Mikhail Kalashnikov, 85, the patriarch of Russian gun makers and designer of the most popular gun in the world - the Kalashnikov assault rifle, is as active as usual. He is to personally unveil his latest design at the MILEX 2005 international arms show in Minsk from May 17 to 20.
According to Rosoboronexport - the only Russian state arms export intermediary, the legendary arms designer will also participate in the 2nd international scientific conference on military-technical, defense and security problems and dual-use technologies in Minsk. He is to deliver the report titled Russian Small Arms on the International Arms Market.
In spite of his age, Dr. Mikhail Kalashnikov keeps on working hard. He is a consultant to Rosoboronexport's director general and the chief designer of the Izhmash company - a major Russian small-arms manufacturer, for which he has been working since 1949.
At Izhmash, Kalashnikov led a team of designers developing such known versions of his assault rifle as the AK-74 and AK-74M as well as the "100th series" cambered for the most popular calibers in the world and comprising the AK-101, AK-102, AK-103, AK-104 and AK-105.
In all, the designer has developed over 150 models of small arms and hunting guns. Kalashnikov chairs the Union of Russian Armorers.
About 100 million Kalashnikov assault rifles and light machineguns have been made worldwide, while the US-designed M-16 automatic rifle numbers only about 12 million.
The Kalashnikov assault rifle has been in service with the militaries of more than 50 countries owing to its ease of operation, high reliability and effectiveness.