In a much-needed move, it has been reported that India and Russia are set to enter into an agreement that will pave the way for the production of 650,000 Kalashnikov AK-103 assault in India for Army’s infantry units. Apart from fulfilling the needs of the infantry units in India, this is going to be a major push in the direction of ‘Make in India’ initiative. The plan is to produce AK-103 rifles that will progressively replace the INSAS and AK-47 rifles, currently used by the armed forces. It has been reported by LiveFist that paperwork for Kalashnikov rifle deal is ready and detailed documents have been cleared in this respect.
An inter-governmental agreement (IGA) for a joint venture between the JSC Kalashnikov Concern and India’s Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) will be signed by the end of this year. OFB is going to hold 60.5 per cent stake in this joint venture. The facilities will be raised in India for the manufacture of AK-103 rifles. These rifles will be produced first of all for the Indian Army on a priority basis and then for other Indian customers (including the Central Armed Police Forces) and finally for export.
Sources said, “Technical and financial details of the deal are being finalized, and it by the end of 2018 it will be ready to be signed.” A Russian official told LiveFist, “The first AK-103s can come out of the factory soon after the agreement and the commercial contracts are signed. So, within less than a year, the Indian MoD can meet its immediate urgent requirement for these weapons.” Therefore, this deal is going to be a major game changer for India and will fulfill one of the most basic needs of the infantry troops in a short span of time.
The AK-100 series have impressive design features- an attachment for mounting under-barrel grenade launchers, a folding plastic butt and a standard mounting rail for installation of optical and night sights; a more sturdy breech locking assembly allowing the use of new higher-performance cartridges; lower total weight of simultaneously moving parts and a muzzle brake-compensator, which provide reduced recoil momentum, increased weapon stability upon firing and lower fire dispersion in automatic fire mode. All these features make the weapon lethal and give it immense firepower along with stability and reduced recoils. Effective and efficient rifles are a basic need of the Armed Forces. With such world-class rifles set to be inducted, the Indian security forces are going to get a major boost.
Currently, the Indian Army is equipped with the INSAS rifles. The 5.56 caliber Indian Small Arms System (INSAS) was progressively introduced into service and was effective since 1999. However, the rifle suffers some design flaws and poor quality control during mass production. Despite the best efforts of DRDO, it has not been able to match the expectations. The rifle was based on the famous AK 47 assault rifle and herein lies the central issue with the INSAS. It is based on phone generation technology while the world has moved on to the next generation. Even though the DRDO introduced upgraded versions of the INSAS- INSAS 1C and Ghatak, the same cannot make much difference because the central design is based on the previous generation technology.
According to sources, 7.62×51 assault rifles have already been introduced in the Pakistani army which purchased them from Heckler and Koch. This makes it clear that even Pakistan has moved towards upgraded rifles for its infantry units and in such a backdrop, it was an imperative that India gets better rifles for its infantry soldiers. In this sense, the Kalashnikov deal comes as a major boost for India and the Indian Army.