Russia reports surge in S. America arms sales

Oct. 16, 2013 at 5:23 PM
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RIO DE JANEIRO, Oct. 16 (UPI) -- Russia is reporting a new surge in arms sales in Latin America after talks in Peru and Brazil this week and moves elsewhere in the region toward increased military supplies.

Moscow media boasted Russia is now the largest arms supplier to Latin America. RIA Novosti said talks were advanced on supplying helicopters to Peru and jet fighters to Brazil, upgrades to military hardware already on regional inventories and plans for a maintenance and repair hub in Peru to serve Latin America.

Russia hopes to make sales of at least $1.7 billion during this week's visit to Peru and Brazil by Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and senior aides, Moscow's Kommersant newspaper said.

Russia aims to sell its Pansir-S1 and Igla missile systems to bolster Brazil's air defenses during next year's FIFA World Cup, Kommersant said citing Russian General Staff.

The Pantsir-S is a mobile short-range gun and missile air defense system that combines a wheeled vehicle with radar and electro-optical sensors, two 30-mm cannons and up to 12 57E6 radio-command guided short-range missiles. The weapon is designed to take on a variety of targets flying at low altitudes, RIA Novosti said.

Recent developments in unmanned aerial systems or "drones" capable of flying low has raised the stakes in air defense capabilities worldwide.

The Igla is a man-portable infrared homing surface-to-air missile designed to counter similar threats in warfare or security-related situations such as Brazil's sport events in 2014.

In talks in Lima, Peru, Tuesday the Russian delegation proposed establishing a servicing and maintenance center in Peru for its Russian- and Soviet-made helicopters.

The offer was discussed by Shoigu and his Peruvian counterpart Pedro Cateriano, Russian Deputy Defense Minister Anatoly Antonov said.

"Today...that country [Peru] wants to get not only finished goods from us, but also localize the manufacture of arms and military equipment at home," said Antonov, RIA Novosti reported.

In 2012, Russia completed a $20 million upgrade for Mi-25 attack helicopters in the Peruvian air force. The Peruvian military operates about 16 Mi-25 and Mi-35P helicopters.

Peru's government is reported considering to buy 24 Russian Mil Mi-171 (Hip) helicopters worth $406.8 million.

In Brazil Russia is aiming to be a successful late entry to Brazil's FX-2 multirole fighter competition which aims to select a next-generation warplane for the Brazilian Air Force. Boeing, Dassault Aviation of France and Sweden's Saab are main contenders for the multibillion dollar contract, whenever it's awarded.

Russian officials have suggested a partnership, giving Brazil access to Russia's multirole T-50 combat aircraft designed by Sukhoi if the Latin American country abandons plans to consider any of the existing contenders made by Boeing, Dassault and Saab.

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