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Venezuela to spend $1 bln Russian loan on air-defense systems

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Venezuela plans to use most of the $1 bln loan granted by Russia to buy air-defense systems, a Russian military analyst said on Friday.
MOSCOW, September 26 (RIA Novosti) - Venezuela plans to use most of the $1 bln loan granted by Russia to buy air-defense systems, a Russian military analyst said on Friday.

Russia announced the loan offer earlier on Friday, during a visit by Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.

"Venezuela needs primarily Tor-M1 surface to air systems to protect the airfields where the 24 Su-30 MK2 jet fighters it bought from Russia are based," said Konstantin Makiyenko, deputy director of the Center for Strategic Analysis, a Moscow based think tank.

"Twenty Tor-M1 complexes will cost $600 mln, and the portable SAM systems approximately $70-80 mln," he said.

Caracas is likely to buy Igla-S portable SAM systems, and will also want Il-78 aerial tankers and Il-76 military freight aircraft. The tankers and freight planes for the Venezuelan Air Force will cost around $300 mln, Makiyenko said.

Between 2005 and 2007 Russia signed 12 contracts worth more than $4.4 billion to supply arms to Venezuela, including fighter jets, helicopters and Kalashnikov assault rifles.

Russian aircraft leasing company Ilyushin Finance said on Friday it would deliver several passenger planes to Venezuela. The deal was reached earlier this month during a visit to Venezuela by a Russian delegation led by Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin, the company said in a press release. The contracts could be signed before the end of this year.

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