The Russian defense export company Rosoboronexport has recently announced within a larger agreement that the Saudi Arabian state owned Military Industries Corporation will soon be manufacturing 7.62x39mm AK-103 rifles in the Kingdom, along with ammunition. Saudi Arabian armed forces are already using the AK-103, along with the 5.56x45mm NATO G36K within the National Guard, but these are mostly imported from Russia itself. G36Ks have already been seeing local production for some time, many of which are ending up on arms markets in Yemen on the side of the Houthis. One of the main reasons for this move is possibly due to the cheaper cost of producing the rifles rather than buying them outright.
From the news report on Arab News-
Russia’s Rosoboronexport said it has struck an initial licensing agreement that could lead to the Kalashnikov being made in the Kingdom.
The agreement covers the “production of Kalashnikov AK-103 assault rifles and cartridges for various purposes,” a statement said.
A memorandum of understanding between the two sides could also see Russia supply Saudi Arabia with Kornet anti-tank guided missile systems, rocket launchers and automatic grenade launchers.
The preliminary deal also involves the transfer of knowledge in the defense field to Saudi Arabia. The Kingdom has set a target for half of its significant defense budget to be spent within the country.
This plan now includes the “localization” of the AK-103 assault rifle and its ammunition, according to the Saudi Press Agency.