Analysis: The reality behind Russia's export ambitions
By Matthew Bell, Jane's Industry Reporter and Peter Dunai, JDW Correspondent
Russia's defence exports rose steadily from 2006 to 2011, helping to maintain its position as one of the world's leading arms suppliers, but increased competition from Western suppliers in Asia combined with continuing structural challenges means that Russia's ability to maintain its strong record is anything but certain.
On 19 April Russia's Deputy Defence Minister, Anatoly Sukhorukov, said Russia's defence spending for 2012 would be reduced by almost USD1 billion against previous commitments, falling to USD23 billion.
According to state news service RIA Novosti, Sukhorukov did not give details on where the cuts would be made but said the reduction would have no impact on Russia's procurement plans.
Despite the reduction for this year, both outgoing president Dmitry Medvedev and president-elect Vladimir Putin have committed to boosting defence spending until 2020. In March 2011 Medvedev outlined procurement plans featuring 100 ships, 600 new military aircraft and 1,000 helicopters to replace Russia's ageing inventories.
Major naval projects outlined for 2012 by Sukhorukhov include two nuclear attack submarines to be commissioned this year - the Yuri Dolgorukiy in July and the Aleksandr Nevskiy in August - and a contract to develop a new Project 995 Borey-class nuclear submarine with the United Construction Company, which is expected to be signed imminently.
Russian exports of weapons and defence-related goods showed constant growth between 2006 and 2011, with their value almost doubling over the period. However, Ruslan Pukhov, director of the Moscow-based Center for Analysis of Strategies and Technologies (CAST), said that recent orders have not matched the value of equipment exported.257 of 823 words
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