Russian news agency Novosty reports on two major arms export negotiations expected to be announced later this month. The agency reports that negotiations between Moscow and Riyadh on a groundbreaking arms deal worth about US$4 billion with Saudi Arabia are nearing completion. A second arms deal with Venezuela is also in progress.

The arms deal with Venezuela is being finalized, this large weapons procurement program worth at least US$2 billion. Novosty quotes Moscow daily enewspaper Kommersant, reporting the deal could be announced by the end of May 08. The first arms transfer program worth $3.4 billion began in 2005. In the following years Caracas received 24 Su-30MK2V fighters, Tor-M1 air defense missiles, and various helicopters including Mi-26 heavy transport, Mi-17B assault and Mi-35 Hind E attack helicopters. According to the Russian news agency, the follow-on package could include up to 10 Mi-28N ‘Night Hunter’ gunships, 10 IL-76 transport planes, two IL-78MK flying tankers which will replace US made Boeing-707-320C and C-130H Hercules transports currently in service. Venezuela and Russia also agreed on the purchase of four Project 636 (Kilo) diesel-electric powered attack submarines.

The agency quotes the Russian Gazeta daily that informed about Riyadh’s interest to buy 150 T-90S main battle tanks, worth around $500 mln, a large consignment of BMP-3 infantry fighting vehicles, over 100 Mi-35 (Hind) attack helicopters, and Mi-17 (Hip) multirole helicopters, as well as around 20 Buk M2E surface-to-air medium-range missile systems.

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