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    Russian 2005 arms exports hit record $6.1 bln - official

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    MOSCOW, February 9 (RIA Novosti) - Russian arms exports in 2005 reached $6.1 bln hitting a record high in recent times, a senior official said Thursday.

    Mikhail Dmitriyev, the head of the Federal Service for Military and Technical Cooperation, said: "The figure for Russia's exports in 2005 was highest for the past few years. The final figure is $6.126 billion."

    Dmitriyev said orders for military-related hardware had reached the Soviet-era level of $23 billion in the past few years rising from $15-$16 billion.

    "The portfolio of orders usually stood at $15-$16 billion [in recent years], but it is growing all the time and currently stands at $23 billion," Dmitriyev said.

    According to Dmitriyev, Russia's state-controlled arms exporter, Rosoboronexport, accounts for 85% of a total country's arms exports, with the Sukhoi aircraft holding, and aerospace corporations MiG, and Salut accounting for the remaining 15%.

    Dmitriyev said Russia's exports of spare parts and instruments had increased five-fold to $300 million due to an increase in the number of Russian enterprises working on international markets. "We expect this figure to reach $400 million next year," he said, adding that this was an unprecedented figure.

    According to Dmitriyev the agency is re-orienting its strategy toward "the maintenance of [Russian-made] hardware abroad, [by] opening new service and maintenance centers, and joint ventures to deal with this problem."

    Dmitriyev said the agency was seeking new maintenance projects in the Southeast Asia (Vietnam and China), Africa (Ethiopia and Algiers), the Middle East and South America.

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