Concern Kalashnikov is the largest Russian manufacturing company that produces assault and sniper rifles, guided artillery projectiles and a wide range of precision weapons. The major part of the civilian products includes hunting shotguns, sporting rifles, various machines and tools.
The Concern is the flagship of the Russian small arms manufacturing sector, producing about 95% of all small arms in Russia and supplying to more than 27 countries around the world.
The Concern contains three brands: “Kalashnikov” (combat and civilian weapons)”, “Baikal” (hunting and civilian guns), and “Izhmash” (sporting rifles), also the Concern is developing new business lines that include remote weapon stations, unmanned aerial vehicles and multi-functional special-purpose boats.
Concern Kalashnikov is an important branch of the Russian military-industrial complex (MIC) and is the leading organization of the holding company developing business in the area of advanced models of military complexes.
In the Russian military-industrial complex system, Kalashnikov relates to the “Conventional Arms Industry”. The State Corporation “Rostec” holds 51% of the shares of the Concern, and private investors own the remaining 49%.
The Concern is focused on developing the following product lines:
- Military weapons (including its disposal), service and civilian small arms;
- High-precision ammunition for the artillery armament;
- Technological tools to provide operation and repair of the missile artillery and armored force vehicles armament (including means of technical maintenance and repair);
- Aviation armament and guided missiles;
- Machines, high-quality tools and workpieces;
The Concern’s list of the prospective development lines includes:
- remote weapon stations;
- unmanned aerial vehicles;
- Multi-functional special-purpose boats.
Small Arms Manufactured in Izhevsk
High reliability and operational simplicity are two key factors that make the Kalashnikov weapons so unique.
Since its founding in 1807, the Izhevsk Mechanical Plant (today the Concern Kalashnikov) has been supplying the Russian army with firearms and melee weapons. From the days of the Patriotic War of 1812, every significant military victory that Russia has scored was attributable to the efforts of the Izhevsk gunsmiths.
Concern Kalashnikov has been developing and producing small arms - and its core expertise lies there. At the present time, the design center is working on more than 50 advanced projects being developed for the military and Special Forces units of the Russian Federation and for civilian customers. Such projects include the development of pistols, assault rifles, self-loading sniper rifles and automatic grenade launchers.
The Kalashnikov assault rifle is the company’s best known product. The genius of simplicity and the unique blend of its design features make it the greatest rifle of the 20th century adopted by the force structures of Russia and hundreds of other countries.
Today the company produces the fourth generation of the so-called “hundred series” of Kalashnikov assault rifles, such as the АК-101, АК-102, АК-103, АК-104, and the АК-105. The fifth generation Kalashnikov the АК-12 assault rifle f is about to pass the state trials.
The Concern equips the Russian Special Forces with sniper rifles, such as the SVD, SVDS, SVDM, SV-98, SV-99, and law enforcement agencies with “Vityaz-SN” submachine guns, 18.5 KS-K shotguns, and other gun models.
The Concern manufactures the military-use products under the “Kalashnikov” brand.
Many models of the civilian weapons are based upon the design of the famous Kalashnikov assault rifle. Such models include, for example, the absolutely new civilian rifles “Saiga-MK 107”, “Saiga-9”, and “Saiga-12, ver.340” based upon the AK «hundred series» and other small arms samples.
“Saiga-MK107” is based on the advanced AK-107 assault rifle. The major advantage of this model is the lack of impulses generated by heavy reciprocating parts which makes it possible to fire accurate and rapid shots.
“Saiga-9”, the successor of the submachine gun “Vityaz-SN”, is new both on the national and the international markets. The carbine rifle shows high reliability and demonstrates many similarities with the military sample which draws customers’ attention.
In 2015, the Concern introduced the new shotgun “Saiga 12, ver.340”. The design was developed by the Concern Kalashnikov in close cooperation with the top athletes of the Russian Shooting Sport Federation who duly appreciated the reliability of the weapon and its total efficiency during the IPSC World Championship held in Italy in 2015.
For the first time all the open division Russian shooters picked up a convincing victory utilizing the new "Saiga 12" version 340, which recently entered the retail market.
The new model features a reinforced receiver, a 10-round magazine and a system that provides faster reloading. The low recoil is attributed to the muzzle brake. The shotgun delivers the highest level of reliability and can be used both by the army and the police units.
There’s no hunter over the age of thirty in the former USSR who has never held in his hands a rifle manufactured in Izhevsk. “Izh-17”, “Izh-18”, “Izh-27”, and “Izh-58” models are dispersed throughout the country from Kamchatka to Turkmenia. The guns serve faithfully both the professional hunters and amateurs.
The mass production of the hunting shotguns began in the middle of the 20th century. The model range then was not as wide as today including only of over and under shotguns, and single-barreled guns.
The dissolution of the USSR brought changes into legislation, and firearms became accessible to amateur hunters. As a result, both conversion weapons such as “Saiga” or “Tiger”, and hunting rifles like “Los” or “Bars” became available on the market, and all continue to be manufactured by the Concern Kalashnikov (previously known as “Izhmash”).
Izhevsk Mechanical Plant (or IZHMEKH) played an equally important role. It has expanded the basic product line by offering models that use more powerful Magnum cartridges and combination guns. Also it started to develop absolutely new models – like self-loading and pump-action shotguns. The developing Russian market has shown interest in foreign brands that represented a major challenge to the weapons manufactured in Izhevsk. Despite all the difficulties, both Izhevsk plants managed to stay afloat and occupied its niche in the market offering reasonably priced, reliable and long-life weapons.
Arms manufacture is considered to be one of the most conservative industrial sectors as it preserves its conventional designs for decades (especially if they proved the efficiency and consistency), but the modern market requires a more flexible response to demand, regular restyling of old models and developing of new ones.
As both plants are part of the Concern Kalashnikov, one of the highest priorities for the team now is the rapid modernization of the old models and their substitution by new ones that comply fully with the demands of the world market.
In the nearest future, it is planned to upgrade the МР-155 model (its ergonomics, bolt carrier reliability, wear-resistant properties, etc.), the МР-43 model (new stock, ejector, improved firing mechanism, safety, and swivel), МР-27 model (new stock, better appearance), “Los-7” (new covering of metal parts, ergonomic stock, more reliable magazine fixing, changes in inclination of the grooves), “Bars-4” (same improvements as in “Los-7”, introducing new calibers).
The upgraded shotguns and carbines will be gradually substituted or updated with new advanced developments, such as the МР-144/142, and the МР-234.
Working on various concepts is another significant activity area. Throughout history, there have been developed many concepts, but few of them have ever been launched into batch production. This is best illustrated in the example with the first version of the “Maral” rifle that was developed in the 1990s. Today, the testing sample is undergoing trials that may result in modifications and batch production.
“Baikal” is another brand that is supposed to cover all the hunting guns produced in Izhevsk. Further, the product line will include associated goods of the highest quality, such as thermal underwear and hunting outfit.
All the weapons, clothes, and other associated goods produced under the “Baikal” brand, undergo long field trials before entering the market. By doing so, we can offer hunters only the most reliable, well designed and processed goods.
Some of the latest trials held in Kamchatka, was related to the “Maral” prototype, fall outfit for hunters, and two models of thermal underwear.
For many years, the Concern Kalashnikov has been the leading Russian sporting firearms manufacturer and the only company in Russia producing biathlon rifles under the “Biathlon-7” brand in various versions. The first sporting rifle was produced in 1949 under the guidance of Yevgeny F. Dragunov. Starting from 1950, there have been various types of sporting rifles produced that brought many world records and Olympic titles to several generations of Russian and foreign sportsmen.
As one of the few defense enterprises, Izhmash (now Concern Kalashnikov) was requested to develop a specific weapon for the Russian biathletes in order to provide them with a quality weapon that they can train and compete with. The introduction of the Biathlon rifle was officially proclaimed on March, 2nd, 1958 at the first World Cup in Austria. Since then, for over 50 years, the Biathlon rifle, initially designed by the Izhevsk gunsmiths, continues to be immensely popular with sportsmen competing in Russian and international sports events.
The sporting rifle is produced under the “IZHMASH” brand.
As part of the new private sector development strategy to 2020, the Concern is now expanding product lines into new market segments.
«Rybinsk Shipyard», one of the Concern’s group companies, plans to develop and manufacture multi-functional boats designed to be used by specialized agencies.
The area of products’ application includes services relating to counter-piracy and counter-terrorism, transportation of assault combat groups to shore, fire support, and search and rescue operations.
Unmanned aerial vehicles
The Concern plans to develop projects producing UAVs in Russia. On the basis of ZALA Aero, it is planned to develop and manufacture unmanned aerial vehicles, and mobile ground control stations. The ZALA brand is slated for joining the Kalashnikov Concern brand portfolio.
One of the most promising projects is the new land and water-based remote weapon station (MBDU).
It has a two-axis gyro-stabilizing device and an automatic target tracking system that can track 10 static and one mobile target simultaneously.
The station is equipped with armored protection against 7.62 x 54R mm armor-piercing bullets. The MBDU can also be fitted with one of four available weapons: 7.62 mm or 12.7 mm machine guns; 30 mm AG-17; or new 40 mm grenade launchers.
Kalashnikov is implementing a development strategy to 2020 which clearly delineates the major priorities, such as manufacturing a wider range of competitive products, increasing overall production process efficiency, building a management structure and creating a comfortable working environment for all the employees.
The company’s 2014-2017 investment program aims at providing a comprehensive update on the machinery equipment, reducing the production space and costs, and increasing productivity.
During 2015 the Concern launched a production system development program to 2020. The program plans to quadruple the labor productivity values, to cut the product costs and the working capital in half, to develop new products and release them to market four times faster.