State tests of the new model of Kalashnikov automatic rifles will be held in Russia next year, Izhmash Director General Vladimir Grodetsky said on Tuesday.
The new model of the legendary assault rifle, the AK-200, is based on the AK-74M and differs in weight (3.8 kilograms/8.4 lbs vs. 3.3 kilograms/7.3 lbs) and the magazine capacity (30, 50, 60 rounds vs. 30).
The AK-74, a developed version of the Kalashnikov rifle's first model, the AK-47, was introduced in 1974 and used by the Soviet forces during the Afghanistan conflict.
The AK-47 was originally created by Mikhail Kalashnikov, who as a WWII soldier was inspired to design the weapon after being wounded in 1941. While his first attempts were unsuccessful, he was given a position in weapons development, and by 1947 he had perfected his masterpiece.
Since then, the AK-47 has become the most widespread and famous assault rifle. Used by some 50 armies around the world, as well as countless urban guerrilla movements, it is also featured on the flag of Mozambique.
Kalashnikov received Russia's highest honorary title on his 90th birthday last November. Accepting the award, Kalashnikov voiced regret that his creation, the world's most widely used rifle, has been often misused.
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev described the AK-47 at the ceremony as "an excellent model of Russian weaponry" and "a national brand that makes each citizen proud."
MOSCOW, May 25 (RIA Novosti)