After Indian army, the Indian Air Force has signed a deal with Russia for acquiring 70,000 AK-103 assault rifles under emergency provisions to replace INSAS rifles.
“A deal has been finalised with Russia for direct purchase of a batch of AK-103 series of assault rifles,” one of sources said without specifying the number of rifles or the cost of procurement. According to ANI the rifles are being procured under the emergency financial powers granted to the three Services to make urgent purchases. On 23 August Indian Army also signed a deal to buy 70,000 AK-203 assault rifles from Russia.
At a time when terrorist groups operating in India are likely to get weapons left behind by the American troops in Afghanistan, the Indian Air Force (IAF) on Saturday signed a deal to acquire 70,000 AK-103 assault rifles from Russia under emergency provisions to replace its existing inventory of INSAS rifles.
Ak-103 is already in use with the Indian navy special force MARCOS, Mumbai police SWAT unit.
New AK-103 assault rifles to come within next few months
Noting that IAF has a requirement of over 1.5 lakh new assault rifles, the new AK-103 rifles are expected to arrive into the service within the next few months. This would help India strengthen its capability to tackle terrorist attacks in a much better way.
Government sources told ANI, “The contract worth around Rs 300 crore was signed last week under emergency provisions to buy 70,000 AK-103 assault rifles from Russia. The weapons would be first provided to troops in field areas like Jammu and Kashmir, Srinagar along with sensitive air bases.”
While stating that the remaining part of the requirement would be met after India and Russia sign a deal to produce the more advanced AK-203 together, sources said that the contract for the AK-203 assault rifles is being processed under the Indian Army, which requires around 6.5 lakh of these to strengthen its troops’ firepower. A small portion of the IAF requirement was met by the acquisition of around 4,000 Sig Sauer assault rifles that have been procured as part of a larger contract by the Indian Army.
In recent years, especially after the Chinese aggression on the Eastern Ladak front, India’s defence forces have hastened their modernisation of basic weapon systems. Troops on the front have already been provided with 1.5 lakh American Sig Sauers along with 16,000 Negev Machine Guns.
The AK-103 assault rifles are already in the existing inventory of the Marine Commandos of the Indian Navy, which uses them in operations in the Kashmir valley, where they have been deployed in the Wular lake. The emergency procurements of the Indian armed forces have allowed them to fill the critical gaps in their preparedness in war-fighting.
The forces have been given the freedom to choose the weapons they want to buy. The AK-103 is an upgraded version of the legendary and deadly AK-47. The rifles would also be provided to the Garud special forces, who are deployed across the country at airbases.
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 (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.
|Action||Gas operated, rotating bolt|
|Rate of fire||600 rounds/min|
|Muzzle velocity||715 m/s (2,346 ft/s)|
|Effective firing range||350 m (380 yd) at point-blank range
500 m (550 yd)
|Feed system||30-round detachable box magazine|
|Sights||Iron sights, with a dove tail side rail for mounting optical and night sights|