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Saturday, January 11, 2014

Money gotten not from most lethal product but from….. (AK 47 to Umbrellas)

Some products gain notoriety for no fault of the inventor. Would you be interested in buying a product for your personal use ???  He is credited with some well meaning quotes which include:

           My work is my life, and my life is my work. I invented this …………. to defend my country. Today, I am proud that it has become for many synonymous with liberty."
           "I would prefer to have invented a machine that people could use and that would help farmers with their work - for example a lawnmower

The last century was different – there was cold war and there was great market for those supplying arms.  Civilians perhaps can never understand the complexity; internal troubles were freely brewed in every other country by those countries who traded in arms and wanted others to buy theirs to ensure a steady market  - it was chaotic and restless in many parts of the World.  Those active in the supply market included  Soviet Union,  People's Republic of China,  and of course USA.  There existed agreements and  global struggle between the Warsaw Pact nations and their allies against NATO and their allies called the Cold War.  The arms and ammunitions used by those countries depended on which side they relied upon.  There were names such M14, FN FAL, H&K G3, M 16 and more and then there was the more famous AK 47 – made famous by Cinema, Press highlighting usage of this weapon by global terrorist groups.  This assault rifle was famous because of its low cost, that it could be duplicated or used as basis for many other rifles.  A terrorist holding AK 47 was the photo most often flashed in many a media. 

It is stated that during WW II, Germans  pioneered the assault rifle concept, based upon research that showed that most firefights happen at close range; the  power and range of contemporary rifle cartridges was excessive for most small arms firefights. Then came AK 47 into market.  Lieutenant General Mikhail Timofeyevich Kalashnikov  designed this weaponry as also AKM and AK 74.   

AK 47 the assault rifle was named after its inventor.    It was a  selective-fire, gas-operated 7.62×39mm assault rifle, officially known as Avtomat Kalashnikova.  Its design work reportedly began in 1945, next year it was presented for official military trials and in 1947 the fixed stock version was introduced into service.   Mikhail Kalashnikov began his career as a weapon designer while in a hospital after he was shot in the shoulder during the Battle of Bryansk.   A particular requirement of the competition was the reliability of the firearm in the muddy, wet, and frozen conditions of the Soviet front line.   

Now there is news quoting   Russia's Chief of the General Staff Nikolai Makarov  that  country's military have stopped buying the Kalashnikov. In the near future, they will do away with their old firearm inventories and wait for a new rifle's adoption which has sounded the death knell for AK 74.   AK 74 itself was a refined ersion of AK 47.  This one first saw service with Soviet forces engaged in the Afghanistan conflict.  Presently, the rifle continues to be used by the majority of countries of the former USSR.

Its renouncement is more brought out by economic factors as Defense Ministry is reducing the vast stocks of war reserve weapons and equipment that it inherited from the Soviet era. It is stated that  amount of weapons in the country's reserve depots is enough to arm almost all the adults in the country and hence the Ministry has decided to get rid of excessive arms. Overall the army does not need to purchase AK-74s.  In a departure from the earlier procedure, the modernization now involves a host of private ordnance-producing companies on a tender basis.   The modernization of old weapons is good as a transitional measure or a means to maintain combat effectiveness.

Thus what once was a sound rifle, the AK 74 is no longer most sought after one after 40 years.  Somewhere an innovated version designed by Gennady Nikonov known as AK 94 was brought to fore.  There have been many other newer versions but none of these have been chosen for the army's re-equipment. The AK rifles will  still be stored at depots. The fact that the army is no longer buying them does not mean that they will disappear from the military tomorrow.

In India AK 47 is produced by the  Indian Ordnance Factories Board functioning under the Ministry of Defence, Government of India.  Of course Civilians are required to hold Arms Licence in order to buy firearms in India and could hold only non-prohibited bore category weapons. 

If you are fascinated by Kalashnikov, don’t worry.  You can still perhaps buy one though may not be available in Indian market.  You need not be one fascinated by arms to buy this – for in 2003, Mikhail Kalahsnikov lent his name to German Company MMI based in Solingen, West Germany – a company that specializes in umbrellas.  Thus Kalashnikov brand umbrellas as also vodka cocktail, tennis rackets are perhaps available in European market.  It was also reported quoting the Russian inventor himself that he made no money from his AK 47, though millions were sold and that this endorsement was a plan to supplement his paltry pension……..

With regards – S. Sampathkumar.

PS : made on Oct 1, 2011..... and now posted now....

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