India starts licensing production of the Russian AK-203

Evgeniy Buyatov/Sputnik
It’s gonna cost you $958.

India is about to launch licensed production of Russian Kalashnikov’s AK-203 assault rifles. The manufacturing process will be conducted at a plant in Korva (Uttar Pradesh).

General Manoj Naravane, Chief of Staff of the Army of the Indian Armed Forces, stated that negotiations with the Kalashnikov Concern are close to a deal and he’s confident the agreement for the production of automatic weapons will be signed in the near future.

And according to the Russian side participating in the negotiations, the project for the licensed production of Russian AK-203 Kalashnikov assault rifles in India is indeed at the final stage of implementation. “The project is at the final stage. All technical and commercial issues have been agreed,” a source said.

According to the deal, India will produce as many as 671,427 AK-203 assault rifles. 

According to The Economic Times of India, the cost of one AK-203 produced in India under license will be 70 thousand Indian rupees (approx. $958), which is significantly less than the cost of American-made assault rifles purchased under an accelerated procedure for 89 thousand rupees (approx. $1,218) per unit.

What’s an AK-203? 

The AK-203 is a 7,62x39 mm assault rifle created specially for the Indian military.  

It has a number of ergonomic improvements compared to previous AK versions that are required in modern warfare. These include a new ergonomic handle that perfectly imitates the user’s grip, a left-folding and retractable stock, the possibility for installation of modern sighting systems and accessories, such as optical and/or optoelectronic scopes, thermal imaging and collimator sights.

Now, Indians will also be able to mount infrared illuminators onto their AKs that allow to use them in conjunction with night vision devices, laser sight, weapon lights and others, both domestic and foreign production, with a universal Picatinny rail integrated in the receiver on top, bottom and both sides of the rifle. 

What is extremely important is that the 200-series assault rifles have improved shooting accuracy. Sighting devices are mechanical, but as mentioned above, you can now mount all kinds of optic devices on an AK-203. 

The barrel is equipped with a slit flame suppressor-compensator, also different from the 100 series. If necessary, the 200-series assault rifles can be equipped with quick-release tactical silencers. 

The strength of the butt allows a person to use the weapon with an under-barrel grenade launcher or use it in hand-to-hand combat with a standard bayonet knife.

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