Russia Halts Kalashnikov Rifle Orders

BBC News Izvestia03.10.2011 Russia
Russia Halts Kalashnikov Rifle Orders

Russia Halts Kalashnikov Rifle Orders

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The Russian army said it is halting orders of the famous Kalashnikov Assault Rifle until a newer model is developed by its manufacturer.

Chief of the General Staff Nikolai Makarov told Russian media that the army already had too many of the weapons in its stores and stocks of the rifle exceeded the army's needs "several times over".

A new model is expected to be ready by the end of the year.

News of the army's decision is reportedly being kept from the rifle's designer, Mikhail Kalashnikov, now 91."We do not want to take it upon ourselves to tell him," an unnamed member of his family told Russia's Izvestia newspaper."It might kill him."

The Kalashnikov, instantly recognizable, renowned for its ruggedness and regarded by some as a design classic, is said to be the world's most heavily produced rifle.

In service in Russia since the 1940s, it has been copied by manufacturers across the world. It has gone through several versions, from the original AK-47 - the AK stands for "Kalashnikov automatic" - to the AKM and latterly, the AK-74.

A spokesman for the rifle's developer, the Izhmash plant in central Russia, told Izvestia newspaper that a new model would be ready for demonstration by the end of year.

The plant would seek to increase exports and step up hunting rifle production in the meantime, the representative added.



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