Kalashnikovs set to be made in Saudi Arabia

The AK103 is the latest generation Kalashnikov assault rifle currently offered by Russia’s Izhmash. (Photo courtesy: Kalashnikov Encyclopaedia.com)
Updated 06 October 2017

Kalashnikovs set to be made in Saudi Arabia

LONDON: The world’s most famous assault rifle is set to be made in Saudi Arabia under a string of preliminary defense deals signed with Russia. 
Russia’s Rosoboronexport said it has struck an initial licensing agreement that could lead to the Kalashnikov being made in the Kingdom. 
The agreement covers the “production of Kalashnikov AK-103 assault rifles and cartridges for various purposes,” a statement said.
A memorandum of understanding between the two sides could also see Russia supply Saudi Arabia with Kornet anti-tank guided missile systems, rocket launchers and automatic grenade launchers.
The preliminary deal also involves the transfer of knowledge in the defense field to Saudi Arabia. The Kingdom has set a target for half of its significant defense budget to be spent within the country. 
This plan now includes the “localization” of the AK-103 assault rifle and its ammunition, according to the Saudi Press Agency.
The Kalashnikov assault rifle is famed for its reliability in wars from Vietnam to Afghanistan. There are reckoned to be at least 100 million AK-47s assault rifles in circulation.
The deal comes as the Russian rifle maker is seeking to attract private sector investment.
Kalashnikov wants to increase the production of arms by as much as 80 percent this year and create 1,700 jobs in the process.
The AK-47 model was developed by Mikhail Kalashnikov after World War II, and was inspired by complaints he had heard from Russian soldiers about their rifles while he was recovering from a wound in 1942. 
It has been the standard military issue rifle in Russia since 1949.


DiplomaticQuarter: Chinese envoy, Saudi minister discuss ways to strengthen ties

Updated 36 min 34 sec ago

DiplomaticQuarter: Chinese envoy, Saudi minister discuss ways to strengthen ties

  • Saudi Arabia and China are comprehensive strategic partners with strong trade exchanges

RIYADH: Chinese Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Chen Weiqing called on Saudi Minister of Islamic Affairs, Dawah and Guidance Sheikh Abdullatif Al-Asheikh at his office in Riyadh, where they exchanged views on strengthening mutual cooperation.

Discussed at the meeting were issues of mutual interest to enhance bilateral cooperation, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

After the meeting, the Chinese ambassador tweeted: “I was honored to meet with the minister of Islamic affairs, and we exchanged views on strengthening the dialogue on civilizations and friendship between people of the two countries and issues of common interests.”

Earlier, Weiqing met Abdul Aziz Al-Owaisheq, assistant secretary-general for political affairs and negotiations of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).

He was accompanied by his delegation of officials from the Chinese Embassy in Riyadh.

During the meeting, they discussed ways to enhance joint cooperation, in accordance with the agreements signed within the framework of the strategic partnership between the two sides. 

They also discussed the latest developments in regional and international politics, issues of common interest, and their upcoming joint meetings.

Commenting on the meeting, the Chinese ambassador tweeted: “I am pleased to exchange views with the assistant secretary-general for political affairs and negotiations of the GCC about developing relationship between China and the council.”

Saudi Arabia and China are comprehensive strategic partners with strong trade exchanges and are keen on continuing their close bilateral relations and developing them into a long-term strategic partnership protecting mutual interests. 

Saudi Arabia is one of China’s top crude oil suppliers and an important market for its exports.