On March, 16, 2020 Dmitry Shugaev, Director of Federal Service on military-technical cooperation with foreign states (FS VTS) talked to Interfax Agency to release details of Russian defense export on 2019 and drew up prospects for the upcoming future.
Mr. Shugaev confirmed that Russia maintained the second place (just after US) in the world defense sales in 2019 with exact figures to be released at the upcoming session of the Commission on military-technical cooperation under the Russian President. The runner-up position is proved by the orders portfolio of USD 55 billion.
Russia’s top contractors in 2019 have been the usual China, India and Egypt with a new comer Turkey who came in fifth place with S-400 long-range ADS regiment acquisition.
The structure of the Russian defense export consists of 45% of aviation equipment, about one third on air defense with 15% on the army equipment. The rest is covered by the naval and other type of products. Mr. Shugaev mentioned that the US imposed sanctions, the ruble drop-down and the COVID 19 have all been influencing the Russian defense sales but this influence has been limited. A lot of Russian sales shifted from USD to work with the national currencies, ruble in particular.
Coming back to Russia’s main customers Mr. Shugaev noted that the contract with China on S-400 ADS will be fulfilled later this year with the final batch of the missiles delivery. He also mentioned a wide program for aviation engines delivery and the chances to increase the amount of Su-35 multipurpose combat aircraft supply.
The contract on S-400 has become one of the largest ever with the Republic of India. The first regiment is to be delivered by the end of 2021 with the whole contract conclusion by the end of 2024, mentioned Shugaev.
He noted that the Indian side didn’t insist on any localization of this air defense system but just wanted to receive this up-to-date material as soon as possible.
Other promising contracts with India, according to Shugaev, are the license production of AK-203 new generation Kalashnikov machine guns, Igla-S MANPADs delivery and license production, as well as an extra batch of T-90S MBT delivery with 400+ MBTs license production. “Russia has been constantly following the “Make in India” program even before it has been officially announced,” said Shugaev.
He also mentioned that Russia will participate in the new tenders on 110 medium-range fighters with MiG-29UPG, the submarines with air-independent propulsion system and the naval helicopters with the Ka-226 navalized version.
Mr. Shugaev has been confident on good results in participating with another tender on 12 mine-sweepers with the Alexandrit-E project due to the good records of the previously supplied frigates of 11356 Project.
Coming back to Turkey he mentioned that the extra S-400 systems delivery to this nation remains an option to be settled “in the nearest future”. A part of this option determines “a certain Turkish side participation in the production process” according to Shugaev. He denied to get any more details of this part of the deal but said that it would make no damage to Russia’s national security as all the related questions have been carefully investigated to make the bilateral cooperation mutually beneficial with no contradictions to the state interest.
He added that S-400 implementation in the Turkey’s national air defense and the system placement on the combat duties is a solely Turkish responsibility as the material delivery and personnel training have been completed.
Concluding the information about Turkey, Mr. Shugaev mentioned that negotiations on the possible contract on Su-35 multipurpose combat aircraft “haven’t been too active”. According to him, Turkey should make a political decision if they want to accept Su-35 or not. “So far we haven’t received a request on this jet from Turkey,” said Shugaev.
The Head of FS VTS has touched briefly several other subjects, he mentioned that any cooperation with Iran is going exclusively in the frame work of the related UN Security Council resolution. The Islamic Republic is interested in a variety of Russian-made defense related products but the practical cooperation may come into reality once the UN SC limitations will be lifted. The sanctions time frame will finish in October this year when the situation is to be clarified.
Apart from S-400, Pantsir SHORADs remains one of the top Russia’s best sellers due to its excellent performance through the conflict in Syria. The system recently received a new customer being delivered to Serbia, but about 13 more countries from Middle East, South East Asia, Latin America and Africa are actively negotiating for it, according to Shugaev. He also mentioned that after the Russia-Africa summit in Sochi the Russian defense export portfolio received around USD 1 billion orders from the Black continent.
Within the aviation material the Su-30 family multipurpose aircraft remains a top seller. The contracted batches were delivered to Belarus (together with Yak-130 advanced trainers) and Armenia, while deliveries to Myanmar to be managed in 2021-2022 as per the contract terms.
The military technical cooperation with Venezuela is going on the way, said Shugaev. He also mentioned that this country keeps all its obligations despite the difficult situation. Most of the cooperation is going on as after sales support with a new service center on Mi family helicopters to come into service this year. The contract on license production on AK-103 machine guns and ammunition is also on the way.
Mr. Shugaev paid special attention to various after-sales programs not just in Venezuela. The new service centers are to be established within the state-members of CIS and UTCS. The servicing network has been extended in Vietnam, India and China. Negotiations on new repairmen shops, stationary and mobile service centers in Africa and Latin America are well on the way.
Concluding his interview, the FS VTS Head has been confident that all the current obstacles including US sanctions and COVID 19 will be successfully surpassed.