and later there are possibilities of supplying these rifles to the paramilitary forces in the country.
Financial Express Online had reported in October 2022 quoting a top Russian official — Rosoboronexport Director General Alexander Mikheev that the production of these rifles will start soon in India under the Make in India initiative.
This is a joint venture between Russia and India and located in Amethi Distt, UP. From the Russian side Rosoboronexport and Kalashnikov Concern subsidiaries of the Rostec State Corporation are part of this venture. According to the Russian side the IRRPL fully complies with the Indian government’sMake in india’ initiative and the DAP 2020.
The joint venture company plans to include 100 per cent localization of the production of the legendary Russian assault rifles in India. The plans for the future include increasing production as well as modernizing the facilities to manufacture advanced rifles which will be based on the Kalashnikov assault rifle platform.
Indian Army Update
At the annual presser the Indian Army Chief recently (Jan 13, 2023) had said that the first batch of 5000 rifles (AK-203) will be received in March 2023 with around five per cent indigenous content and another 65000 rifles with 17 percent indigenous content will be delivered over the next 32 months.
What does this mean?
This means after almost 70,000 rifles have been delivered (for which the kits and production machinery have already arrived in India) — around five lakh will be manufactured in India by the joint venture company IRRPL which has set up a facility in Korwa, UP. These rifles which will be made in India with full indigenous content will take up to a decade to be delivered.
Therefore the rifles which will be made in India will have 100 percent indigenous content and as Financial Express Online has reported earlier the company expects orders from the Paramilitary forces and special police commando teams.
Rosoboronexport had told Financial Express Online earlier that the AK-203 rifles are fitted with integral Picatinny rails. These are for easy and convenient mounting of tactical accessories and of sights which enable the effective use of weapons in various conditions.
It comes with a special capability barrel and has compatibility with many systems including the ammunition and magazines of AK-47.
It has been reported that one of the largest users of these Russian made Kalashnikov assault rifles are the Indian Army’s Infantry regiments and Rashtriya Rifle (RR) units.
According to an official statement shared with the media by the Russian side on Tuesday (Jan 17, 2023) all the advantages of the traditional AK scheme have been retained in the AK-200-series assault rifles: these include ease of maintenance, durability, and reliability.
And in terms of ergonomics and the ability to mount high-tech additional equipment they also meet the latest requirements for the firearms in the world.
Despite the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war, Russia and India continue to implement projects under military-technical cooperation. Most of the projects are focused more on technological cooperation, including on the basis of joint R&D projects, in the format of licensed production.
According to a Russian official statement Rosoboronexport plans to cooperate in terms of Transfer of Technology (ToT) as put forward by the Indian side and in accordance with MII.
Russian partners’ comments
According to Sergey Chemezov, General Director of Rostec the partnership between the two countries is very strong. The joint venture of Indo-Russian Rifles Private Limited is a result of the Military-technical cooperation between the both countries.
Adding, “With the launch of series production of Kalashnikov AK-203 assault rifles, high-quality, convenient and modern small arms will begin to enter service with India’s defense and law enforcement agencies.”
Alexander Mikheev, Director General of Rosoboronexport, has been quoted in the official statement:”Korwa Ordnance Factory in Amethi, Uttar Pradesh, has produced the first batch of 7.62 mm Kalashnikov AK-203 assault rifles. The beginning of deliveries to the Indian Army is expected soon.”
He also said that the joint venture will be able to export its products to third countries.