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    Russia plans to increase foreign weapon sales by 8-10% annually over the next three to four years, the country's defense cooperation service said on Monday.

    MOSCOW, August 25 (RIA Novosti) - Russia plans to increase foreign weapon sales by 8-10% annually over the next three to four years, the country's defense cooperation service said on Monday.

    "Military-technical cooperation will see a steady increase in arms sales of 8-10% annually over the next three to four years. This is the potential set out in the defense contracts portfolio, and the industry potential," said Vladimir Paleshchuk, vice director of the service.

    Mikhail Dmitriyev, the head of the defense cooperation service, earlier said Russia would export arms worth over $8.5 billion this year.

    Paleshchuk also warned problems could emerge after 2012 unless the government took steps to encourage investment in military production as many Russian defense companies either disappeared or converted over to manufacturing alternate goods in the 1990s.

    The official commented optimistically on the state-owned Russian Technology Corporation, which he said "employs not only highly-qualified managers experienced in arms sales, but who have first hand knowledge of weapons production."

    The Russian Technology Corporation was established in November 2007 to consolidate manufacturers of high-tech products for military and civilian purposes.

    Russia had doubled annual arms exports since 2000 to $7 billion last year, becoming the world's second-largest exporter of conventional weapons after the United States.

    Russia exports arms to about 80 countries. Among the key buyers of Russian-made weaponry are China, India, Algeria, Venezuela, Iran, Malaysia and Serbia.

    The most popular types of weaponry bought from Russia are Sukhoi and MiG fighters, air defense systems, helicopters, battle tanks, armored personnel carriers and infantry fighting vehicles.

    Russia also maintains traditionally strong positions in the sales of small arms, anti-tank and air-defense missile systems.

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