A joint Russian-Indian enterprise to manufacture the upgraded Kalashnikov AK-203, has produced its first batch of the assault rifles, Rosoboronexport, the Russian state agency for international arms trade, announced on Tuesday.
The enterprise, Indo-Russian Rifles Private Limited, is set to supply India’s military and aims to achieve “100% localization” of rifle production in the future, according to the agency.
“The Korwa Ordnance Factory in Amethi, Uttar Pradesh, produced the first batch of 7.62mm Kalashnikov AK-203 assault rifles. The start of deliveries to the Indian army is expected to begin shortly,” Rosoboronexport CEO Alexander Mikheev said in a statement, lauding the “reliable partnership” between Moscow and New Delhi.
The enterprise will be able to export its products to third countries, Mikheev added.
The joint venture was created late in 2021, building and expanding on previous direct sales of the weapon to India. The new localized production contract, valued at an estimated $620 million, envisioned production of over 600,000 AK-203s on Indian soil, local media reported at the time.
The AK-203 is part of the ‘series 200’ of Kalashnikov assault rifles, bringing modern small-arms ergonomics together with classic powerful caliber. The rifles boast an adjustable stock, various rails to attach additional equipment, as well as better accuracy, compared to earlier models of the weapon.