The AK-47 rifle maker Kalashnikov is eyeing up the UAE and Saudi Arabia as potential locations for a Kalashnikov factory, according to CEO Sergey Chemezov of its parent company, Rostec.
Chemezov disclosed Kalashnikov’s plans in an interview with The National at the International Defence Exhibition and Conference (IDEX) in Abu Dhabi on February 20.
“Currently we are discussing an opportunity to open a plant to manufacture Kalashnikov weapons somewhere in the Gulf countries,” Chemezov said.
“We are deciding on here or Saudi Arabia.”
There is estimated to be more than 100 million AK-47s in circulation throughout the world, with the weapon’s export orders having grown by more than four times over the past two years, totaling Dhs845 million in 2016 “despite sanctions” the group said in January.
Their reasoning behind establishing a base in the region? Kalashnikov are looking to attract more private sector investment.
The US have banned imports on the AK-47 under sanctions imposed in Russia’s part to play in Ukraine.
Kalashnikov have since been forced to diversify and cut costs, which has proven challenging considering the weapon’s ever-increasing demand.
According to RT, the AK-47 has caused more death than artillery fire, air strikes and rocket attacks combined.
The weapon is also said to be so cheap, it costs more to repair it than to replace it.