India’s wait for the modern AK-203 Assault Rifle is soon to be over as the India-Russia joint venture, Indo-Russian Rifles Private Limited (IRRPL) has commenced the manufacturing of rifles. The joint venture is producing the Kalashnikov assault rifles at Amethi in Uttar Pradesh.
Rosoboronexport, one of the founders of the joint venture from the Russian side and a subsidiary of Rostec State Corporation, claimed that the first batch of assault rifles has already been produced in Amethi.
“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,” said Alexander Mikheev, Director General of Rosoboronexport in an official statement.
India is looking forward to manufacturing around 6 lakh AK-203 assault rifles in collaboration with Russia and this milestone is to be achieved in about 10 years. According to Chief of Army Staff General Manoj Pande, out of the six lakh rifles, seventy thousand weapons are to be developed in about 32 months with 5-70% indigenisation levels.
“The initial lot of 5000 weapons will be delivered by some time in March this year,” said the COAS in a press conference held ahead of the Army Day. Talking of the indigenisation of the weapons, he asserted that after the initial seventy thousand rifles, India will subsequently have the complete indigenous AK-203 weapons.
According to Rosoboronexport’s official statement, the IRRPL fully functions in line with the Government of India’s Made in India initiative and India is the first country to begin manufacturing the AK-200-series assault rifles.
The AK-203 Rifles
The AK-203 are highly adaptable 7.62 mm assault rifles that are being indigenously developed in India staying true to the Make-in-India resolve. Claiming that the weapon is one of the best assault rifles in the world, General Director of Rostec Sergey Chemezov said that the model combines excellent ergonomics, adaptability to different shooters and high-performance characteristics.
While being reliable, durable and easy to maintain, the AK-200 rifles series also meet the latest requirements for firearms in the world in terms of ergonomics and the ability to mount high-tech additional equipment. Owing to its high adaptability, the AK-203 Assault Rifles is also suitable for various other operators.
Localisation of AK-203
IRRPL, the joint venture, intends to completely localise the production of AK-203 rifles in India. The joint venture will be able to export its products to third countries in the future due to the factory’s capacity. In addition, the company may increase output and upgrade its manufacturing facilities to produce advanced rifles based on the Kalashnikov assault rifle platform.
In December 2021, a contract for the procurement of 6,01,427 AK-203 Assault Rifles was signed between the Ministry of Defence and IRRPL. The joint venture established between India and Russia is represented by the Defence PSUs-Advanced Weapons & Equipment India Limited (AWEIL) & Munitions India Limited (MIL) and from Russia, by Rosoboronexport (RoE) & Concern Kalashnikov (CK).