IZHEVSK (URALS), August 6 (RIA Novosti) – Russia will build two factories for production of the famous Kalashnikov assault rifle and ammunition in Venezuela by 2010, a Russian arms manufacturer said Monday.
The Urals-based Izhevsk Mechanical Plant (IMP) earlier fulfilled a contract to supply 100,000 AK-103 assault rifles to Venezuela, and signed a new contract licensing production of Kalashnikov rifles in the Latin American country.
“We will begin construction of two plants in Venezuela at the end of 2007,” Vladimir Gorodetsky, the IMP general director told a news conference dedicated to the 60th anniversary of the famous small arms brand.
“One plant will manufacture AK-103 assault rifles and another plant will produce 7.62-mm ammunition for the rifle,” the official said.
He said the contract, whose amount was not disclosed, specified construction of both plants at one site and the transfer of all related technologies and production licenses to Venezuela.
“It is an absolutely legitimate license on the production of small arms in Venezuela legally purchased by the country,” Gorodetsky said, adding that the contract also envisioned training of personnel and after sales maintenance.
The IMP official said Russia and Venezuela are discussing details for a new agreement on the supply of other types of small arms, including the Dragunov sniper rifle, to the South American state led by outspoken Socialist leader, Hugo Chavez.
“Out goal is to re-equip the Venezuelan army with modern types of small arms, grenade launchers, and sniper rifles,” he said.
Oil-rich Venezuela is a major purchaser of Russian weapons and hardware. In 2005-2006, Venezuela ordered weaponry from Russia worth $3.4 billion, including 24 Su-30MK2V Flanker fighters, Tor-M1 air defense missile systems, Mi-17B multi-role helicopters, Mi-35 Hind E attack helicopters and Mi-26 Halo heavy transport helicopters.
Russia has repeatedly stated that it would actively participate in the modernization of the Venezuelan armed forces until 2013.