The Russian military will not abandon the legendary Kalashnikov AK assault rifle, Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov said on Wednesday.
Chief of the General Staff Nikolai Makarov said in September that the Defense Ministry had stopped procuring AK-74 rifles because of oversupply, indicating that new models of small arms and light weapons would replace it.
But Serdyukov dismissed those suggestions as absurd.
“For some reason everyone decided that if the Defense Ministry has not signed large-scale contracts for the procurement of Kalashnikov rifles they will be taken out of service. That is stupidity of course,” Serdyukov said in an interview with Rossiiskaya Gazeta in an issue to be published on Thursday.
“We have large amounts of automatic rifles and it makes no sense to purchase more,” he said.
“There are 1 million servicemen in the Russian Armed Forces and enough Kalashnikovs to supply several such armies with weapons. First we need to deal with what we have.”
The AK-74 is the most widely used and well-known assault rifle in the world. It is used by some 50 armies around the world, as well as countless guerrilla movements. It is also featured on the flag of Mozambique.