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Russian Expo Arms 2008 to showcase 500 companies

RIA Novosti

25/06/2008 18:51 MOSCOW, June 25 (RIA Novosti) -- About 500 domestic and foreign arms manufacturers will participate in an international arms exhibition to be held in the Urals Region next month, a local government official said on Wednesday.

Russian Expo Arms 2008 on July 9-12 is the sixth biannual arms exhibition held in the town of Nizhny Tagil, considered the home of Russia's weapons industry, and is organized by the Federal Agency for Industry and the government of the Sverdlovsk Region.

"Delegations from 47 countries, including Austria, Canada, France, Ghana and Ukraine, will participate in the exhibition at the former Soviet target range Staratel as guests and potential buyers," said Viktor Koksharov, the head of the Sverdlovsk Region government.

He said 170 defense industry enterprises in the Urals are responsible for the manufacture of 70% of Russia's conventional weaponry.

Rosoboronexport, Russia's state arms exporter, said the exhibition would focus on the development of light armored vehicles, artillery and multi launch rocket systems (MLRS).

"Among those are the Msta-S self-propelled howitzer and a unique tank support combat vehicle [Russian acronym BMPT]," said Igor Sevastyanov, Rosoboronexport's deputy general director.

The BMPT, dubbed the Terminator, is built on the basis of the most mass-produced T-72 battle tank. The new combat vehicle features enhanced armor protection and is equipped with powerful armament capable of destroying anti-tank capable ground and air targets and infantry, while operating in a common battle formation.

Its main armament consists of two 30-mm 2A42 automatic cannons, a coaxially-mounted 7.62-mm PKTM machine gun with an electromechanical drive, and four launchers with laser-guided Attack-T anti-tank missiles.

Russia has almost doubled annual arms exports since 2000 to almost $5 billion last year, becoming the world's second-largest exporter of conventional arms after the United States.

Rosoboronexport earlier said that the country could export weaponry worth about $7.5 billion in 2008.

Russia exports weapons to about 80 countries. Among the key buyers of its weaponry are China, India, Algeria, Venezuela, Iran, Malaysia and Serbia.

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