In a major boost to self-reliance in defence manufacturing, the central government has given its go ahead for the production of over five lakh AK-203 assault rifles at the Korwa unit in Amethi district of UP. The rifles will be manufactured in partnership with Russia.
The 7.62x39mm caliber AK-203 rifles will replace the in-service INSAS rifle, which was inducted over three decades ago, government sources said. With an effective range of 300 metres, AK-203 modern assault rifles are lightweight, robust and easy to use. The technology of these assault rifles will enhance the combat potential of soldiers to adequately meet, present and envisage operational challenges. AK-203 assault rifles will enhance the operational effectiveness of the Indian Army in counter-insurgency/counter-terrorism operations.
Sources said the project would be implemented by a special purpose joint venture called Indo-Russian Rifles Private Ltd. The joint venture is between Advanced Weapons and Equipment India Ltd and Munitions India Limited of India, and Rosoboronexport and Kalashnikov of Russia.
The project will provide business opportunities to various MSMEs and other defence industries for the supply of raw material and components, which will lead to job creation. “The project marks a significant stride towards making Uttar Pradesh a key contributor to the ascendant defence manufacturing prowess of India,” a government source said.
Noting that India has exported weapon systems and equipment worth over Rs 38,000 crore in the last seven years, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said the country aims to become an overall net exporter from a net importer in the coming years. “We have an estimated Rs 85,000 crore industry of aerospace and defence. The contribution of the private sector in this has increased to Rs 18,000 crore,” said Singh, addressing a MSMEs conclave.