Procurement: February 6, 2005

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Eager to make weapons sales to Syria, despite $13.4 billion still owned for past purchases, Russia is writing off most (73 percent) of the debt, and taking some of the balance in goods. In return, Syria is buying $400 million worth of anti-aircraft systems, mainly the self-propelled Pantsir-S1 system. Each vehicle carries radar, two 30mm cannon and twelve Tunguska missiles. The missiles have a twenty kilometer range, the radar a 30 kilometer range. The missile can hit targets at up to 26,000 feet. The 30mm cannon is effective up to 10,000 feet. The vehicle carrying all this weighs 20 tons and has a crew of three. By selling to Syria, even via the use of an enormous discount, Russia gets a foreign customer for their new anti-aircraft systems. This makes it easier to sell these systems to other foreign customers. As a practical matter, Syria is too poor to ever pay back the forgiven debt, so forgiving the debt recognizes that reality.

 


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