AK 203 deal: Delivery of Initial batch of rifles

As a part of larger contract to manufacture AK 203 assault rifles in India, the armed forces received first batch of 70,000 rifles from Russia.

Highlights

  • The first batch has been delivered at a fast pace, on request by India, amid Covid-19 pandemic.
  • First batch is likely to be used by the air force.
  • Rifles to be manufactured at Amethi factory will be delivered to the army. Indian army is the main customer for rifles, with a requirement of more than 600,000 AK 203s.

Technology Transfer

The AK rifles are being manufactured under a complete technology transfer clause. This clause will also enable the exports of rifles to friendly foreign nations in future. Rifles will be manufactured by the Indo Russian Rifles Private Limited Joint Venture between Russian Rosboronexport and Advanced Weapons & Equipment India Ltd (erstwhile OFB).

Biggest defence deal

The deal for AK 203 rifles was signed in December 2021. The deal of worth Rs 5,124-crore is the biggest defence deal between both the countries in recent years. Under the deal, Russian side gave an assurance to manufacture with technology transfer within two to three years. Furthermore, Russia has been sending technical teams to assist Indian partners.

Korwa Rifle Factory

Indo-Russia Rifles Private Limited (IRRPL) is a rifle-manufacturing facility, established at Korwa in Amethi district of Uttar Pradesh. It will manufacture the AK-200 variant of Kalashnikov family of rifles. The factory is a joint-venture of Ordnance Factory Board of India and Kalashnikov Concern of Russia. In it, Rosoboronexport holds a minority stake. The factory will produce 750,000 AK-203. The factory is also being upgraded with modern production line, in a bid to manufacture latest version of the Kalashnikov rifles. A small arms range has also been set up at the factory, to conduct acceptance trials by the armed forces before taking delivery.

AK-203 Rifles

AK-203 rifles are a magazine-fed, gas-operated, select fire assault rifle. It has been designed to chamber 7.62×39mm cartridge. It is one of the latest iterations of AK series of assault rifles. It was originally designed by Mikhail Kalashnikov.

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