Russia expects 2011 arms exports to reach 9.5 bln U.S. dollars

MOSCOW, March 9 (Xinhua) — Russia’s state-owned arms exporter Rosoboronexport has unveiled its 2011 arms export plan valued at 9.5 billion U.S. dollars, local media reported Wednesday.

Anatoly Isaikin, the company’s director-general, said Russia aims to keep its position as the world’s second-largest arms exporter after the United States.

“The 2011 arms export plan will exceed that of 2010 to reach some 9.5 billion dollars. And in the next three years, exports are expected to total 38.5 billion dollars,” Isaikin said.

He confirmed that Russia and France had begun a new round of negotiations over the acquisition of French-made Mistral helicopter carriers, saying the “talks are under way.”

“The price of the deal is among the issues being discussed,” Isaikin said, adding that he would not say the negotiation is “difficult” but sees it as “a normal process.”

Isaikin also said Rosoboronexport is conducting negotiations with the U.S. Department of Defense over the supply of Russian helicopters to Afghanistan and Iraq.

“I would say, we are at the stage of discussion here. There are no contracts yet, but there is a wish to buy Russian helicopters,” Isaikin said.

He said that the supply of helicopters to Afghanistan “is one of the areas that could be realized in the nearest future.”

“Russia is also conducting military-technical cooperation with some NATO countries,” he said.

The director-general said aircraft and related equipment account for 43 percent of Russia’s arms exports, ships and naval equipment 22 percent, arms and military equipment for ground forces 10 percent, and air-defense systems some 13 percent.

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