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According to a series of interviews in Tass on 16 March with the chief of Russia’s Federal Service for Military Technical Cooperation, Dmitry Shugayev, Russia’s defence exports appear to be in rude health and will continue to grow despite sanctions.

Shugayev explained that a further order from Turkey for a second S-400 regiment would be concluded in the “foreseeable future,” adding that the contract would include local participation in production of the system. He explained that the talks were at a “serious stage and all the technical issues have been settled.” The first regiment was delivered to Turkey during 2019, but has not yet been deployed operationally by Turkish forces.

Russia will also complete its obligations to China for the delivery of S-400 supplies, Shugayev said. Two S-400 regiments were delivered to China in 2018-2019.

Another customer is India, which he states has elected to procure 400 additional T-90S main battle tanks. "The Indian armed forces made a decision to increase the purchase of T-90S tanks, which they are already producing under a license agreement," he said, adding that a deal was signed in 2019 to extend the production license out to 2028. This deal includes another 400 T-90S, although a Tass report from February cited 409 tanks and an Indian MoD order for 464 from the Avadi Heavy vehicles Factory.

A definitive number remains unclear, but may lie somewhere between 400 and 800 additional T-90S. In either case, it is likely the vehicles will be used to replace the aging fleet of T-72Ms and provide additional capability for India’s armoured forces in the continued absence of the ARJUN.

Furthermore, Shugayev stated that “there is a high probability that we will have an additional order for MiG-29 fighter jets," from India. He explained that India is soon to announce a tender for 110 jets, and that the MiG-29 could be a competitor for this.

SIPRI data suggests that the value of Russia’s arms exports has remained relatively stable, at around US$15 billion (€13.8 billion) per year between 2012 and 2017. This indicates that the real challenge for the Russian defence industry will be increasing the value of its export portfolio, especially as the Russian State Armament Programmes bring little in the way of profit.

Miles Quartermain in London for MON

Two S-400 transport erector launcher (TEL) vehicles during delivery to Turkey in July 2019. (Photo: Russian MoD)

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