Russia made $8.6 billion from arms sales in 2010: arms chief

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Russia sold arms and military equipment worth more than $8.6 billion in 2010, with India, Algeria and China the largest customers, the head of the state arms exports agency said Wednesday.

Sales of arms rose more than $1 billion year-on-year in 2010, up from 7.4 billion in 2009, the head of Rosoboronexport, Anatoly Isaikin, said at a news conference in Moscow.

Russian planes and helicopters were in particular demand and accounted for more than 40 percent of the total, he said, citing Sukhoi and MiG jets.

At the beginning of 2011, Rosoboronexport had a portfolio of orders worth $38.5 billion, he said.

The instability in the Middle East and North Africa concerns Rosoboronexport because the company has good relations with countries there, Isaikin said, but he played down the future impact on sales.

"We are naturally worried about what is happening there, although the situation in those countries will not have a significant impact on the portfolio of orders for the future."

He added that he was confident that plans for 2011 would be fulfilled, whatever the political situation, anticipating that sales would grow to around $9.5 billion.

Rosoboronexport was at the stage of talks rather than signed contracts with many of the countries affected by unrest, he said.

Nevertheless, he called Egypt an "important partner" and voiced the hope that Russia would continue to sell weapons to Cairo when the situation there stabilises.

He stressed that Russia would strictly follow sanctions and would not deliver any arms to Libya during the United Nations embargo.

The director of Russian Technologies state corporation, Rosoboronexport's mother company, Sergei Chemezov said last week that Rosoboronexport had lost $4 billion in expected profits because of the situation in Libya.

"I think Sergei Viktorovich meant lost profit for several years ahead. Those are topics that were at the stage of talks, not only contracts signed," Isaikin said, adding that: "For the years ahead, there could be such a figure."

© 2011 AFP

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