Russia sets new record with arms export in 2008

The volume of Russians arms sales abroad during nine months of the current year has considerably increased in comparison with the same-year period of 2007, deputy director of the Federal Service for Military and Technical Cooperation of the Russian Federation (FSMTC), Konstantin Biryulin told RIA Novosti.

“The volume of arms deliveries has already exceeded the level reported in the same period of the previous year by 23 percent,” the official said at the opening of Euronaval 2008 international trade fair for naval defense, which is taking place in Le Bourget, France.

The export of Russian arms in 2007 was evaluated at $7.4 billion, the above-mentioned federal service said.

“According to various estimates, Russia is included in the top three or top five of world’s leading arms exporters. The volume of arms export has been growing steadily during the recent years, we cooperate with several dozens of countries,” Mikhail Petukhov, a senior official with the FSMTC said. “The volumes and the quality of the delivered products are not going to reduce in the nearest future,” he added.

Russia’s arms export in 2004 made up $5.1 billion. Russia’s defense export giant, Rosoboronexport, expanded the geography of its sales from 53 to 59 countries, plus the United Nations.

For the time being, Russia sells its military goods to 72 countries of the globe. India and China remain the traditional partners of Russia at this point, with 70 percent of the entire export.

The list of other large importers includes Algeria, Venezuela, Malaysia, Vietnam and Indonesia. Argentina may become an important consumer of Russian arms too. The country may purchase Russian helicopters, air defense systems and other weaponry.

Russia has considerably increased the amount of its arms deliveries to the countries of Latin America during the recent 15 years. Russia is currently in talks with Venezuela about the delivery of T-72M tanks. Caracas plans to spend over $30 billion on its own defense, to rearms the Venezuelan army. Russia is also to sign a contract with Venezuela for the delivery of a large batch of BMP-3 armored vehicles.

Moscow also expects to receive a package of defense orders from Libya. The deal is reportedly evaluated at $2 billion. Libya is interested in purchasing up-to-date S-300 PMU-2 Favorit missile systems, about two dozens of Tor-M1 anti-aircraft complexes and several Buk-M1-2 missile systems. In addition, the country would like to acquire MiG-29 and Su-30 fighter jets, six Yak-130 training planes and several dozens of Mi-17, Mi-35 and Ka-52 choppers, as well as about 50 T-90S tanks, a diesel-powered submarine and other hardware.

It is worthy of note that Russia cooperates with the countries included in the Collective Security Treaty Organization (Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan), which allows them to purchase arms at Russia’s local prices.

Author`s name Dmitry Sudakov