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Russian defense industries report record $5.4 billion in exports

SPECIAL TO WORLD TRIBUNE.COM
Tuesday, January 27, 2004

MOSCOW Russia has reported $5.4 billion in defense exports for 2003.

Officials said the figure set another record for Russia's defense industry and marked a $1 billion increase from 2002. They said exports in 2004 would again reach $5 billion.

As in previous years, China and India remain Russia's main weapons clients, officials said. Last week, Russia announced a $1.5 billion sale of an aircraft carrier and 28 MiG-29K fighter-jets for India.

But officials said the state weapons export agency Rosoboronexport would try to complete major arms deals in the Middle East, particularly North Africa and the Gulf, during 2004, Middle East Newsline reported.

Rosoboronexport said Russia delivered arms to 52 countries in 2003. The agency said the biggest seller was air defense systems and naval platforms.

Rosoboronexport reported $5.1 billion in sales for 2003. The agency handles 94 percent of all Russian defense exports.

Rosoboronexport said its $5.1 billion figure includes the last deals completed by the agency in 2003. In December 2003, Rosoboronexport reported an interim export figure of $4.7 billion, but said this could rise to $5 billion if unspecified sales materialize at the end of the year.

In a statement on Monday, Rosoboronexport said it reached a record defense export year of $5.1 billion in 2003. The agency exported $4.2 billion in defense products in 2002.

"India and China still remain the strategic partners for Russia," Rosoboronexport director-general Andrei Belyaninov said. "But Rosoboronexport continued to expand the geographical spread of its activity."

Industry sources said Rosoboronexport's backlog of orders has now reached $13 billion. In 2002, Russia reported defense export revenues of $4.5 billion and deliveries worth $4.8 billion.

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