Russia suggested for the first time that Algeria return 36 old MiG-29 warplanes in exchange for the new ones. This exchange would help Moscow cope with its rivals, like Paris, which is currently promoting its Mirage-2000-5 fighter in Algeria.
"Algeria plans to sign a contract for the purchase of 300 T-90-S main battle tanks from Russia. This document was coordinated a long time ago," a source at the Federal Military-Technical Cooperation Service said.
Algeria buys more Russian weapons than any other African country. It received 47 Mil Mi-8-T helicopters, 42 Mi-17 helicopters, 96 X-35 anti-ship cruise missiles, 18 Smerch (Tornado) multiple-launch rocket systems (MLRS) and radio-technical reconnaissance systems during the last ten years.
In 2004, the Novosibirsk aircraft association delivered of 22 Su-24-MK tactical bombers worth $120 million to Algeria, which also bought six Ilyushin Il-78 air-force tankers.
Some Russian-Algerian contracts worth about $2 billion were finalized, but never signed because of the recent personnel reshuffle within the Algerian Army. Algeria could have bought 50 MiG-29 fighters worth $1.5 billion, 300 T-90-S tanks worth $650 million and new small patrol ships and motorboats.
"Our meetings with the algerian chief of staff [Maj.-Gen. Salah Ahmed Gaid of the Algerian National People's Army] show that some aspects will have to be re-negotiated. For example, the Algerian military plan to reassess the national Air Force's demand for new aircraft," a source at the Federal Military-Technical Cooperation Service said.