Russia to deliver 120 T-90 main battle tanks to Algeria


Algeria has signed a contract with Russian state arms exporter Rosoboronexport for 120 additional T-90 main battle tanks. In 2006 Algeria purchased 180 of the type.

Algeria signed the contract for the T-90s in September last year, according to the Russian daily economic newspaper Vedomosti, which quoted sources close to Rosoboronexport and Russian Technologies. The 120 tanks are valued at around US$470 million.
“These contracts were concluded on a background of increasing instability, after the revolts in Tunisia, Egypt and the war in Libya,” said the newspaper.

In 2009 Rosoboronexport completed deliveries of 180 T-90s to Algeria. Russia has concluded billions of dollars worth of deals with Algeria, which is ranked as the world’s eighth largest weapons importer and accounts for 13% of Russian arms sales, Pravda reports.

Other Russian weapons purchases include two Tiger (Project 20382 corvettes, two Project 636 Improved Kilo class submarines, MiG-29, Su-30MK and Yak-130 aircraft and S-300 surface-to-air missiles.

Algeria bought much of the weaponry as part of a massive arms package worth US$7.5 billion during the visit of Russian President Vladimir Putin to Algeria in March 2006. The deal included the purchase of 28 Sukhoi Su-30MKA and 34 MiG-29 multirole fighters (28 single-seat MiG-29SMTs and six two-seat MiG-29UBTs) as well as eight batteries of S-300PMU-2 air-defence missile systems and 24 Almaz-Antei 2S6M Tunguska 30 mm/SA-19 self-propelled air-defence systems. Deliveries of the MiG-29s was suspended and the 15 aircraft that had arrived returned to Russia following quality problems, but the Su-30s were accepted without issue.

In addition, Russia will deliver 30 T-90s to Turkmenistan after signing a contract late last year. Russia is also in talks with Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan and Indonesia, reports Pravda. Under a 2010 contract Russia supplied Turkmenistan with 10 tanks.

The recent orders are scheduled to make Russia the world’s largest tank exporter this year ahead of China, according to Mikhail Barabanov, the editor of Moscow Defence Brief.

Last year Russia exported a record US$13.2 billion in weapons last year, despite losing Arab clients, such as Libya, during the Arab Spring and facing stiff competition from China. A quarter of sales went to India and 15% went to Algeria last year, Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation chief Mikhal Dmitriyev was quoted by Vedomosti as saying. This year Russia plans to export US$13.5 billion of weaponry, up from US$10.4 billion in 2010.

Vladimir Putin has pledged to give Uralvagonzavod, which makes the T-90, 64 billion roubles (US$2.165 billion) over the next few years. Although Russia has embarked on a massive military modernisation programme, it does not plan to buy T-90s for its army for a while as it is cheaper to upgrade T-72s. However, earlier this month Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin said that the Russian army will continue to buy armored vehicles, despite comments by the Chief of  Staff of the Armed Forces, Army General Nikolai Makarov, who stated that the Russian Ministry of Defense in the next five years will not make such purchases.

The T-90 is a modernised version of the T-72, but although developed from the T-72, it uses a 125 mm 2A46 smoothbore tank gun, a new engine, and thermal sights. Standard protective measures include a blend of steel, composite armour, and Kontakt-5 explosive-reactive armour, laser warning receivers, Nakidka camouflage and the Shtora infrared anti-tank guided missile (ATGM) jamming system.