Politics and the Proposed Russian-Saudi Arms Deal

According to reports in the Russian media, Saudi Arabia is close to inking contracts worth roughly $2 billion for military arms and technology. If the reported sales are consummated the Saudis will be purchasing 30 Mi-35 attack helicopters, up to 120 Mi-17 transport helicopters, 150 T-90S tanks, and 250 BMP-3 infantry fighting vehicles. There is also the rumor that Riyadh may be looking to tuck the advanced S-400 Triumf air-defense system into any final deal. Adding intrigue to the possible sale, the Russian-Saudi arms package may have political underpinnings masked by a Saudi intent to diversify supply sources and a Russian desire to expand into new defense markets.

The potential sale of Mi-35 and Mi-171B helicopters to the Saudis is nothing new; a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) agree

Dan Darling is an international military markets analyst with Forecast International Inc., an aerospace and defense research company. A graduate of Kansas State University with a degree in history, he ...read more


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