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Weapons Orders Reach $45Bln

Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov, who is in charge of military industries, was quoted by Russian news agencies as saying Tuesday that weapons exports will reach $10 billion this year, a new post-Soviet record.

That would mark the 11th straight year of increasing sales. Last year Russia sold more than $8.5 billion worth of weapons. It has been second only to the United States in global arms sales over recent years.

While arms sales to Russia's former top customer China have diminished considerably, there has been robust demand from other nations, including Venezuela and Algeria. Ivanov said 60 different countries around the world buy Russian weapons.

Ivanov said the country has new weapons orders from foreign customers exceeding $45 billion. This is "evidence that our exports will show levels for the next few years that are no lower than those achieved this year," he said.

There are more than 700 factories and companies involved in weapons development and manufacturing in the country.

A qualitative improvement is necessary, Ivanov said, in the characteristics of Russian military products in the areas where our competitors are ahead. First and foremost this is the elemental basis, new materials, microelectronics, and computer and nano technologies, the deputy prime minister said.

(AP, Interfax)

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