Saturday, June 25, 2011

Arms Sales 2011: Russia, Middle East & Africa

By the important factors in the development of military-political situation in the world, most important recently, are the situations erupted from the beginning of 2011 via the tumultuous events in several Arab countries, primarily located in North Africa. As it erupted excitement strife will affect the volume of arms sales, including exports of articles of Russian military-industrial complex, "MIC" asked to tell one of the leading national expert on the subject, DC's weekly magazine.

As well, it was turmoil in the Maghreb - in the states, which lie in the vast territory stretching from the Atlantic to the Egyptian border, as well as in the adjacent Arab Republic of Egypt (ARE), turned the area into a huge new source of instability in the size of the African continent .Already toppled seemingly quite stable authoritarian rulers for a long time at the head of Tunisia and Egypt, the revolt, which began in February in Libya, has grown into a full-scale civil war complete with foreign intervention.In Algeria and Morocco, local regimes are experiencing considerable pressure the opposition.

Meanwhile, the Arab countries of North Africa for decades, buying a disproportionate amount of foreign weapons and military equipment (AME), although all of these higher states belonged and belongs to a relatively modest share of total world economy.

So far, frankly, difficult to judge to what long-term consequences will radical changes in the long arms business for important client countries like Egypt and Libya.Nevertheless, one can expect that the role of these countries as potential customers rather wide range of weapons and military equipment in the short term be significantly reduced.At the same time in Libya Russian "defense industry", unfortunately, must be considered lost all of their signed or planned to conclude contracts.


The former third-largest

In the field of military construction Algeria since independence is traditionally oriented towards the Soviet Union, including the technical equipment of the Army, Air Force and Navy.However, the Algerian People's Democratic Republic (Andrew) did not give up the procurement of samples of Western arms and military equipment production.


Acute domestic political crisis of the early 90s, when the country abolished the results of parliamentary elections, which obviously won the Islamic fundamentalists, and the subsequent multi-year civil war that ended in the defeat of Muslim radicals, led to a significant reduction of the purchased weapons abroad.During this period, Algeria was trying to fix problems equipping the armed forces by buying second-hand Soviet arms and military equipment "to bypass the" Russia - the Ukraine and Belarus (in particular, there were obtained 36 MiG-29 fighters, Mi-24V, T-72 tanks, combat BMP-2).

However, the data delivery is not fundamentally solve the problem of Army, Air Force and Navy.Therefore, obtaining a Russian debt write-off $ 4.7 billion, went to Algeria for the resumption of broad military and technical cooperation with Moscow.Since 2005, the leadership of Algeria began to seriously upgrade all three of its armed forces with modern arms and military equipment by our.The total amount of prisoners in 2005-2006, arms contracts with Russia reached eight billion dollars.As a result, over the period 2006-2010 Algeria was the third most important partner of the Russian Federation on military-technical cooperation after China and India.

Nevertheless, after receiving the bulk of weapons and military equipment from Russia signed a package of agreements, 2005-2006, Algeria has not yet resorted to its development and implementation of most stock options and a number of emerging pre-contract agreement with the Russian side.Virtually the only exception - the acquisition of 16 additional Su-30MKI (A) instead of the canceled contract for MiG-29SMT.

Moreover, Algeria began its efforts to diversify the types of purchases in a number of weapons and military equipment by entering into several contracts involving the supply of helicopters of various types of Italian company AgustaWesland (only supposed to acquire up to 120 helis worth about four billion euros).With regard to plans to purchase several frigates and guided missiles by the Algerians Western companies.Thus, we can talk about complicating the situation for Russia in the defense market of Algeria.


The limited nature of collaboration

Egypt - the most powerful economically and militarily, the state of the Arab world.However, although Egypt and has some reserves of "black gold" and "blue fuel", and also receives income from the operation of the Suez Canal, tourism industry developed and industry is still faced with a lack of financial resources, especially in comparison with the oil and gas producing Arab countries.This creates a lack of resources and the development of the armed forces.

Forced to contain one of the largest in the Greater Middle East armies, Cairo is very dependent on U.S. military aid, $ 1.3 billion per year, which determines the basis of the procurement policy of Egypt in arms imports.Moreover, Washington in order to maintain the superiority of Israel over its Arab neighbors in the area of ​​defense restricts access to Egypt's most modern military equipment, which stimulates the interest of the latter in diversifying sources of supply arms and military equipment.Weapons acquisition program in Europe, resumed military-technical cooperation with Moscow.Considerable attention is paid to the development of the country's own military industry, while that focuses mainly on the western assembly systems.

The massive inflow of Western military technology over the past three decades has led to the Egyptian armed forces were largely re-equipped with it.However, they still retain and use a considerable amount of Soviet-made arms and military equipment of the samples, which allows companies from Russia and CIS to implement modernization projects.

Once again I must stress that the leading Egyptian military programs are funded by the United States.The largest of them are assembled in Egypt tank M1A1 "Abrams", the delivery of four large missile boats, F-16 Block 50, combat helicopters AH-64D “Apache" (without radar Longbow), anti-aircraft missiles Avenger, anti-ship missile Harpoon Block II (with the truncated potential) aircraft missiles, armored vehicles and artillery of various systems of the U.S. military presence.

Traditionally, Egypt has supported the military-technical cooperation with Beijing.In recent years, the assembly was carried out in China's developed training aircraft K-8, and now Cairo is interested in organizing an assembly of Chinese FC-1 fighter.

Egypt and Moscow resumed talks in the late eighties.Egypt received the Mi-17 helicopters, spare parts for Soviet-style weapons.Now, this cooperation is reduced mainly to the implementation of a major upgrade program of S-125 and 2K12 "Square" set at Cairo by USSR in the seventies.In 2006, Egypt bought four anti-aircraft missile complex Tor-M1.The question of the continuation of the Egyptian purchases of modern Russian air defense missile systems and anti-tank systems.Most important to the future of Egypt is the question of renewal of the Air Force combat aircraft, in connection with which Cairo will continue to seek Washington's receiving F-16s last modification, and may resort to importing modern aircraft (MiG-29SMT, training aircraft) in Russia .Overall, however, Egypt's military-technical cooperation with our country so far has been limited and "niche" in nature.

Following the resignation under pressure from the opposition of President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt February 11, 2011 the situation in Egypt is extremely complex.The country will probably have to go through a lengthy process of political instability.If the Egyptian army will keep control over the state, we can expect that the main trends of procurement policy in Cairo will not change.However, the possible increase in the influence of Islamists or even their rise to power could lead to radical changes in the political orientation of Egypt, and in the general situation in the region.


Amateur partners led by the nose

Libya, whose economy relies on oil and gas in 1969 was under the authoritarian rule of extravagant Colonel Muammar Qaddafi.Previously, he was sharply anti-Western stance and supported a variety of radical movements in other countries.Since 1992, Tripoli acted against international sanctions in connection with the so-called Lockerbie case - a passenger plane burst "747" of "Pan American" over southern Scotland.

But in 2003, Gadhafi went to the rapprochement with the West, admitting guilt for the destruction of an American airliner, paying cash compensation to families of those killed in this terrorist act and not to develop weapons of mass destruction.This led to the lifting of sanctions.But recently, they were introduced again after an uprising against the leader of the Socialist People's Jamahiriya, which turned into a civil war between rebels and the Libyan government troops.The situation in Libya remains uncertain and the "equilibrium", although probably overthrow Gaddafi almost inevitable in view of involvement in the fighting on the side of the rebels of the Alliance.

Once being the "main arsenal" of Arab extremism, when Gaddafi Libya was producing huge volumes of purchases of arms and military equipment in the Soviet Union and the West (mainly in France and Italy), creating a disproportionately large military forces.However, for long periods as long as the entered the Jamahiriya in 1992, sanctions, it has lost site of one of the most important buyers in the world arms market.Only in 2006, Tripoli signed the first significant defense contract with France for the repair and modernization of 12 French fighters Mirage F.1.In 2007, with Western countries has been made new agreements for the purchase of military hardware.

When Qaddafi regime no longer ostracized, he returned to the traditional practice of Libyan arms purchases diversification - the acquisition of both the West and the East.However, the colonel openly led by the nose of their Russian and Western partners in MTC, obviously without having a coherent policy Jamahiriya recovery capabilities and as a result of completely missing the chance to quickly revive at least part of its ability to defend against external and internal enemies.

We recall that Algeria signed a package of major arms contracts with Russia in 2005-2006, has already received to date a significant amount of the most modern Russian military equipment and weapons.Gaddafi also played in the "diversification" of purchases and tried to oppose cooperation with Russia military partnership with the West, primarily from Britain and France.It was from London and Paris Tripoli signed the first significant military agreement after the lifting of sanctions.In 2009 alone Jamahiriya signed military contracts with the states - members of the EU to 300 million euros.In total, according to CAST, the volume of transactions through the Gaddafi regime MTC with western countries since 2005 has reached about three billion dollars.Ironically, it is the main European "partners" of Libya (United Kingdom and France) and were the pioneers of military intervention in 2011.

Since Russia and Jamahiriya were in talks on a wide range of military-technical cooperation, but really very little has been signed contracts (they are mainly provided for repairs and modernization of Soviet-style weapons and military equipment, including anti-aircraft missile systems S-125).2010 (in 2008 and 2009), Libya and Russia signed agreements on military-technical cooperation estimated no more than $ 300 million (the largest of which, apparently, were the supply of portable SAMs "Igla-S").

Only in early 2010, Colonel signed with Russia a package of contracts in the amount of 1.3 billion euros (1.8 billion dollars) - and despite the fact that Moscow allowed Tripoli earlier not to return ex-Soviet debt (for the same weapon) 5.3 billion.This last year's package included construction of three missile boats of the project 12418, the supply of six training aircraft Yak-130 air defense missile system "Thor", the modernization of T-72 tanks and a number of warships and so on (see table).There were negotiations about a new similar package for another $ 2 billion, which would include the sale Jamahiriya 15 Su-35, Ka-52, 48 T-90SA, one or two submarines of Project 636M, etc.

In fact, the agreement actually made in 2010 before the uprising in Libya have not been, and on future contracts will probably have long forgotten.Most likely after the overthrow of the Gaddafi new Libyan government will be largely pro-Western.


If state isn’t well-off

Embodying orientation on the United States and the European Union, the Kingdom of Morocco, in contrast to Algeria and Libya does not have large reserves of hydrocarbons, which receive export revenues. The country nearly four decades embroiled in long-running conflict in Western Sahara, Moroccan troops invaded the territory in 1976. That is why Discount must contain large military forces with the apparent lack of funds.

In general, the State is facing a shortage of money for the purchase of modern weapons and forced to treat the purchase of used samples of military hardware.This situation is aggravated by the confrontation with the Polisario - the Popular Front for the Liberation of Western Sahara, which absorbs the bulk of the budget allocated to military purposes, and for the same reason American military aid.As a result of new purchases of AME have been limited, and the implementation of any significant program is possible only with the involvement of a sponsor-rich Persian Gulf monarchies.

The largest agreement is implemented in 2007, announced delivery of U.S. 24 F-16 Block 52 and 24 training aircraft T-6G, funded, apparently by Saudi Arabia.France is retrofitting 27 fighters Mirage F.1.Again in 2007, Rabat, in the Fifth Republic has ordered helicopters and one frigate type FREMM, and the Netherlands - three corvettes type SIGMA.

Military-technical cooperation with the Russian Federation has developed in the last few years has signed agreements to supply anti-aircraft missile and gun complexes "Tunguska-M1."There were negotiations for the sale of Morocco ATGM "Kornet-E," MANPADS "Igla-S", Mi-17 helicopters and Mi-35, but before signing the contracts until the deal is not reached.At the same time, trying to get a cheap weapon, Morocco turned to Beijing that sold large quantities of tanks VT1A and training aircraft K-8.In fact China's arms market penetration of the North African Kingdom's admittedly defeat Russia (which encouraged, inter alia, its t-90s tanks).


Not to purchase

Tunisia in matters of military construction always focus primarily on the United States and France.However, this country has the lowest regional level of defense spending relative to GDP, arms purchases in the last decade were negligible for serious external threats to national security are absent.

Main known end of the Tunisian leadership plans were limited to obtaining a small amount of military equipment, second-hand.Tunisia feels the need to replace the fleet of combat aircraft, but it is unclear whether this is earmarked for the foreseeable future, the necessary funds.

Military-technical cooperation with Russia is almost not made.Took place in Tunis in early 2011 the revolution and continued political instability, obviously, will make even less relevant the possible purchase.

Ruslan Pukhov ,
Director of the Center for Analysis of Strategies and Technologies (CAST)


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