Russia’s Kalashnikov Concern (formerly Izhmash) is in advanced talks to set up a joint venture in India. The maker of iconic AK-47 assault rifles is in talks with state-run as well as private sector defense players to jointly manufacture weapons in India. The Russian small arms manufacturer said it was open to sharing critical technology with its Indian partners.
Kalashnikov looking to double the contract portfolio
Kalashnikov CEO Alexei Krivoruchko told Russian news agency RIA Novosti that the company was looking to double the number of contracts from the Asia-Pacific region over the next year. However, its AK-47 rifles are now used more by non-state agents ((militants, terrorists) than by national defense personnel. AK-47 is known as the best assault rifle of the 20th century.
Russia had officially stopped supplying these automatic rifles to India for many years now. Alexei Krivoruchko said in an email interview with Press Trust of India that many Indian companies had expressed interest in joint production of Kalashnikov weapons since 2008. But the Russian company entered serious negotiations only in early 2015. The company is not engaged in any negotiations with the Indian Ministry of Defense, saying that if necessary, the Indian partner “will handle those issues.”
Alexei Krivoruchko estimated that the company and its Indian partner would have to shell out about $100 million, excluding the cost of manufacturing facilities and utilities, to start production. Mr Krivoruchko said the company was looking to produce 50,000 rifles a year to begin with, which can be scaled up in the future. He said Indians are most interested in 5.56mm and 7.62mm automatic weapons.
Kalashnikov shifts focus to Asia-Pacific
Kalashnikov showcased about 20 firearms including the AK-100 series assault rifle recently at the Defense & Security 2015 exhibition in Thailand. The Kalashnikov Concern was formed following the merger of Izhmash and Izhevsk in 2013. In the first nine months of this year, deliveries of the company’s civilian small arms skyrocketed five times in monetary terms and nine times in absolute value compared to the full-year 2014.