Over 5 lakh AK-203 assault rifles to be manufactured in Uttar Pradesh
- In a major development, which will provide much-needed fillip to the defence manufacturing in the country, the government has approved the plan for the production of more than 5 lakh AK-203 assault rifles at Korwa, Amethi UP.
- The manufacturing will be done in partnership with Russia, which reflects the deepening partnership between the two nations in the defence sector.
- Further, the project will be implemented by a special purpose Joint Venture called Indo-Russian Rifles Private Ltd (IRRPL).
- Under the Make-in-India initiative, as many as 5 lakh AK203 assault rifles will be manufactured at a unit in Amethi for the Indian Army's infantry forces.
- A derivative of the AK47, which is part of the Kalashnikov assault rifle family, the AK203 will replace the Indian Army’s standard-issue 7.62 mm INSAS rifles.
- It is noteworthy that the Indian Army's Rashtriya Rifles (RR) units and infantry regiments are some of the largest users of Kalashnikovs.
AK-203 rifle: Adding firepower to the defence forces
- Considered as the latest and most advanced version of the AK-47 rifle, the AK–203 is a select-fire assault rifle, gas-operated, magazine-fed, designed to chamber 7.62×39mm cartridge.
- Designed originally by Mikhail Kalashnikov (Russian Military Engineer), the firearm was originally named AK-103M and it was renamed AK-203 in 2018.
- The advanced rifle is reliable, durable and easy to maintain, hence it should be considered as the perfect partner to the Indian Defence Forces as it will provide better ergonomics, accuracy and density of fire.
Replacing Indian Army’s INSAS rifles
- Under the deal, the AK203 will replace the Indian Army’s standard-issue 7.62 mm INSAS rifles.
- The INSAS or Indian Small Arms System is designed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and it was inducted into service in the 1990s.
- The INSAS has a chrome-plated bore and the barrel has a six-groove rifling.
- A comparison of the AK-203 and the INSAS shows that the former rifle is lighter, shorter and deadlier.