Izhevsk Machinebuilding Plant (Russian: Ижевский машиностроительный Завод) or IZHMASH (ИЖМАШ) is a weapons and motor vehicle manufacturer based in Izhevsk, founded in 1807 at the decree of Tsar Alexander I, and is now one of the largest corporations in its field. It manufactures the famous Kalashnikov series of assault rifle, along with a host of other Russian arms, including medium cannons, missiles, and guidedshells. Izhmash also produces other goods, such as motorcycles and cars. As of April 2012 the company was declared bankrupt. In November 2012, A proposal was made to merge Izhmash with Izhevsk Mechanical Plant (Izhmekh) under the new name "Kalashnikov". As of 13 August 2013, Izhmash and Izhevsk Mechanical Plant have been merged and formally renamed Kalashnikov Concern.
The first IZh motorcycle was 1928's IZh 1, a 1200cc across-the-frame V-twin with shaft drive, designed by the Soviet engineer Pyotr Vladimirovich Mokharov (1888–1934). They "owed a little" to contemporary DKWs. In the 1970s and 1980s, these motorcycles were sold in Britain under the Cossack and Neval brands. The company is the largest Soviet motorcycle maker.
The first IZh automobiles were approved for manufacture in 1965. The company started on 12 December 1966 with assembling copies of Moskvitch models 408 (as the IZh 408) with parts shipped in. By he end of the year, 300 had been completed, with the number reaching 4,000 by December 1967. In December 1967, the Moskvitch 412 replaced the 408 on the assembly line (as the IZh 412). This was joined by the 434 sedan delivery in 1968, and later by the AZLK-2138 and 2140, until the IZh-2126 Oda (liftback and wagon, the second body style marked as Fabula). The Oda bore a very close resemblance to the Moskvitch AZLK-2141 Aleko, but had a completely different rear-wheel drive design.
Styling began to diverge from the AZLK originals beginning in 1970, when IZh kept two round headlamps instead of adopting Moskvitch's rectangular ones, and got a different grille. In 1971, the IZh-built 412 was redesignated 412IE. The IZh-built 412s had a reputation for being better quality than the Moskvitch originals.
In 1970, IZh designed a prototype five-door hatchback (with the same high liftover) and a delivery on the 412 platform. The delivery in 1972 became the IZh 2715; it was powered by a 1,478 cc (90.2 cu in) inline four, had twin rear doors and a box-like cargo area (akin to a cube van ) and could carry a 350 kg (770 lb) load. It and a pickup (what hot rodders would call a pickoupe), announced as the 27151 in 1974, were very popular, both officially in production until 1997, with the final examples built as late as 2001. Pickups were occasionally bought as far away as South America and South Africa, but were forbidden to private owners in the Soviet Union. The 2715 delivery was used by the Soviet post office. A windowed version with rear bed seats, the 27156, appeared in 1987. Top speed was 109 km/h (68 mph) and "roadholding on wet and slippery roads rather minimal". The hatchback reached the market in 1975 as the 2125 Kombi, and it gave IZh another winning model.
AZLK 412-based IZh models, which were completely IZh own designs were 2715, 27151, 2125 and 21251. 2125 was built until 1982, when it was facelifted along with IZh 412 IE, 2715 and 27121. The newer version of 2125 was named 21251. All of the IZh own models were based on AZLK 412 and the bodyshell(with the exception of the rear part, which were different on 2715/27151 and 2125/21251) along with mechanical parts were direct copies of AZLK 412.
Currently, IZh produces one Kia model and two Lada models.
Between 1973 and 1979 IZh was one of the makes marketed by SATRA in the United Kingdom under the Cossack Motorcycles brand; the Planeta and Jupiter models.
Their products are currently in use in a wide variety of countries, ranging from well established countries such as the United Kingdom, Germany and France to the developing countries of Asia, Africa and Latin America. The factory produces the famous Kalashnikov series of rifles for the Russian military and for export. Mikhail Kalashnikov, the rifle's designer, worked at the factory. Variants produced at Izhmash include the AK-100 series of rifles, the Saiga sporting line of rifles and shotguns.
In particular, the Saiga line of rifles has been a success for the concern, being popular with sportsmen in countries such as the United States. In 2012 about 70 percent of the factory’s output was civilian rifles, up from 50 percent in 2010. Of the civilian arms, about 40 percent are exported to the United States. On 16 July 2014, President Obama signed an Executive Order banning the importation of Russian-made firearms into the United States. "The sanctions were taken because of Russia's aggression toward the Ukraine. Russian banks and energy companies were also targeted."
The biathlon rifles include the 7-2, 7-3/7-3A youth/women's models as well as the 7-4 and 7-4A men's model. They have been used in Europe and the USA.
In November 2012 Dmitry Rogozin proposed to merge Izhmash with Izhevsk Mechanical Plant (Izhmekh) under the new name "Kalashnikov". In a meeting with the Russian president, Mr. Rogozin has said "Izhmash and Izhmekh, with due respect, are not brands. "Kalashnikov" is a brand." Vladimir Putin supported the idea. The merger was concluded on 13 August 2013.
As part of strategy plan of widening the product line of the group, the company purchased a 51 percent stake in Euroyachting Rybinskaya Shipyard Group that produces high-tech landing craft, search and rescue and pleasure launches. Also, it acquired a controlling stake of 51 percent of ZALA Aero, a developer of unmanned aerial systems.
Because of Executive Order No. 13661 written by Barack Obama banning importation of Russian-manufactured firearms in the United States, Kalashnikov Concern has established an American subsidiary, Kalahsnikov USA. In 2015, Kalahsnikov USA began manufacturing and selling 100% American-made variations of the AK-47 (the US135 and US135L), AK-74 (US132SS), and Kalashnikov-based shotguns (US109L and US109T) . One major selling point is that parts which in the original design were forged are now being milled by CNC machines. Because the firearms are manufactured in the United States, they do not fall under the executive order.