Assault Rifle’s New Successor

Assault Rifle’s New Successor

Photo INSAS Wikimedia

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India has been searching for a successor to its unreliable INSAS rifle for a long time. The solution has been finally found in the Kalashnikov AK-203. Russian President Vladimir Putin and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi have recently inaugurated a new, jointly-administered AK-203 production venture at the Korwa small arms production plant in Northeastern India. 

The AK-203, a 7.62х39 export variant of Kalashnikov new AK-12, boasts across-the-board performance improvements as compared with its INSAS counterpart.

President Putin greeted the occasion saying “The new joint venture will manufacture world-famous Kalashnikov assault rifles of the newest 200 series and eventually will reach full localization of production. Thus, the Indian defense-industrial sector will have the opportunity to fulfill the needs of national security agencies in this category of small arms, resting upon advanced Russian technologies.”

The AK-203 eschews the infamous jamming and temperature operability problems plaguing the INSAS rifle, while boasting superior a lighter weight, shorter length, and modern assault rifle ergonomics. The latter includes polymer handguards, a picatinny rail, and an adjustable buttstock; while individually negligible, these features add up to an overall improved handling experience, according to

But the deal, signed for a whopping 750,000 AK-203 rifles with 40,000 to be directly imported, is no less significant from the perspective of the Russian arms export business. Rosoboronexport– Russia’s official defense exporting agency– hopes that this deal will give Kalashnikov a foothold in the Indian firearms industry for decades to come. 

Kalashnikov’s previous efforts to expand into the Indian market stalled, among other reasons, due to the Indian preference for assault rifles chambered in 7.62x51mm NATO.