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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Russia expects $2.6 bln in military aircraft sales in 2009

RIA Novosti


MOSCOW, July 30 (RIA Novosti) - Russia's state arms exporter Rosoboronexport has said military aircraft will continue to dominate the company's foreign sales in 2009, and will total about $2.6 billion.

The arms export monopoly is planning to sell about $6.5 billion worth of military hardware in 2009, and earlier said its defense order portfolio was worth $27 billion.

"Aviation has always been a predominant part of Rosoboronexport's foreign sales portfolio, and 2009 will not be an exception. According to our plans, exports of Russian military aircraft will worth about $2.6 billion or 40.6% of the total," said Alexander Mikheyev, the company's deputy general director.

Although India, China, Malaysia, Algeria and Venezuela remain Russia's key customers in the area of military aviation, Rosoboronexport is seeking to expand its presence on other markets.

"We are expecting a major breakthrough in the Libyan direction, because Soviet and Russian-made combat aircraft continue to be the backbone of the Libyan air force," Mikheyev said in an interview with the Arms Export Journal, which is published by Moscow-based Centre for Analysis of Strategies and Technologies.

According to some sources, the Libyan air force has at least 25 MiG-21 and 125 MiG-23 fighter jets, a number of Su-22 and Su-24 attack aircraft, combat helicopters and military transport planes.

"At present, Libya is expressing an interest in MiG-35 [multirole fighter], Su-35 [multirole fighter], advanced attack helicopters, and air defense systems. We are expecting to resume traditional contacts with Libya [in sales of military aircraft] in the near future," the official said.

A source in the Russian defense industry earlier told RIA Novosti that Russia had signed and had started the implementation of a contract with Libya on the overhaul of Su-24 attack aircraft in service with the Libyan air force.

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