IZHVESK, Udmurt republic — Izhmash arms factory, manufacturer of the legendary Kalashnikov assault rifle, has won a 13 billion ruble ($390 million) Defense Ministry tender for antitank missiles, the company said Monday, in one of its "largest state orders in recent years."
Izhmash is to deliver Vikhr-1 long-range, supersonic armor-piercing missiles by the end of 2015, company chief executive Konstantin Busygin said.
The Vikhr-1 contract will enable Izhmash to tackle almost all of its financial problems, he said in late May, adding that its current debt stood at 3 billion rubles.
Busygin also said the company had asked the Russian government for financial assistance to complete its merger with gunmaker Izhmekh under the Kalashnikov brand. The two companies, both based in the city of Izhevsk, have been experiencing financial difficulties and a sharp drop in production output.
The two enterprises will become the new Kalashnikov Corporation, first proposed by Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin, who oversees defense industry. It is due to be registered in time for Russia's Arms Makers' Day, September 19.
Izhmash, which produces over 70 types of weaponry, including firearms, aircraft guns and precision artillery rounds, as well as a variety of sporting and hunting weapons, previously said it expected to sign 14.2 billion rubles worth of contracts for precision-guided weapons, without specifying the timeframe.
Izhmash has been manufacturing Kalashnikovs since the world-famous assault rifle first went into series production in 1949, while Izhmekh is best known for producing Makarov and Yarygin pistols, according to the companies.
Vikhr is a laser-guided antitank missile, used by Russia's Ka-50 and Ka-52 attack helicopters and Su-25 ground-attack aircraft.