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A New Kind Of Kalashnikov Rifle Is Being Made In Azerbaijan

October 3, 2018


Fresh evidence has emerged showing the domestic military industry of the oil-rich Caspian state is still growing. During the recent ADEX 2018 arms show held at the Baku Expo Center from September 25 until 27 the state-owned MODIAR–a department responsible for weapons manufacturing–displayed the full range of its products. President Ilham Aliyev himself toured the venue and inspected the wares his country is now able to make.

It’s been established that Azerbaijan used its wealth from energy exports to build a local armaments sector with foreign assistance. The results have been impressive and almost every type of firearm is produced in MODIAR’s factories like a tacticool AK-47/AKM revealed at ADEX 2018.

While visiting exhibitors at ADEX 2018–Turkish companies were spoilt with attention–Aliyev was shown MODIAR’s various infantry weapons, including mortars and an automatic grenade launcher copied from the Russian AGS-17. But what caught his eye among the different firearms arrayed in front of him was a peculiar assault rifle. Over the years, Azerbaijan’s soldiers relied on aging Eastern Bloc Kalashnikovs and imported rifles in lieu of a standard issue firearm. In the beginning of this decade, however, Russia’s state-owned gunmaker transferred production for the AK-74M to MODIAR.

MODIAR doesn’t even try to hide its catalog. From left-right is an RPG-7V, two marksman rifles, a light machine gun, a revolver-type grenade launcher, handguns, an AK-74M with a day/night sight, and below it is an AK-103 with a grenade launcher. On the table are anti-material rifles. Via

On its own, MODIAR manufactures the handheld PK machine gun, the RPG-7V and its munitions, and the SPG-9 recoilless rifle. But the locally produced AK-74M chambered for 5.45x39mm ammunition isn’t the army’s standard issue rifle. Earlier this year, for example, it was discovered that an AR-pattern carbine fed with 7.62x39mm magazines is the newest firearm given to Azerbaijan’s soldiers. Yet troops of the interior ministry still carry folding stock AKMs while elite unites have the Israeli-made X95 bullpup rifle.

Photos from ADEX 2018 released on Aliyev’s website showed him clutching a Kalashnikov-pattern rifle that’s now part of MODIAR’s catalog. The curvature of its magazine subscribed to those used for 7.62x39mm ammunition. The rifle had a distinctive camouflage finish and several accessories–a retractable stock similar to an AR-15; an ergonomic pistol grip; a telescopic sight on the upper receiver; an underfolding foregrip; a laser dot sight next to the barrel assembly; and a unique double baffle muzzle brake. Its official nomenclature was never revealed.

It was apparent the mystery assault rifle had rails on its upper receiver and on four sides of its handguard. But there’s little indication this new firearm is meant for the armed forces and its layout suggests it’s intended for commandos who prefer the AK-47’s punch for shootouts at close quarters. MODIAR is allowed to export its products and the widespread use of AK-pattern rifles in the original 7.62x39mm across the Middle East and Central Asia is an irresistible market.

President Aliyev is shown 82mm and 60mm mortars produced by MODIAR. At the far end is an automatic grenade launcher. MODIAR is also responsible for soldier’s apparel. Via

No large deals were announced at ADEX 2018 but multiple agreements were signed involving foreign delegations. Since MODIAR’s output is too limited, Azerbaijan imports a lot of its military equipment and Belarus, the Czech Republic, Israel, Russia, and Turkey are its main suppliers. The defense ministry is still branching out to fulfill its prerogatives and a recent breakthrough of note was a meeting with Poly Technologies. The Chinese conglomerate is known for its armored vehicles, drones, small arms, and smart munitions.

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