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Russia: UAE seeking more weapons

  |   Feb. 19, 2013 at 12:03 AM
ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates, Feb. 19 (UPI) -- The United Arab Emirates is in the market for more Russian-made weapons, Russian Trade and Industry Minister Denis Manturov said last weekend.

Manturov, attending the opening of the IDEX-2013 arms trade show Sunday in Abu Dhabi, said the Persian Gulf nation is seeking to buy more Russian arms, RIA Novosti reported.

He made the comments after meeting with UAE Foreign Minister Sheik Abdullah bin Zeyed Al Nahyan, a crown prince and deputy supreme commander of the country's armed forces.

"The crown prince is interested in the most modern weapons, which are developed and manufactured by the Russian military-industrial industry," Manturov said.

He added he hoped the weaponry shown by Russian exhibitors at IDEX-2013, as well as equipment produced in partnerships with other countries via bilateral contracts, would catch the eye of UAE buyers.

He said the Emirates is considering contracts to by Russian-made warplanes, helicopter gunships and anti-aircraft missile batteries.

The Dubai magazine Russian Emirates reported two new products -- the modernized T-90C tank and its tank support fighting vehicle dubbed "the Terminator" -- from the defense contractor Uralvagonzavod were attracting significant levels of interest at the show.

Also on display were the BMP-3 amphibious fighting vehicle, the BTR-80A amphibious armored personnel carrier, the MSTA-S self-propelled howitzer, the "Smerch" multiple rocket launcher, as well as the Mi-28N and Ka-52 attack helicopters.

The Russian Su-35 and MiG-29M warplanes were being touted at the arms show as well, the magazine reported.

Manturov said there's also an "urgent" level of interest by the United Arab Emirates to obtain education and training of its military personnel in the operation of Russian weapons systems.

"We know that the UAE is seeking trained specialists abroad," he told Russian Emirates. "We need to cooperate with our military institutions of higher education to train a new generation of soldiers that are focused on Russian military hardware and technology."

He also stressed that the future of Russian-UAE cooperation isn't limited to the military-industrial sphere.

"Tomorrow will be the third meeting of the committee on trade and economic cooperation, which I will attend with (Al Nahyan)," he said. "We have set up cultural cooperation event, which will feature the Mikhailovsky Theatre Ensemble and the Chechen Vainakh (the national dance ensemble from the Chechen Republic)."

The Emirates is no stranger to Russian arms manufacturers -- earlier this year it placed orders for Pantsir-S1 anti-aircraft artillery and missile batteries made by KBP of Tula, Russia.

The gun-missile systems combine a wheeled vehicle mounting a fire control radar and electro-optical sensor, two 30mm cannons and up to twelve 57E6 radio-command guided short-range missiles.

The Emirates was the largest importer of arms in the Middle East from 2007-11, with its total volume of annual purchases soaring by 153 percent in 2011 to 1.4 billion units, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute reported.

Analysts say the emirates are using more of their oil riches to buy weapons as a counter to perceived threats from Iran -- only 35 miles away across the Straits of Hormuz and well within range of Iranian missiles.

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