Venezuelan Kalashnikov Factory to be Operational By the End of the Year

    Venezuelan paratroopers with AK-103s

    Venezuelan paratroopers with AK-103s

    For many years we at TFB have been following the progress of Venezuela’s efforts to build a factory and produce AK-pattern rifles. In recent years 2019 has been the projected start date for production. Well, it’s now 2019 and according to Russian media sources everything is on track for Venezuelan AKs to start rolling off the production line before the end of the year.

    We first reported on Venezuela’s indigenous rifle production way back in 2013. More recently in 2016, it was announced that production at a rifle plant would begin in 2019, with the factory also said to be producing Catatumbo sniper rifles. Back in April last year I reported that the plant would begin to manufacture AK-103s in 2019. With the Venezuelan defence minister General Vladimir Lopez saying:

    The plant will begin its work by the end of next year, the year 2019. We constantly monitor the construction works. It should be noted that this plant is of strategic importance for Venezuela’s independence and its armed forces.

    The project has been beset by a number of problems including the collapse of the Russian construction company that was contracted to build Venezuela’s two new AK production plants. Most recently TASS have reported that production is on schedule with an official from the Russian company, Rosoboronexport, partnered with Venezuela’s state-owned Compañía Anónima Venezolana de Industrias Militares (CAVIM) on the project that “the timeframe to launch the plant has been clarified and nothing will prevent these plans from being implemented within the agreed timeframe.”

    Venezuelan AK-103s coming soon?

    Speaking at the recent IDEX 2019 exposition, Sergei Chemezov CEO of Rostec – Rosoboronexport and Kalashnikov Concern’s parent company, said: “We have fulfilled all our obligations and only the construction of the production facility for Kalashnikov assault rifles has not yet been completed. This work will be fulfilled by the end of the year.”

    The plant is planned to produce up to 25,000 AK103 rifles per year while a new ammunition plant will manufacture 50 million+ rounds of ammunition. It remains to be seen if the long-promised factory opens on time.

    Sources: 1 2 3

    Matthew Moss

    _________________________________________________________________________ – Managing Editor – Managing Editor

    Matt is a British historian specialising in small arms development and military history. He has written several books and for a variety of publications in both the US and UK. He also runs Historical Firearms, a blog that explores the history, development and use of firearms. Matt is also co-founder of The Armourer’s Bench, a video series on historically significant small arms.

    Here on TFB he covers product and current military small arms news.

    Reach Matt at: [email protected]