Russia will send Algeria over half a billion dollars' worth of anti-aircraft weaponry in the next two years, a Russian defence industry source was quoted as saying on Wednesday.
"In accordance with the contract signed in 2006, 38 Pantsir-S1 anti-aircraft missile-artillery systems worth over 500 million dollars will be delivered to Algeria," the source said. "Delivery of the systems to the client will take place in 2010-2011".
Algeria's neighbour Libya is close to signing a contract with Russia to buy Pantsir-S1s as well, and Saudi Arabia has expressed interest in them too, the source said.
The Pantsir-S1 is a mobile short-range anti-aircraft system that combines artillery and surface-to-air missiles. Its missiles, whose NATO reporting name is SA-22 Greyhound, have a maximum range of 20 kilometres (12 miles).
In 2006, Russia and Algeria signed a deal in which Moscow agreed to erase the north African nation's debt, while Algiers committed to purchasing up to 7.5 billion dollars' worth of Russian military hardware.
The weapons trade is one of the few sectors where Russian manufacturing has enjoyed strong demand in recent years.
Export sales by Russia's leading state-owned arms export company, Rosoboronexport, amounted to 7.4 billion dollars in 2009, up 10 percent from the previous year.