Last year we reported that Saudi Arabia had entered into an agreement with Russian small arms manufacturer Kalashnikov Concern’s parent company, signing a memorandum between Saudi Arabian Military Industries and Russian Rosoboronexport State Corporation.
With the IDEX-2019 International Defense Exhibition in Abu Dhabi in full swing, we have gotten an update on the partnership. Sergei Chemezov, Head of the Rostec State Corporation, Rosoboronexport’s parent company, told the press that:
The contract is in already in effect. The supplies are about to begin, all items are ready and we will ship them off soon, In the near future, we will start to build a plant. The localization level is currently being negotiated.
Alexander Mikheev, Director General of Rosoboronexport, is reported to have said on the 17th February, that:
We have signed and are now implementing a contract on the supplies of Kalashnikov assault rifles. The next stage will be the launch of production of the assault rifle for the needs of third countries as well as the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
This indicates that Rosoboronexport and Saudi Arabian Military Industries are looking to supply Saudi Arabian manufactured rifles for sale rather than just for Saudi Arabian military use. Mikheev also noted that “we will introduce this proposal to the government to implement this project. I think that there are three to four months left until the procedures of the whole project are approved.”
The number of AK-103’s which have been purchased has not been disclosed neither has the exact variant of the 103 ordered. The AK-103 is already reportedly in service with Saudi Arabian Airborne Units and Special Security Forces. The rest of the Saudi Arabian military are using 5.56x45mm rifles such as the HK33, G36 and Steyr AUG as well as the 7.62x51mm G3.