Russia’s Izhmash arms factory, manufacturer of the legendary Kalashnikov assault rifle, has won a 13 billion ruble (about $400 million) Defense Ministry tender for Vikhr-1 antitank missiles. The order represents one of the “largest state orders in recent years.” Russian news agency Novosti reports. Vikhr is a laser-guided anti-tank missile, used by Russia’s Ka-50 and Ka-52 attack helicopters and Su-25 ground-attack aircraft.
Izhmash is to deliver the Vikhr-1 long-range, supersonic antiarmor missiles by the end of 2015, company CEO Konstantin Busygin said. Izhmash has asked the Russian government for financial assistance to complete its merger with gun-maker Izhmekh, under the Kalashnikov brand. The two companies, both based in the city of Izhevsk, have been experiencing financial difficulties and a sharp drop in production output in recnt years. The Vikhr-1 contract will enable Izhmash to tackle almost all of its financial problems, Busygin said in late May, adding its current debt stands at 3 billion rubles.