Rifles start being produced from Korwa factory in Uttar Pradesh, Army has received 27 thousand AK-203

Ronit Kawale
Ronit Kawale - Senior Editor
4 Min Read

New Delhi: The Army has started receiving Russian AK-203 assault rifles assembled in Korwa, Uttar Pradesh. The India-Russia joint venture has so far delivered 27 thousand AK-203 rifles. The delivery of the rifles was significantly delayed due to Russia's involvement in the Ukraine war and delay in payment by India. “After the initial delay, everything is now on track and 27,000 rifles have been supplied to the Army,” an official said. Another 8,000 rifles will be handed over in the next two weeks. With this, the Indian Army now has about 25 percent indigenous rifles.

Factory built in UP through joint venture between India and Russia

India had signed a deal with Russia in July 2021 for over 6.1 lakh AK-203 assault rifles. The rifles are to be manufactured by a joint venture, Indo-Russian Rifles Private Limited (IRRPL), under a contract worth over ₹5,000 crore. , IRRPL was established in 2019 between the country's then Ordnance Factory Board (now Advanced Weapons and Equipment India Limited i.e. AWEIL and Munitions India Limited i.e. MIL) and Russia's Rosoboronexport (RoE) and Kalashnikov. As per the terms of the contract, the first 70 thousand rifles are to be produced in India, with the localization limit being increased from 5% to 70% in a phased manner. The remaining rifles will be completely local. It is expected that full-scale production of AK-203 rifles will begin within 2-3 years.

There was a lot of delay and now it is being assembled in India. They are saying that the work of indigenization will continue to be very slow in future also. The question is very obvious, 'How much does it cost to produce the AK-203 rifle in India and import the more modern SIG-716 rifle?

-Sushant Singh, retired soldier

Steps towards providing indigenous weapons to the army

On the ongoing process of indigenisation, a source said it was being done in a 'very systematic manner'. “Therefore, the process will be slow,” he said. Even our initial timeline for this process of 70% indigenous content was two years. We are aiming to achieve this before then. India purchased 70 thousand AK-103 assault rifles under the deal signed in August 2021 due to repeated delays in moving forward on the deal. The army is also using these rifles.

For some time now, the Army has been trying to replace the indigenous INSAS (Indian National Small Arms System) rifles with modern rifles. The Army has inducted 66,400 of the 72,400 SIG-716 assault rifles procured under a Rs 700 crore deal with US-based Sig Sauer in February 2019, which were supplied to frontline troops involved in counter-terrorism operations. . Is. The AK-203 rifles were meant to meet the huge demand for assault rifles in the army. However, when the deal stalled over price issues, the Army decided to order another 72,400 Sig-716 rifles. Keep in mind that the rate of Russian AK-203 rifle is Rs 81,967 while the rate of American SIG-716 rifle is Rs 96,685.

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