The company renowned for making the legendry AK-47 assault rifle is branching out to make drones. In a diversification effort, the group is even looking into rockets… and pleasure boats.
“Our main product here will be intelligence-gathering
unmanned planes, helicopters and aerostats,” Aleksey
Krivoruchko, the CEO of Kalashnikov Concern, said at the
International Defense Exhibition in Abu Dhabi.
The drones would be used to help with border control,
reconnaissance and rescue missions.
With the UAV market one of the biggest expanding markets in the
defense industry, the company believes it is time for them to
enter production. The acquisition of the Russian ZALA Aero
Company, which specializes in making unmanned aircraft, will help
provide the Kalashnikov group with expertise.
“The decision to purchase a controlling stake in ZALA Aero
was made to widen our product line. This is part of the strategy
of the Kalashnikov Concern’s development through to the year 2020
and also part of the process of developing new sectors of our
market,” Krivoruchko said.
Krivoruchko also announced that Kalashnikov Concern had bought a
controlling share of the Euroyachting Rybinskaya Shipyard Group.
They will look to produce landing crafts, as well as search and
rescue vessels. Perhaps unusually for one of the biggest weapons
manufactures in the world, they are also thinking about expanding
into producing pleasure boats.
Due to US sanctions imposed in July, the Kalashnikov group is now
unable to export to America, which used to be its forth biggest
market. Therefore it has looked to concentrate its efforts to
Krivoruchko said that sales of the assault rifle, which is its
best known product, have doubled over the last year to 120,000,
with demand particularly high in the Middle East, Africa and
Asia, while the company also turned in a profit of $1.4 million,
according to Reuters.
In December, the Siberian weapons maker paid more than $380,000
to undergo a rebranding campaign.
It saw the Kalashnikov group get a new logo, “CK”, which
is written in black and red and melded into a single block. The
abbreviation stands for Kalashnikov Concern. The colors were
borrowed from the flag of Udmurtia in western Siberia, the region
hosting Kalashnikov’s main facilities, the company said in a
statement. The logo is accompanied by the company’s name written
Kalashnikov Concern is Russia’s largest producer of military
automatic and sniper weapons and guided artillery shells, as well
as a wide range of civil products, including hunting and sporting
rifles, machinery and tools. The group currently sells its
products to nearly 30 countries around the globe.