ABU DHABI — Russia's largest manufacturer of combat automatic weapons, Kalashnikov Concern, is acquiring a boat manufacturing and a UAV company in Russia.
The move, announced Sunday morning at the opening of the IDEX show, is the first expansion for the Russian giant, which produces the world's most popular assault rifle, as part of the company's new strategy for corporate development through 2020, according to a statement released to Defense News.
Kalashnikov Concern, which was rebranded in 2013, acquired a controlling stake of 51 percent of ZALA Aero-Russian, a developer of unmanned aerial systems.
"Based off Kalashnikov Concern and ZALA Aero company, we plan to develop and manufacture drones, mobile and earth-based management stations," said Aleksey Krivoruchko, Kalashnikov Concern CEO.
"Our main product here will be intelligence-gathering pilotless airplanes, helicopters and aerostats. The decision to purchase control stake of ZALA Aero to widen our product line has been made as a part of the strategy of Kalashnikov corporate development through the year 2020 and as a part of the process of developing new sectors of our market."
The UAVs produced will operate to secure state borders, intelligence gathering and rescue operations, as well as special operations.
Kalashnikov Concern and ZALA Aero plan to develop and manufacture drones capable of air surveillance in hot zones and crisis locations, the company added.
The company also purchased a 51 percent stake in Euroyachting Rybinskaya Shipyard Group of companies that produces high-tech landing craft, search and rescue and pleasure launches.
"The new strategy of Kalashnikov Concern's development through 2020 encompasses the key task [of]is widening the product line, thus the decision was made to acquire the 51 percent stake in Euroyachting Rybinskaya Shipyard," Krivoruchko said.
"Kalashnikov plans to carry out turnkey development and mass production of military and civilian launches, and to support the entire lifecycle for its products, from development to recycling."
The products developed by Euroyachting Rybinskaya Shipyard Group of companies under Kalashinkov will be targeted to specialized agencies, as well as to river and maritime pleasure cruising, the company said in their statement to Defense News.
Areas of use include anti-piracy and anti-terrorism activities, facilitation of transportation of personnel and landing troops onto wild beaches, supporting personnel with fire support, as well as supporting the entire spectrum of patrolling and search-and-rescue operations.
Landing craft, search and rescue and pleasure launches carrying the brand Rybinskaya Verf will now be promoted under Kalashnikov Concern's corporate brand Kalashnikov.
Awad Mustafa is a Middle East and Africa correspondent for Defense News.