Russia Discusses US$6 Billion Arms Exports with Saudi Arabia, Venezuela


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.