Production at the long-planned and troubled Kalashnikov factory in Venezuela reportedly edges closer as politicians announce production is scheduled to begin rifle in late 2019. The construction of the plant was first confirmed way back in 2006.
The Venezuelan defence minister Vladmir Lopez has confirmed that the country’s Kalashnikov plant is due to begin rifle production by the end of 2019. Lopez told Russian media:
The plant will begin its work by the end of next year, the year 2019. We constantly monitor the construction works. It should be noted that this plant is of strategic importance for Venezuela’s independence and its armed forces.
Kalashnikov AK-103 Rifle (Kalashnikov Concern)
The construction of the plant has suffered a series of delays since its initial announcement. Last year Venezuela’s Vice-President for Economics and Finance, Castro Soteldo, told media outlets that the rifle plant was expected to achieve operational capacity in 2018. But the new report matches estimates released back in December 2016, when Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin told the press, during a visit to Caracas, that: “We expect the plant producing AK-103 assault rifles and munitions to run at full capacity in 2019. The issues that existed some two or three years ago have been solved.”
As Hrachya previously reported these ‘issues’ were the collapse of the Russian construction company contracted to build the two AK plants. The state-owned Compañía Anónima Venezolana de Industrias Militares (CAVIM) have since taken over construction and responsibility for the plants.
Venezuela’s Catatumbo sniper rifle (source)
The agreement to establish the two factories dates back to 2006 when a joint Russian-Venezuelan commission was established. The agreement stated that Venezuelan engineers and specialists would be trained by Kalashnikov engineers to enable the full indigenous licensed production of the 7.62×39mm AK-103, which is Venezuela’s current service rifle. The factory is planned to manufacture an estimated 25,000 assault rifles a year. The factory is also planned to allow production of the Venezuelan Catatumbo sniper rifle developed and manufactured by Compañía Anónima Venezolana de Industrias Militares.
‘Venezuela Plant to Start AK-103 Production by 2019 End’, DefenseWorld, retrieved 04/04/18, from source
‘Russia will start producing Kalashnikov assault rifles in Venezuela in 2019’, TASS, retrieved 04/04/18, from source
‘Kalashnikov plant in Venezuela to start production in 2019’, TASS, retrieved 04/04/18, from source