The Russian Defense Ministry may spend up to 10 billion euros on European and Israeli weaponry in the next five or six years, Russian daily Vedomosti reported on Tuesday.
An investigation carried out by military experts from Center for Analysis of Strategies and Technologies estimated foreign purchases of weaponry for Russian Armed Forces over the next two years at some 4 billion euros.
This sum includes four major deals.
* the discussed acquisition of four Mistral-class helicopter carriers from the French naval shipbuilder DCNS estimated at 1.5 billion euros.
* a 1.5 billion-euro contract to be concluded with Italian company Iveco on the assembly of 3,000 Light Multirole Vehicle (LMV) armored vehicles at the Russian Kamaz plant
* an expected contract with Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) on licensed production of three models of unmanned aerial vehicles - I-View MK150 short range aircraft, Searcher II short-range drones and Heron long-range drones - which the experts said could be worth up to $300 million
* a 300 million-euro deal with France's Thales and Safran groups on supplies of additional lots for assembling thermal imaging systems and aircraft targeting containers
To bring the half-decade total up to 10 billion euros, the think tank experts included the possible joint development and procurement of warships from DCNS, armored vehicles from French and German firms as well as military electronics from Israel, Vedomosti reported.
Despite beginning to import weaponry from Western countries in significant volumes, Russia will also remain a large-scale exporter of weapons. In 2009, deliveries to foreign customers were worth $8.5 billion.
However, Igor Korotchenko, head of Center for Analysis of Global Arms Trade think tank, said arms imports were not likely to exceed 2.5-3 billion euros over the next five or six years, as the issue remains politically sensitive in Russia and depends both on relations with exporting countries and environment at 2011-2012 political election.
The Russian government is caught between the need to modernize its military and to support its defense sector, which lacks the capacity to fulfill the army's needs after years of underinvestment.
MOSCOW, June 15 (RIA Novosti)