Russian arms exports to increase by $800 mn in 2009

May 27th, 2009 - 10:02 pm ICT by IANS  

Moscow, May 27 (RIA Novosti) Russian arms exports are expected to increase by $700-$800 millon in 2009 despite the global credit crunch and considerable fall in arms purchase by India and China, state arms exporter Rosoboronexport said Wednesday.
“Rosoboronexport sells an additional $700-800 million (worth of weaponry) every year. Despite the crisis, 2009 will be no exception,” Valery Varlamov, a senior company official, said.

The arms export monopoly sold $6.75 billion worth of arms in 2008. It said its defence order portfolio was worth $27 billion.

“We could have signed deals worth a total of $50 billion, but we did not do this, and settled for $27 billion. We believe this figure is realistic,” the official said.

Combat aircraft have a 50 percent share in sales of Russian weaponry, followed by air defence systems, military equipment for ground forces, and naval equipment.

“At present combat aircraft lead the sales of Russian arms with a 50 percent share of a total. Whoever dominates the skies, wins on the ground,” Varlamov said.

The official reiterated that Russia exports weapons to about 80 countries.

“The amounts and types of the contracts vary from small arms ammunition to combat aircraft, and we do not shy away from small contracts. We have business ties with about 80 countries,” he said.

Varlamov confirmed that the Chinese and the Indian share of Russian arms exports decreased to 16-18 percent last year and could dwindle even further.

But Russia is expanding its presence on other markets, including in the Middle East and in Latin America.

“We are increasing our arms exports by penetrating the markets of other countries,” Varlamov said, adding that the US remains Russia’s key competitor in global arms sales.

In military-technical cooperation with India and China, Russia has shifted focus to joint development of weaponry and defence technologies, he said.

Russia and India, in particular, have developed the BrahMos supersonic cruise missile, and agreed to jointly develop a medium-haul military transport plane and a fifth-generation fighter jet.

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