Russia's arms manufacturer Kalashnikov eyes production in India, woos gadget lovers with hi-tech shotgun

Kalashnikov has been seeking new business and markets after being hit by US and EU sanctions over Russia's annexation of Crimea in 2014.
Kalashnikov aims to produce 670,000 AK-203 rifles in the next decade together with the Indian defence ministry.(Reuters)
Kalashnikov aims to produce 670,000 AK-203 rifles in the next decade together with the Indian defence ministry.(Reuters)
Published on Feb 18, 2021 06:47 PM IST
Copy Link
Reuters | | Posted by Kunal Gaurav, Moscow

Russian arms manufacturer Kalashnikov plans to start making its AK-203 assault rifle in India this year and wants to attract a wider audience with a hi-tech shotgun, chief executive Dmitry Tarasov said.

Named after the designer of the AK-47 assault rifle that has been used for decades in wars around the world, Kalashnikov has been seeking new business and markets after being hit by US and EU sanctions over Russia's annexation of Crimea in 2014.

It is targeting a 60% increase in annual revenues to more than 50 billion roubles ($675.33 million) by 2025, Tarasov told Reuters in an interview.

Featuring a built-in computer, the Ultima shotgun envisages WiFi and Bluetooth connectivity and can synchronize with smartphones. It is intended to woo younger clients such as gadget enthusiasts.

Also central to Kalashnikov's growth plans is India, where it aims to produce 670,000 AK-203 rifles in the next decade together with the Indian defence ministry.

"We are hoping to launch production of AK-203 rifles at our joint venture in India this year. I feel it is a long-term trend so other examples will follow soon," he said.

Kalashnikov launched licenced production of the AK-130 assault rifle in Armenia last year and Tarasov, 37, said it wants to deepen cooperation with Latin America, where it has a well-established relationship with Venezuela.

"We know that there is an active demand in that market," he said, but declined to provide further details.

Hi-tech shotgun

Kalashnikov sells weapons to 27 countries and produces 95% of Russia's small arms, but the US sanctions imposed in 2014 banned US entities from doing business with Kalashnikov.

The AK-203 is an advanced version of the AK-47 invented by Soviet soldier Mikhail Kalashnikov after he was wounded during World War Two.

The Ultima is an entirely new venture for the company in which state conglomerate Rostec has a 25% stake plus one share. Alan Lushnikov, a former deputy transport minister, owns a 75% stake minus one share via a firm called TKH-Invest.

"With Ultima we want to attract new customers who are not typically our target audience," said Tarasov. "We are targeting customers who want to get some drive or adrenaline. Entering a semi-game niche could be an option."

Unmanned aerial vehicles, some of which take off like a helicopter and fly like a glider carrying video cameras, are also "a very important business," he said.

Kalashnikov also sees the market in torches, knives and other branded products as promising.

SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
Topics
Close Story
QUICKREADS

Less time to read?

Try Quickreads

  • ‘Russian Salad’ on cafe menu at NATO summit leaves officials baffled

    ‘Russian Salad’ on cafe menu at NATO summit leaves officials baffled

    As international officials and journalists waited for the world leaders at the NATO summit venue on Tuesday, what baffled them was to find 'Russian Salad' on the in-house restaurant menu -- especially as at the summit, Russia was expected to be labelled as a 'security threat' due to its invasion of Ukraine. The dish was also sold out within hours.

  • Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

    Zelensky says Putin has become 'a terrorist', urges action| Top updates

    Two days after at least 18 people were killed after Russian missiles struck a shopping mall containing more than 1,000 people in the central city of Kremenchuk in Ukraine, president Volodymyr Zelensky accused the Russian president of becoming a “terrorist”. The war between Russia and Ukraine has been going on for over four months now. He further urged Russia's expulsion from the United Nations.

  • US health officials announce new monkeypox vaccination plan

    US health officials announce new monkeypox vaccination plan

    The Biden administration unveiled a new plan to vaccinate eligible Americans against monkeypox, prioritizing those who have been exposed to the virus in states with the highest infection rates. Hundreds of thousands of doses of the Jynneos vaccine from Bavarian Nordic A/S will be made available under the administration's new plan through a tiered-allocation system, the US Department of Health and Human Services said Tuesday.

  • There are various types of supernovae depending on the size and composition of the star and the power of the blast.

    Meet the 'zombie star' that survived a supernova blast

    Meet the "zombie star." The star at issue, observed with the Hubble Space Telescope, is a kind known as a white dwarf, an incredibly dense object with about the mass of the sun crammed into the size of Earth.

  • Flags flutter in the wind outside Nato headquarters in Brussels, Belgium. (AP)

    Turkey lifts veto on Finland, Sweden joining NATO, clearing path for expansion

    NATO ally Turkey lifted its veto over Finland and Sweden's bid to join the Western alliance on Tuesday after the three nations agreed to protect each other's security, ending a weeks-long drama that tested allied unity against Russia's invasion of Ukraine. The steps for Finland and Sweden's accession to NATO will be agreed on in the next two days, Finnish President Niinisto said. U.S. President Joe Biden and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson welcomed the deal.

SHARE
Story Saved
×
Saved Articles
Following
My Reads
Sign out
New Delhi 0C
Wednesday, June 29, 2022