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The first lot of about 7.5 lakh AK-203 rifles is expected to roll out from Korwa Ordinance Factory in Amethi, Uttar Pradesh until the end of year 2019 and eventually replace INSAS rifles being used by the Army and Paramilitary forces. AK-203 is the latest and most advanced version of the AK-47 rifle which is considered as the most reliable firearm in its category.


An INSAS rifle

  • INSAS (INdian Small Arms System) is a family of infantry arms consisting of an assault rifle and a light machine gun.
  • Manufacturer: Ordinance Factories Board.
  • ORDINANCE FACTORIES BOARD: It is an industrial organisation under the Ministry of Defence, Government of India founded in 1802. It is engaged in development, production, marketing, etc of a wide product range (small arms, missile, military vehicles, etc) in the areas of air, land and sea systems. Examples- MCIWS, Rocket propelled grenade launcher, Arjuna tank, IAS Su-30 MKI’s rockets, bombs, missiles, etc. It is often called the “Forces behind the Armed Forces” of India.
  • INSAS was adopted in 1990 and its first combat use was in Kargil War, 1999.
  • But during the Kargil War, INSAS faced many issues At the high altitudes of the Himalayas complaints of jamming, magazine cracking due to cold, oil spray, injuries during firing practise, going into automatic mode by itself, etc were received.
  • A rifle being used shall be reliable and shall work in a range of climatic and terrain conditions ranging from extreme cold (like in Siachen glaciers) to extreme hot (like in the Thar deserts). It needs to fire instantly when needed and issues like jamming, etc must not be there in a combat situation.

AK 203:

  • AK series (known in Russia as ‘Avtomat Kalashnikova) of rifles are a series of automatic rifles of Russia (erstwhile Soviet Union) based on the design of Mikhail Kalashnikov.
  • The AK series of rifles are known for not getting jammed and they can work in extreme climatic and terrain conditions. They are effective in sand, soil and water.


AK 203 rifle

  • They are very
  • Forces in India are using variants AKM and AK-103 at present.
  • AK 203 are going to replace the INSAS rifles in India. In the initial phase, 7.5 lakh units of AK-203 will be supplied to the defence forces. It is planned to be provided to state police forces in the next phase.
  • AK-203 rifles will be produced in India under ‘Make in India’ This can make the production of these rifles a profitable industry in future and India may export it to other nations as well.
  • AK-203 has an effective range of 400 metres and is considered to be 100% precise.
  • The bullet of AK-203 has 7.62 mm calibre as against 56 mm of INSAS bullets. So, bullets of AK-203 are more powerful. A ‘calibre’ is the approximate internal diameter of a gun barrel.

Diagram of a rifle showing its different parts

  • The metallurgy of AK-203 is better than the INSAS rifles. It is also light in weight even after having a high calibre.
  • The AK-203 rifle is designed in a nation which is close to the Arctic. So, it is designed to function at sub-zero temperatures. It shall work effectively in Siachen glaciers. AK-series of rifles also work in desert conditions.
  • AK-203 can function in extreme conditions with low maintenance.
  • Using better equipment improves a person’s ergonomics (efficiency in working environment). S0, AK-203 will improve ergonomics of the security forces.


AK-203 is an upgraded and very advanced weapon which is being inducted in the Russian forces simultaneously. It carries with it the reliability of AK series of rifles. The future use of AK-203 for security forces in India is a very welcome step and modernisation of the security forces is the need of the hour.