India to import 70,000 new AK-203 7.62mm assault rifles from Russia

The Kalashnikov AK-203 7.62x39mm assault rifle, this example with an optional attached grenade launcher. Photo c/o Russia Beyond.

The Indian Army will be purchase 70,000 off-the-shelf Kalashnikov AK-203 7.62x39mm assault rifles from Russia, with the deal already signed on 19 August 2021, and the first tranche of payment being prepared.

The procurement of the rifles was reported to be part of an emergency purchase program to meet the urgent operational requirements of the Indian Army.

There is an existing program to procure around 770,000 new AK-203 assault rifles, with at least 100,000 units are to be procured imported from Russia, while the rest will be license-produced by the Indo-Russian Rifles Pvt Ltd (IRRPL) at Korwa Ordnance Factory in Uttar Pradesh as part of an Inter-Governmental Agreement (IGA) between India and Russia.

India’s Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) holds 50.5 percent of shares in the IRRPL, while Kalashnikov Group holds 42 percent, and Russian state-owned arms export agency Rosoboronexport holding the remaining 7.5 percent.

The 70,000 assault rifles from Russia will be part of the 100,000 units committed as part of earlier agreements.

The AK-203 is the latest variant of the AK family of Russian assault rifles, and retains most of the original AK-47’s benefits including robust mechanics and simplicity of operation, and has been subjected to testing under extreme heat and cold.

It now boasts of better ergonomics, accuracy and rate of fire, as well as improved versatility with a Picatinny rail pre-installed on the new rifles, allowing for the installation of rifle accessories including optics, laser designators, lighting and others.

The AK-203, together with the SIG Sauer SIG716 7.62x51mm rifle,  will be replacing the unpopular Indian Small Arms System (INSAS) 5.56x45mm assault rifle, which was said to be having issues when operating at high altitudes.

[1] Financial Express
[2] Economic Times
[3] Jane’s

India to import 70,000 new AK-203 7.62mm assault rifles from Russia  India to import 70,000 new AK-203 7.62mm assault rifles from Russia Reviewed by Asia Pacific Defense Journal on August 25, 2021 Rating: 5

No comments