The Cable

The Cable goes inside the foreign policy machine, from Foggy Bottom to Turtle Bay, the White House to Embassy Row.

AK-47s Will Be Manufactured in Florida Beach Town

Kalashnikov USA will relocate to Pompano Beach.

GettyImages-471488186crop

Thanks to U.S. sanctions on Russia, a small Florida city is getting a boost to its local economy. Iconic Russian arms maker Kalashnikov is setting up a factory in Pompano Beach, where it will manufacture the line of its rifles that are available in the United States.

The Kalashnikov Concern, a major Russian defense firm and the maker of the ubiquitous AK-47 assault rifle, was among the Russian firms slapped with sanctions in 2014. As a result, the company’s U.S. subsidiary severed all ties with its Russian parent company.

By the time the sanctions were unveiled, Kalashnikov USA had planned to move its operation to Florida from its manufacturing operation in Pennsylvania. That move was accelerated by the Treasury Department’s penalties against the company, said Kalashnikov USA spokeswoman Laura Burgess.

Thanks to U.S. sanctions on Russia, a small Florida city is getting a boost to its local economy. Iconic Russian arms maker Kalashnikov is setting up a factory in Pompano Beach, where it will manufacture the line of its rifles that are available in the United States.

The Kalashnikov Concern, a major Russian defense firm and the maker of the ubiquitous AK-47 assault rifle, was among the Russian firms slapped with sanctions in 2014. As a result, the company’s U.S. subsidiary severed all ties with its Russian parent company.

By the time the sanctions were unveiled, Kalashnikov USA had planned to move its operation to Florida from its manufacturing operation in Pennsylvania. That move was accelerated by the Treasury Department’s penalties against the company, said Kalashnikov USA spokeswoman Laura Burgess.

Kalashnikov USA was established to help the Russian arms maker to import its wares to the United States. But the company switched to making weapons in America to get around the 2014 sanctions.

According to Burgess, the company hopes to have production up and running by the second quarter of this year. It is not yet clear how many workers Kalashnikov plans to hire in Florida, nor how many weapons the company plans to produce, Burgess said. The Pompano Beach factory will manufacture rifles — including variants of the AK-47 — and shotguns.

The AK-47 is the world’s most popular assault rifle and has served as a mainstay of armed conflict since its invention in 1947. Its large-scale production in the Soviet Union, ease of use, reliability, and price point has made it a favored weapon of armed forces, guerrillas, and terror groups worldwide. Al Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden was rarely seen without a special forces-version of the AK-47 that was swiped from a dead Russian trooper during the Afghan war, and the weapon has become an instantly recognizable symbol of armed resistance.

Now, the modern incarnation of that rifle will be churned out on a Florida assembly line.

LIONEL BONAVENTURE/AFP/Getty Images

 Twitter: @EliasGroll

More from Foreign Policy

The Taliban delegation leaves the hotel after meeting with representatives of Russia, China, the United States, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Qatar in Moscow on March 19.

China and the Taliban Begin Their Romance

Beijing has its eyes set on using Afghanistan as a strategic corridor once U.S. troops are out of the way.

An Afghan security member pours gasoline over a pile of seized drugs and alcoholic drinks

The Taliban Are Breaking Bad

Meth is even more profitable than heroin—and is turbocharging the insurgency.

Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya addresses the U.N. Security Council from her office in Vilnius, Lithuania, on Sept. 4, 2020.

Belarus’s Unlikely New Leader

Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya didn’t set out to challenge a brutal dictatorship.

Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid

What the Taliban Takeover Means for India

Kabul’s swift collapse leaves New Delhi with significant security concerns.