18 March 2013, 05:47

Russia ranks 2nd world arms exporter

Russia ranks 2nd world arms exporter

Russia has again ranked second among the world’s top five largest exporters of major conventional weapons.

This is stated in a report of the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, SIPRI, released Monday. The report included data on deliveries from 2008 to 2012. Leading the top five, as before, is the U.S., accounting for 30% of world exports; the number for Russia is 26%.

Trailing these two frontrunners are Germany, France and China.

The leading lineup has changed for the first time in the last 20 years. While the UK is no longer there, China has stepped up.

Russian weapons are mainly exported to India, China, Algeria, and Vietnam.

Planes and helicopters make up a significant share of Russian exports abroad.

Russia occupies solid position on world weapon export market

Nikita Sorokin

Vietnam will continue to buy Russian weapons and moreover, Russia will help it to develop its submarine fleet. Meanwhile, Russia will remain in the second place in the weapon export at least for the next decade after the US.

Russia and Vietnam will shortly conclude an agreement on the conditions for Russian warships visiting Vietnamese ports, Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said. Moreover, Russian shipyard “Admiralteiskye Verfi” will hand over to Vietnam two out of six submarines that were bought for the Vietnamese Navy. These are diesel electric submarines that were built under the Project 636 Varshavyanka. The supply of armaments to the Vietnamese Navy is a new aspect in defence cooperation between the two countries. In fact, this cooperation is not restricted to the purchase of six submarines, says editor-in-chief of the “Nationalnaya Oborona” magazine Igor Korotchenko.

“Moreover, Vietnam is actively buying the Gepard class warships, multi-purpose fast attack craft. Under Russian license, Vietnam is building missile motor boats. The two countries have set up a joint venture to produce anti-ship missiles for the “Uran” system,” Igor Korotchenko said.

Besides modern aircraft and various kinds of overland weapon systems that have been supplied under current contracts, there is a large amount of Soviet military hardware in Vietnam. A large number of these weapons can be modernized and their operating time can be extended. When taking all this into account, Vietnam will become the third largest buyer of Russian weapons after India and Venezuela. At present China is in the third place.

According to a report presented at the IDEX-2013 Weapon Show in Abu Dhabi in February, this year, Russian weapon export will exceed that of 2012 and will be no less than 15 billion US dollars.

According to Igor Korotchenko, the most popular Russian export item is Su-30 fighter jet. Although the US surpasses Russia in the overall volume of aircraft sales, Russian fighter jets are not second to those of America, Igor Korotchenko added.

“Su-30 is a really competitive aircraft. It has several modifications. Russia supplies Su-30 MKI to India. There is a high demand for Su-30 aircraft. Russia produces deck-based MiG-29KOB for India. Other types of MiG-29 planes are bought by several countries that are not as ambitious as India and have territorial limits,” Igor Korotchenko said.

The next weapons that enjoy a high demand are air defence systems. The Russian-made land weapons, especially tanks are popular among foreign buyers. For one, India has assembled over 300 tanks under a licensed contract and continues to produce them. There are serious problems too. It’s unclear for how long Russia has lost the Libyan weapon market. At present, British, Italian and French weapon producers have rushed there. The fate of Russian weapon contracts with Venezuela is in question due to the death of Hugo Chavez. Russia supplies helicopters, tanks and artillery systems to Venezuela.

In fact, the weapon market is a quite flexible one. Governments change in different countries and priorities in foreign policy also change. Nevertheless, at least in the next eight years Russia will be in the second place in weapon export and will not give in either to France, Britain or China.

Voice of Russia, RIA

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