Russia has signed an agreement with Saudi Arabia to implement the first stage of joint production of Kalashnikov assault rifles.
"As for the contract for the implementation of the first stage of creating a joint production of Kalashnikov assault rifles, it has been signed by the parties and is undergoing interstate approval procedures, after which it will enter into force," Russia’s Industry and Trade Minister Denis Manturov said during an interview with Kommersant newspaper today.
Riyadh will set up a plant to undertake licensed production of AK-103 assault rifles, as per older reports.
The minister is at Abu Dhabi in the U.A.E. to take part in the IDEX-2021 exhibition scheduled to take place from February 21-25.
During the previous edition of IDEX, Rostec CEO Sergey Chemezov had stated, “The Saudis want to domestically produce a large portion of the rifles -about 90% - while we would like to see less than that.”
Saudi Arabian Military Industries (SAMI) has an ambitious goal of producing 50% of defense equipment by 2030. Partnerships with Russia in this field include transfer of technology for the local production of S-400 missile system, Kornet-EM system, TOS-1A (a Soviet 220mm 30-barrel or 24-barrel multiple rocket launcher and thermobaric weapon mounted on a T-72 tank chassis), AGS-30 automatic grenade launcher and Kalashnikov AK-103 rifles. A Memorandum of Understanding pertaining to this was signed in October 2017.
General Director of Rosoboronexport, Alexander Mikheev, revealed two years ago that several countries in Africa, Middle East and Southeast Asia were seeking to manufacture AK rifles with Russia.