Russia's troubled maker of the iconic Kalashnikov
assault rifle faces layoffs and a possible merger with another arms
manufacturer, a media report said Tuesday.
The Russian army last year failed for the first time to order new AK-47s, of which it says it already has 17 million in stock, a massive supply for its 1 million personnel.
Faced with low demand, Kalashnikov manufacturer Izhmash will likely have to lay off staff and merge with another arms maker, the Novye Izvestia daily reported.
Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin, who oversees the arms industry, criticized the large size of the company plant, saying "it looks like they make aircraft carriers, not rifles".
The AK-47, world-famous for its rugged design, became the weapon of choice for scores of armies and rebel forces and is seen as an icon of the liberation struggle in some countries.
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