Russia sold record $15 bn worth of arms in 2012
Moscow: Russia sold a record $15.16 billion worth of weaponry in 2012 to countries including India, Myanmar, Vietnam, Venezuela and in the Middle East, a federal military agency has said.
"The volume of arms exports has reached $15.16 billion, according to preliminary calculations, which means that our plans have been fulfilled by 111.8 percent," said Alexander Fomin, chief of the Federal Military-Technical Cooperation Service (FSMTC).
In 2011, Russia reported arms sales of $13.2 billion, enough to maintain its position as the world's second-biggest arms exporter after the US.
"In the past 10 years, we have seen a general increase in exports, which have tripled since 2003," Fomin said.
"The portfolio of orders for defence-related products has also tripled. Its current value exceeds $46 billion," he said.
India is the leading purchaser of Russian arms, with Myanmar, Vietnam, Venezuela and Middle East countries also among the Russian defence industry's main clients.
Fomin said Russia's expanded list of its clients in 2012 included Afghanistan, Ghana, Oman and Tanzania.
The FSMTC also said the quality of exported Russian military products has improved, though problems still remain, especially with poor after-sales services.
"We have been issuing fewer licenses to replace or repair exported products, which is an encouraging trend," Fomin said.
There have been controversies over the quality of Russia's defence-related products.
Algeria refused delivery of a batch of MiG-29 fighters in 2007 claiming they were of "inferior quality".
Russia's traditionally strong position on the Indian arms market has been recently undermined by failures to fulfill or properly execute several contracts, including the long-delayed delivery of overhauled aircraft carrier Vikramaditya to the Indian Navy.
Last year, India asked Russia to replace faulty parts on the leased Nerpa nuclear-powered submarine which had affected its operational readiness.
Fomin said his service was drafting new legislation that would allow Russian arms manufacturers to open their own service centres abroad and to import defence-related products to satisfy their own needs.