Indian Army Receives 27,000 AK-203 Assault Rifles from Russian-Indian Joint Venture

This venture positions India as the first foreign country to manufacture the 200th series of Kalashnikov rifles.
  • Defensemirror.com bureau
  • 09:07 AM, May 21, 2024
  • 841
Indian Army Receives 27,000 AK-203 Assault Rifles from Russian-Indian Joint Venture
AK-203 Assault Rifle @Rosoboronexport

The Indian Army has received 27,000 Kalashnikov AK-203 assault rifles produced by the Russian-Indian joint venture Indo-Russian Rifles Private Limited (IRRPL) in Uttar Pradesh.

According to The Hindu, official sources confirmed that initial delays have been overcome, and an additional 8,000 rifles are expected to be delivered within the next two weeks. “Another 8,000 will be handed over in the next two weeks. Indigenisation level achieved is around 25%,” an official was quoted as saying by the newspaper.

In March 2019, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the formation of Indo-Russian Rifles Private Limited (IRRPL) to manufacture AK-203 rifles domestically. A contract for this initiative was signed in July 2021. The production facility, located near Korva in the Amethi district, is set to supply approximately 670,000 AK-203 rifles to the Indian armed forces, with 600,000 of these rifles being produced locally at the IRRPL plant. This venture positions India as the first foreign country to manufacture the 200th series of Kalashnikov rifles.

The IRRPL was established in 2019 through a partnership between the former Ordnance Factory Board [now Advanced Weapons and Equipment India Limited (AWEIL) and Munitions India Limited (MIL)] from India and Rosoboronexport (RoE) and Kalashnikov Concern of Russia. According to earlier reports, the contractual terms stipulate that the first 70,000 rifles will be produced in India with a phased increase in localization from 5% to 70%. The remaining rifles will be produced with 100% localization. Full-scale production of the AK-203 rifles is expected to be achieved within 2-3 years.

Regarding the ongoing process of indigenization, a source stated that it was being conducted in an "extremely systematic manner." The source noted, "So, the process will be slow. Even our initial timelines catered for two years for this process of 70% indigenous content," adding, "We are aiming to achieve it before that."

In the context of repeated delays in concluding the deal, India procured and inducted 70,000 AK-103 assault rifles off the shelf under a deal signed in August 2021. The Indian Army has been seeking to replace the indigenous INSAS (Indian National Small Arms System) rifles with a modern alternative. To date, the Army has inducted 66,400 of the 72,400 SIG-716 assault rifles procured under a deal inked in February 2019 with Sig Sauer of the U.S., which have been provided to frontline troops involved in counter-insurgency operations. The AK-203 rifles were intended to meet the larger demand for assault rifles. However, due to delays in finalizing the deal over pricing issues, the Army opted for a repeat order of another 72,400 SIG-716 rifles.

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