Procurement: June 7, 2002


Considering that Russia just joined NATO, they might want to get with the program about weapons proliferation. On 30 May, Russian Defense Minister Sergey Ivanov left on an official visit to China for several meetings with the PRC leadership. Beijing is showing great interest in procuring Russian submarines. There have been several recent major contracts for weapons systems. In May, a contract was signed to supply 10 Project 636 submarines and production of this submarine class could also be in the future for Chinese shipyards. 

In addition, the Chinese side is showing interest in procuring large consignments of Shmel RPO-A infantry jet flame throwers, Nona-SVK 120-mm self-propelled artillery mounts, BMP-3 infantry fighting vehicles, Smerch 300-mm multiple rocket launchers, Msta-S 152-mm self-propelled howitzers, various types of three-coordinate radars, reconnaissance and radio electronic warfare systems, as well as ship-based Ka-27 helicopters. 

China could account for 30-50 percent of Russia's overall military exports in the next few years. Moscow's arms exports to Beijing are carried out at the very highest level, on the basis of intergovernmental agreements. A Sino-Russian high technology strategic partnership has good prospects, which some in Moscow think will make it possible to view the future of the Asia-Pacific region's military-economic balance with greater optimism. 

Russia is also interested in Africa. In late April 2002, the Republic of Sudan's Minister of National Defense, Major-General Bakri Hassan Saleh, visited Moscow and met with Ivanov. The Sudan has oil and thus, money to spend securing it's southern fields against the SPLA while Russia has weapons to sell. It's a match made in hell.

Saleh opined that Khartoum is psychologically ready to return to cooperating with the Kremlin. The Sudanese army has T-62 and T-72 tanks, BMP-1 combat infantry vehicles, 60PB and BTR-70 armored fighter vehicles, Mi-4 and Mi-8 helicopters, and MiG-21 fighters but not enough spare parts or ammunition for any of them. 

Moscow is ready to modernize the entire pool, in Ivanov's words "rather cheaply" and was ready to sell the Sudan the most modern models of MiG-29 aircraft, Mi-17 and Mi-28 helicopters, T-80 tanks, BMP-3 IFV's and BTR-90 APC's. - Adam Geibel




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