Russia’s state arms exporter Rosoboronexport sold $13.2 billion in weapons and military equipment to foreign buyers last year but expects no short-term growth, its director Anatoly Isaikin said in an interview.
“For the next two to three years our main task will be to maintain arms exports at $13 billion, which I do not think we will exceed, since the new types of technology potential buyers are interested in should first be adopted by the Russian army, and only then be exported,” Anatoly Isaikin told Russia’s Kommersant newspaper.
The company fulfilled deliveries to 60 countries and signed 1,202 orders last year. Among the major importers of Russian weapons and military equipment were India, China, Vietnam, Indonesia, Venezuela, Algeria and Malaysia.
Aircraft amounted to nearly 40 percent of the company’s sales last year, anti-aircraft defense systems are following at just over 25 percent, Isaikin said.
He added that there has been great interest from foreign buyers in the new Su-35 heavy jet fighter as well as the inexpensive and lightweight Yak-130 fighter.
The director noted that unrest and revolutions in North Africa and the Middle East including Syria have hit sales as “we had made a serious bid for those countries” and that shipments of arms to Syria in compliance with UN sanctions were ongoing.
Isaikin expressed hope that sales to African and Asian countries could be boosted by loans from Russian commercial banks or by swapping arms for mineral extraction rights.
The deal was paid for with a loan extended by Moscow to the country a year ago, the director of Russian state arms exporter Rosoboronexport said.
The newspaper said that the sale was worth $800 million, citing unnamed sources in the defense industry. The planes are to be fitted with English-language cockpits and delivery is scheduled to begin next year.
The Yak-130 is a lightweight subsonic trainer aircraft designed to mimic the cockpit and handling capabilities of Russia’s more advanced fighters.
Russia has targeted South Asia as a growth market for arms exports. The country delivered a refitted aircraft carrier, the INS Vikramaditya, to India earlier this month and is in the process of supplying Vietnam with six advanced attack submarines.