Which weapons will Russia sell Latin America?

May 19, 2017 Nikolai Litovkin, RBTH
Rosoboronexport will present more than 250 models of military technology at the SITDEF-2017 Defense Technology Exhibition in Peru.
Yak-130
The Yak-130 training-combat plane. Source: Marina Lystseva/TASS

From May 18 to 21, on the territory of the Army Headquarters in Peru, 27 countries will present their newest weapons and technology. Among them are the leading players in the market: The U.S., Russia, China, France, Germany, and others.

The Russian defense industry will demonstrate armament models for the Latin American region: The Yak-130 training-combat plane, the MiG-29M multipurpose frontline fighter, and the supermaneuverable Su-30MK. Furthermore, Rosoboronexport intends to attract buyers' interest to its helicopter technology: The Mi-171Sh transport helicopter, the Mi-28NE combat helicopter, and the Mi-35M attack helicopter.

Su-30MKI fighter. / Photo: TASSSu-30MKI fighter. / Photo: TASS

Infantry technology will also be presented at the stand, including the T-90C tank, and the BTR-80A and BTR-82A armored vehicles. Finally, Russia will get a chance to show off its air defense technology: The Tor-M2 and Buk-M2 anti-aircraft missile systems, the Pantsir-S1 anti-aircraft and gun systems, and the latest air defense systems - the S-400 Triumphs.

What does Russia expect from the exhibition?

Despite the long list of technology, Russian experts do not expect Moscow to make any armament supply deals during the exhibition.

 Mikoyan MiG-29. / Vadim Savitsky/Global Look Press Mikoyan MiG-29. / Vadim Savitsky/Global Look Press

"During exhibitions vendors just lobby their interests. Contracts will be discussed later, in a bilateral arrangement, if we are indeed able to interest some clients," said Victor Litovkin, military analyst from the TASS news agency.

In his words, negotiations with Russia will concern maintenance of the MiG-29s that in the 1990s the Latin American countries bought from Ukraine and Belarus, thus bypassing Moscow.

"At a certain point we had a conflict with the region because of this situation, but now it seems we will return to discussing this issue. Neither Kiev nor Minsk are capable of maintaining Latin American technology in a state of flight readiness," assumes Litovkin.

Mi-35M of the Russian Air Force. / Photo: Alexey Mikheev/Russian HelicoptersMi-35M of the Russian Air Force. / Photo: Alexey Mikheev/Russian Helicopters

Moreover, there will be talks on the modernization of Peru's T-72 tank fleet to the level of the T-72B3. "It’s also necessary to create a maintenance center for this technology in the region, so that they don't have to bring the tank to Russia from Peru. If these contracts are not concluded at the exhibition, they will in the near future," Litovkin noted.

The expert added that Russia should not expect any large armament contracts in the region in the upcoming future. With the crisis and the fall in oil prices the buyers' possibilities have been sharply reduced.

Russia will show off its air defense technology. / Vitaly Kuzmin/wikipediaRussia will show off its air defense technology. / Vitaly Kuzmin/wikipedia

What does the Latin American market represent for Russia?

"Latin America is called ‘America's backyard.’ While the U.S. has been involved in the Middle East, Russia has entered a large weapons market right next to them and got a piece of the pie," said a source from Russia's defense industry.

In his words, today for Russia,  Latin American countries are the second most significant market after Southeast Asia - and Moscow aims to develop cooperation in the region.

Read more: Russia delivers modern weaponry worth over $10 billion to Latin America

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