The rifles factory in Amethi is set to get an order to manufacture a record 6.7 lakh Kalashnikovs soon, with the Army clearing the technical gates and commercial bid likely to be submitted by next month. The Indo-Russian Rifles Private Limited joint venture for production of AK 203 assault rifles is likely to get the go-ahead at an acquisition meeting later this month and will move to the next stage of signing of the contract to start manufacturing.
While the factory in Amethi was formally inaugurated in March, orders are yet to be placed as they had to go through the acquisition process of negotiating technical and commercial terms. ET has learnt that as per the plan, Russia will transfer complete technology on the modern assault rifle to India.
In the initial phase, 6.7 lakh rifles will be made for the Army and the number will increase later to at least 7.5 lakh as requirements of other forces are also added to the order. To achieve technology transfer, it is planned that after the first one lakh rifles, all components of the weapon system will be produced in India.
A top Army officer said the joint venture is a good example of how India has achieved technology transfer through planned acquisitions. The joint venture to produce Kalashnikov rifles has been described as the ‘fastest’ created by Russia for an Indian venture. The factory has already started getting functional with the supply of equipment to manufacture weapons and in an exception, a serving Major General of the Army has been tasked to head it.
The project is expected to produce AK 203 rifles that will cost close to $1000 each.