Russia’s Kalashnikov Group is all set to establish a rifles production plant in Venezuela. the President of Venezuela, Adan Chavez, announced in October 2021 that the construction of a plant for the production of Kalashnikov assault rifles in Venezuela is planned to be completed in the second half of 2022. However, on May 27, the General Director of Kalashnikov, Vladimir Lepin, told Interfax that production of AK-103 assault rifles and ammunition in Venezuela had been plagued with logistics problems, causing delays. Kalashnikov Group will complete the construction of the plant for colleagues in Venezuela, this will definitely happen.
The AK-103 is an assault rifle designed by Russian small arms designer Mikhail Kalashnikov in 1994. It is an AK-100 derivative of the AK-74M that is chambered for the 7.62x39mm M43 cartridge, similar to the AKM. The AK-103 can be fitted with a variety of sights, including night vision and telescopic sights, plus a knife-bayonet or a grenade launcher like the GP-34. Newer versions can fit Picatinny rails, allowing more accessories to be mounted. It uses plastic components where possible instead of wood or metal, with such components being the pistol grip, handguards, folding stock and depending on the type, the magazine.
Sergei Chemezov, head of Rostec, alleged in 2019 that the U.S. was interfering with the construction of the plant. Kalashnikov Group are also building a plant for the production of Kalashnikov assault rifles and ammunition. Because of the sanctions, construction is constantly slowed down – either the electricity will be turned off there, or the components will not give an opportunity to deliver machines. There was a period – it stood for a month, it was impossible to work. The electricity was turned off there, it was impossible to work. And then the Americans did not allow us to get machines there. They were quietly imported anyway.
Venezuela is the largest operator of Russian weapons and military equipment in the Latin American region. Russia has also provided Venezuela with a state loan for the purchase of military equipment. The amount of military-technical cooperation contracts between Russia and Venezuela is estimated at $11 billion. Since 2005, Russia has delivered Antey-2500, Buk-M2E, Igla MANPADS, Su-30MK2 fighters, Mi- 35M and Mi-17, as well as armored vehicles (T-72, BMP-3 and BTR-80 tanks) and small arms, including 100,000 Kalashnikov assault rifles of the new AK-103 modification to Venezuela.