India agrees AK-203 production with Russia

India has agreed with Russia the details of licensed production of AK-203 rifles in the state of Uttar Pradesh, the Economic Times newspaper reported quoting sources.
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Kalashnikov AK-203 in Russian basic configuration that includes a fixed buttstock and Picatinny rail, unlike the forthcoming Indian standard model (Picture source: Kalashnikov)

It said the deal worth 700 million dollars can be inked in December. It stipulates the production of 600 thousands rifles in ten years. The first batch of 70,000 Kalashnikov rifles will be delivered from Russia within the period of two years and eight months.

The newspaper said the deal has to be approved by the Defense Acquisition Council chaired by Defense Minister Rajnath Singh.

The production of AK-203 is to begin in early 2022 at the Indo-Russian Rifles Private Limited joint venture. The facility was created in March 2019 on the basis of a plant in Korwa, a town in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh.

The deal, if successful, will make India the first foreign country to produce the AK-200 series of the world-famous Kalashnikov assault rifles.


Kalashnikov AK200 family

The Kalashnikov AK200 series assault rifles are in line with all current trends in small arms development while retaining the best qualities of the AK-47, the legendary brainchild of the great Russian gunsmith Mikhail Kalashnikov, whose 100th anniversary of the birth was marked in 2019. "The Kalashnikov AK200 series rifles are our strategic product in the export area", commented Vladimir Dmitriev, Director General of Kalashnikov Concern.

It should be mentioned that Russia has dramatically upgraded its small arms portfolio in recent years. Previously, it primarily consisted of Kalashnikov AK-100th family of assault rifles and carbines, Dragunov 7.62 mm sniper rifles (SVD), Kalashnikov PKM and Pecheneg 7.62 mm general-purpose machineguns (GPMG), and Kalashnikov RPK light machineguns (LMG). Now, this portfolio includes both brand new and upgraded weapons. The current spectrum of Russian-made export-oriented firearms comprises of (Kalashnikov AK200th family of firearms (namely, AK200 and AK205 5.45mm assault rifles, AK201 and AK202 5.56mm assault rifles, and AK203 and AK204 7.62mm assault rifles), cutting-edge AK-15 7.62mm assault rifle, the upgraded Dragunov sniper rifle (SVDM), and 6S8 12.7mm anti-material rifle. However, some of those export-oriented weapons fire traditional Russian ammunition, in particular, 5.45×39 (AK200 and AK-12), 7.62×54R (PKM and Pecheneg GPMGs and SVDM sniper rifle), and 12.7×108 (6S8 anti-material rifle).

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Kalashnikov AK-204 and AK-203 (Picture source: Army Recognition)

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