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AK-47 gets a makeover, will be called 'weapon of peace' now

Last updated on: December 03, 2014 19:31 IST

Kalashnikov assault rifles, popular with terrorists and national armies in Asia and Africa, have been given a makeover and a new logo by its Russian manufacturer that has dubbed them as 'weapons of peace'.

Equipped with a shiny new logo, the Russian weapons manufacturer Kalashnikov launched a major re-branding drive in Moscow on Tuesday.

The Siberian weapons maker paid more than $380,000 for the re-branding campaign.

The new Kalashnikov logo is a 'CK' written in black and red and melded into a single block. The abbreviation stands for Kalashnikov Concern, as the producer now calls itself.

The colours were borrowed from the flag of Udmurtia in western Siberia, the region hosting Kalashnikov's main facilities, the company said in a statement. The logo is accompanied by the company's name written in Russian.

The firearms producer also has a new slogan, or rather two different slogans. In English, it is 'protecting peace' but in Russian it translates as 'weapons of peace' or 'weapons of the world', depending on which meaning of the Russian word 'mir' is used.

The company is also branching out into fashion, launching a line of branded survival gear.

The firm, which relies heavily on the export market, is among the targets of Western sanctions imposed over Russia's role in the Ukraine conflict.

The Kalashnikov, or AK-47, is one of the world's most recognisable weapons. The gun is relatively cheap as well as easy to manufacture and maintain, contributing to its popularity with terrorists and national armies in Asia and Africa.

It is believed that more than 100 million Kalashnikov rifles have been sold worldwide. The inventor of the rifle, Soviet Lt-Gen Mikhail Kalashnikov, died last year.

The company unveiled new logos across its these three product lines -- Kalashnikov for the Russian and foreign militaries; Baikal for civilian hunters; and Izhmash for sportsmen -- and promised to target new markets, including South America, Asia-Pacific and Africa, to offset the damaging loss of the US civilian arms market.

"A brand is a considerable asset for any leading company, although we have a long way to go to Apple's $100 billion brand," Rostec CEO Sergei Chemezov told RIA Novosti. "I hope Kalashnikov will become as recognised and valuable."

Kalashnikov hopes the new strategy will allow it to become the most popular weapons maker in the world by 2020.

Photograph: Kalashnikov

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