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    Russia delivers equipment to make AK assault rifles in Venezuela

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    The manufacturer of Kalashnikov assault rifles has sent the first shipment of equipment to Venezuela for the licensed production of AK-103 rifles, the company said on Thursday.

    NIZHNY NOVGOROD, October 23 (RIA Novosti) - The manufacturer of Kalashnikov assault rifles has sent the first shipment of equipment to Venezuela for the licensed production of AK-103 rifles, the company said on Thursday.

    "The first consignment of equipment was shipped to Venezuela on October 18," Izhmash's press service said, adding that the installation of the equipment would be completed by late 2009 and the plant would go into operation in 2010.

    The company earlier said that Russia accounts for only 10-12% of the 1 million Kalashnikov rifles sold globally every year, with the rest being unlicensed copies.

    Russia says it suffers major losses from the counterfeit manufacture of Kalashnikovs. The armies of 47 countries use the AK-47 assault rifle, known as the Kalashnikov after its designer, Mikhail Kalashnikov.

    An estimated 100 million AK-47s and modified versions are believed to be in circulation around the world, but many of them were produced illegally.

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