YEKATERINBURG, June 20 (RIA Novosti) - More than 400 domestic and foreign arms manufacturers will participate in an international arms exhibition to be held in the Urals region next month, a local industry official said Tuesday.
Russian Expo Arms 2006 is the fifth running of a biannual arms exhibition in the town of Nizhny Tagil, considered the home of Russia's weapons industry, and is organized by the Federal Agency for Industry and the government of the Sverdlovsk Region.
"So far, we have signed contracts on participation in Russian Expo Arms 2006 with 254 enterprises from 34 regions of Russia, and with [representatives of] 14 [other] countries," the official said. "Overall, we expect about 400 defense industry enterprises to show more than 2,500 exhibits."
Organizers say the previous show brought together 304 participants, including Fehlmann and Scheeberger of Switzerland, France's Huron, Weiler and Wenzel of Germany, Sweden's Seko Tools, Japan's Mitsubishi, and many leading Russian arms manufacturers.
Arms exports remain a key element of Russian economy. President Vladimir Putin said in March that Russia had increased its military hardware exports to more than $6 billion in 2005, and had supplied weapons to 61 countries. India and China remain leading importers of Russian armaments, with an 80% share in the country's total exports, although Russia has been looking to expand its presence on arms markets in Latin America and the Middle East.