Russia has been taking part in Africa Aerospace and Defence (AAD), Africa’s largest defence and security exhibition, since 2000. This year, the Russians are promoting more than 200 defence products, including air defence, air, land and sea systems and simulators.
Rostekhnologii (Russian Technologies State Corporation) has been appointed as the organiser of the united Russian national exposition at AAD 2012. The corporation said that Africa’s weapons market is one of the world’s most promising – Russia currently enjoys a 30%+ stake in this market. Rostekhnologii said that Russian helicopters, armour, small arms and close combat equipment are in high demand on the continent. “Africna partners currently look very seriously at cooperation in upgrading equipment supplied previously and at the creation of regional service centres.”
“The exhibition in the Republic of South Africa is the largest one on the continent, and it plays an extremely important role in strengthening our positions in Africa. We have planned a very tight schedule of meetings at this exhibition on many issues concerning air defence, air, land and sea systems. And we expect it to be very fruitful,” said Alexander Mikheev, head of the joint delegation of the Russian Technologies State Corporation and Deputy Director General of Rosoboronexport.
Anatoly Isaykin, Rosoboronexport Director General, said that “the continent is huge. We have good prospects for the delivery of military products to Africa.” He said that there were gaps in Russia’s relationship with the continent for 10-15 years following the collapse of the Soviet Union, but that Russia was making a return to Africa.
“South Africa has its own well developed industry and is one of the best exporters of military armaments in the world,” said Alexander Fomin, Head of the Russian Delegation and Director of the Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation. He added that he saw many military cooperation possibilities with South Africa and was open to technology transfer in South Africa, in spite of some challenges.
Defence cooperation between Russia and Africa was given a boost by visits of the Russian President to South Africa in September 2006 and to Egypt, Angola, Namibia and Nigeria in July 2009. Russia was also visited by the president of Angola in October 2006, of Uganda in August 2009, of Namibia in May 2010, of South Africa in August 2010 and of Equatorial Guinea in June 2011. Countries in the region were regularly visited by the Special Presidential Representative in Africa, M V Margelov.
Rosoboronexport said it was giving a lot of attention to upgrading older equipment, especially armoured vehicles and air defence systems. Russia was also looking at offering a range of new Russian military and defence products to the rest of Africa.
Some of the highlights of the Russian exhibits at AAD 2012 include the BMPT tank support combat vehicle, upgraded T-72 main battle tank and Pantsir-S1 air defence missile/gun system. The BMPT tank support combat vehicle features two 30 mm 2A42 cannons, two Ataka-T supersonic anti-tank missile launchers, two AG-17D automatic grenade launchers, and one 7.62 mm machine gun. Its fire control system includes a multi-channel sight and panoramic low-level light TV for adverse weather conditions.
Other Russian land systems being promoted at the exhibition include T-90S and upgraded T-72 main battle tanks, BTR-80-80A armoured personnel carriers, Ural trucks, BMP-3M/F infantry combat vehicles, Smerch and Grad multiple launch rocket systems, Khrizantema-S self-prplelled antitank systems, 152 mm Msta-S self-propelled howitzers with automated aiming and fire control system and its upgraded 155 mm version, the D-30 howitzer, as well as the BREM armoured recovery and repair vehicle series.
Close combat weapons include Kalashnikov assault rifles, AK-74M and AN-94 assault rifles; RPK-74M, RPK-201, RPK-203, Pecheneg and PKMS machine guns; SV-98, 6S8, 6V7, OSV-96 and VKS sniper rifles; PM, PMM, PSM and Yarygin pistols; AGS-17, PRG-32, RPG-7V1, RPG-26, RPG-27, RPG-28 and RPG-29 rocket propelled grenade launchers; Kornet-EM, Kornet-E and Metis-M1 anti-tank missiles; RPO-A, RPO-D, RPO-Z and Shmel-M flame-throwers and the 2B25 silent mortar system.
Information is being offered on a variety of aircraft, including the Il-76MD-90A military transport, Il-78MK-90 tanker, Yak-130 combat trainer, Su-35 and Su-30MK2 multirole fighters, MiG-29M/M2 fighters, Ka-52 and Mi-28NE attack helicopters, Mi-171Sh and Mi-171A1 transport helicopters, Mi-35M and Mi-35P attack/combat transport helicopters, Mi-26T2 heavy lift transport helicopter, Ka-226T light multi-purpose helicopter, Ansat light civilian helicopter and a wide range of airborne munitions.
Rosoboronexport predicts that special attention will be paid to specific air defence systems, including the Tor-M2E missile system (Tor-M2E on a tracked chassis, Tor-M2K on a wheeled chassis and Tor-M2KM in modular configuration), Pantsir-1 air defence missile/gun system, Igla-S man-portable air defence missile system, and various radars. Other air defence systems being promoted at AAD 2012 include the Antey-2500, Buk-M2E, Tunguska-M1 and Strelets launch modules and equipment set.
The Pantsir-S1, using both guns and missiles, is able to engage targets at ranges of between 200 metres and 18-20 kilometres and at altitudes from 5 metres to 15 kilometres. One battery of six vehicles can engage up to 24 targets simultaneously. The Pantsir-S1 can also be used to defeat light armoured targets on the ground and at sea. Since it is a modular design, it can be supplied on a variety of chassis.
As for naval systems, African countries may be interested in acquiring patrol boats, the Tigr corvette, Tornado small missile/gunboat, and Project 22346 and Gepard 3.9 frigates. Other sea systems on offer include the Amur-1650 and Project 636 diesel-electric submarines, Sobol, Mirage and Mangust boats and various seaborne weapons.
Rostekhnologii is a Russian state corporation established in 2007 to facilitate the development, production and export of hi-tech industrial civilian and military equipment. The corporation includes 22 directly governed organisations and 17 holdings: 12 miltiary and five civilian. In total, Rostekhnologii includes about 600 enterprises. They supply products to more than 70 countries.