If you were wondering how Hugo Chávez has been putting to use the billions of dollars Russia’s been lending him, wonder no more:
He was on TV bragging that the gun factory’s now working at full capacity, producing a rifle named Catatumbo, and a “grenade, unique in the world,” for the AK-103 automatic weapon, “produced with the help of the Russian government,”
Here’s the Catatumbo, and the cartridge for the AK-103, made with Russian cooperation; the bullet-proof vests are a joint enterprise with China, according to the video,
The following video was produced by the Maracay Services and Production Unit of the Venezuelan Military Industries Corporation (Unidad de Producción y Servicios Maracay de la Compañía Anónima Venezolana e Industrias Militares – Cavim):
More interesting are the Iranian drones,
President Hugo Chavez said Wednesday that Venezuela has begun to assemble Kalashnikov assault rifles with assistance from Russia and started producing surveillance drones.
Venezuela has spent billions of dollars for Russian arms and military aircraft since 2005, including 24 Sukhoi fighter jets, dozens of attack helicopters and 100,000 Kalashnikov assault rifles.
“We are a free and independent country,” Chavez said.
Army Gen. Julio Cesar Morales Prieto, president of Venezuela’s state-run arms producer, said 3,000 AK-103 assault rifles have been assembled since Venezuela and Russia signed the 2005 agreement for the construction of a Kalashnikov assembly factory.
The factory has begun production, but construction of the facility has not yet been completed, Morales Prieto said.
The factory eventually will have the capacity to produce 25,000 rifles annually.
Chavez, a former paratroop commander, said that Venezuela has also started making grenades, ammunition and surveillance drones for its military. Three drones has been built so far, he said.
“We do not have any intentions of attacking anybody,” he said. “These projects are for defense, for peace.”
The sale of twelve Iranian Mohajer drones by the Iranian Army’s Aviation Industries Organization (AIO) to the Compañía Anónima Venezolana de Industrias Militares (Cavim) was first reported on by Spanish newspaper ABC on Monday,
En noviembre de 2011, la Fuerza Aérea Venezolana mostró uno de los ejemplares adquiridos, un pequeño modelo bautizado como ANT-1X, e indicó que también se contaba con otro modelo no especificado. Se trata del Sant Arpía, nombre local para el «Mohajer» iraní, que Teherán también ha vendido a Hizbolá. Su uso es de vigilancia, aunque también puede guiar armamento hacia objetivos mediante láser.
(Rough translation – if you use it, please link to this post and credit me) On November 2011, the Venezuelan Air Force showed one of the purchased items, a small model named ANT-1X, and stated that it had another unspecified model. It’s a Sant Arpía, the local name for the Iranian “Mohajer”, that Teheran also sold to Hezbollah. Used for surveillance, it can also deliver laser-guided weapons.
UN sanctions clearly ban “all of Iran’s arms exports”; yet here we have it, right in our hemisphere.
Time to worry?
Upon a second review of the Noticias 24 article, I realized I left out the following information:
The calibers of the Venezuelan rifles produced are 7.62x39mm, with a range of 400 meters,
7.62x51mm, range of 800 meters,
7,62x64mm, range unspecified, but “better than a Dragonov”
They’re also planning an anti-vehicle weapon.
The cartridges for the AK-103 are “95% polymer”.
Chavez also specified his intention to sell all these “to other Latin American countries.”