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Russia's state arms exporter Rosoboronexport is expecting $7 billion in foreign
Russia's state arms exporter Rosoboronexport is expecting $7 billion in foreign sales in 2009 despite the ongoing global economic crisis, a defense industry official said on Wednesday.

Rosoboronexport sold about $7 billion worth of weaponry in 2008 and has a current portfolio of orders worth a total of $27 billion.

"Our situation is stable. We have reached a high level [of arms sales], and we are expecting this year roughly the same amount as in 2008, which is about $7 billion," said Alexander Brindikov, the head of a group of advisers to Rosoboronexport.

He warned, however, that the exporter could face problems fulfilling foreign contracts due to financial difficulties at a number of Russian enterprises.

"Today in the marketplace, in our estimation, defense enterprises with the lowest levels of cooperation suffer the most, and this could lead to defaults on contracts," Brindikov said.

Russia exports weapons to about 80 countries. Although China and India remain key buyers of Russian-made weaponry, Moscow has been actively expanding its presence on arms markets in Latin America, Southeast Asia, the Middle East and Africa.

The most popular types of weaponry bought from Russia are Sukhoi and MiG fighters, helicopters, battle tanks, armored personnel carriers and infantry fighting vehicles.

Russia also maintains traditionally strong positions in sales of small arms, and anti-tank and air-defense missile systems.

Rosoboronexport recently said it planned to offer foreign customers loans and debt write-offs to encourage the purchase of its weaponry amid the global economic crisis.

Due to fierce competition on global markets, the company is also shifting focus in its arms deals to post-sales servicing, modernization, repairs and even decommissioning of military equipment.

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