New Delhi: After a long search to replace the ageing and underperforming INSAS rifles in service with the Indian military, the efforts have finally reaped. India and Russia will sign a deal to Make-in-India AK-103 rifles to be supplied to the Indian security forces. These rifles will soon replace the ageing INSAS and AK-47 rifles.
The AK-103 assault rifle is a derivative of the AK-74M chambered for the 7.62×39mm M43 round, similar to the older AKM. The AK-103 can be fitted with a variety of sights, including night vision and telescopic sights, plus a knife-bayonet or a grenade launcher. It uses plastic components where possible instead of wood or metal, with such components being the pistol grip, handguards and stock.
The deal will be signed at the end of the year and it will be also laid out the framework for a JV between JSC Kalashnikov Concern and India’s Ordnance Factory Board. The JV will have OFB holding 50.5% ownership and 49.5% with Kalashnikov. As of now, 650,000 7.62mm Kalashnikov rifles will be made at an OFB-Kalashnikov factory, which will be raised soon. Indian Army will receive the rifles on a priority basis to equip the frontline infantry units.
Protective coatings ensure excellent corrosion resistance of metal parts. Forearm, magazine, butt stock and pistol grip are made of high strength plastic. The AK-104 is a compact version of the AK-103. It has a muzzle brake derived from the older AKS-74U combined with a shorter barrel. It is also chambered for 7.62×39mm ammunition.
The JV will be a huge boost to the domestic rifle production and development. India has been struggling hard to develop a worthy rifle, with some prototypes made, none seems to have caught the Indian Army’s interest. The JV opens up scope for joint research and development and could also export to foreign users.
The AK-103 is one of the most advanced in the AK series. It sports foldable plastic butt, mounting rail for attaching different sights. weapon stability during automatic firing and more. The addition of the rifle will phase out the modern rifle shortage in Indian Army. Another tender for phasing out carbines is in its final stages.