Over the next year, Russian Helicopters will deliver Mi-8/17 transport and Mi-24/35 attack helicopters to Nigeria, Mali, Angola and Sudan.
This is according to Yury Demchenko, Rosoboronexport delegation head for the Africa Aerospace and Defence (AAD) exhibition, which took place at Air Force Base Waterkloof between 14 and 18 September.
He said that Russia exported helicopters to Angola, Sudan, Uganda and Rwanda over the last five years. “In 2016-2017, we plan to continue exporting these helicopters to Angola, Mali, Sudan, Nigeria. Our position in the African helicopter market is solid, so we are optimistic about the prospects of cultivating it further.”
Nigeria is set to receive 12 Mi-35M helicopters by 2018, according to Anatoly Punchuk, deputy head of Russia’s Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation. He told RIA Novosti that the helicopters were ordered in October 2015.
Demchenko said during AAD that he predicts further business from Africa, especially with regard to peacekeeping missions on the continent. He also sees the defence and security market growing due to terrorism, piracy, smuggling and trafficking.
“The share of Africa in the world export of weapons is relatively small. For instance sub-Saharan Africa accounts for about 2%, but the statistics of Russian weapons sales by Rosoboronexport in Africa showed steady growth for several years. A similar situation can be observed in northern Africa, where a number of countries in recent years considerably built up purchases of Russian weapons to have entered the list of our main partners in the sphere of military-technical cooperation.
“Besides, African states have been building up their participation in regional and international peacekeeping missions,” he said.
Rosoboronexport has an order backlog of more than $21 billion, Demchenko told IHS Jane’s during AAD. He added that the drop in oil prices has not affected exports to oil producing African nations.
The day before AAD, Russia and South Africa held the first bilateral seminar on defence industrial cooperation. Punchuk told TASS that “South Africa has a major industrial potential while Russia can offer a lot in the sphere of defence, security and law enforcement. We proposed long-term hi-tech cooperation.”
“We discussed what to begin with, i.e. various models of industrial cooperation, including financial aspects. We have high-tech platforms which can be integrated with existing South African systems or maybe even with future jointly created new technologies,” Punchuk said.
South Africa’s Secretary for Defence, Dr Sam Gulube, said he was enthusiastic and interested in defence industrial cooperation but cautioned that contracts would only come with time.