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INT’L – INDUSTRY INSIDER – Why would Russia’s Kalashnikov make a NATO-friendly assault rifle?

ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates — Firearms manufacturer Kalashnikov is exhibiting its new AK-19 rifle for the first time outside of Russia during an arms trade show in the United Arab Emirates. The assault rifle meets NATO’s caliber standards: It is chambered for 5.56 x 45mm rounds, and it has a Picatinny rail, a new collapsible folding stock to adjust length, improved aperture sight and a quick-detachable suppressor. The gun is based on the AK-12, which was accepted into service by the Russian military in 2018. The AK-19 is compact and suitable for concealed carry. Defense News asked the Russian company’s CEO, Dmitry Tarasov, why it would design a NATO-friendly rifle when there are measures in place that prevent NATO members from buying it. “The 5.56 × 45mm round has been traditionally used by many countries of the [Middle East], Southeast Asia and Latin America. It is a huge market, and many countries in those regions view the weapons originating from Russia with much respect. AK-19 is aimed to woo these markets,” Tarasov replied. “The [Middle East] region is, indeed, in our focus as a fast-growing market for defense products. Our legendary brand is well-established in the region, and we are planning to build upon that.” At IDEX, Kalashnikov is also showcasing a number of military and commercial firearms, speedboats, and fire-and-forget missiles, commercial UAVs, and bulletproof gear and equipment for special forces. “We have brought such a variety of products because we feel the ME is the right market for them and we are seeing a lot of interest from delegations at IDEX,” Tarasov told Defense News.

So which of Kalashnikov’s products are getting the most attention from potential Mideast customers?  [full article]

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