Algeria Struggles With Russian Arms

by: Matthew Potter
September 22, 2009

Category: Business Line, Companies, Contract Additions, Contract Awards, Countries, Events, logistics, MiG, Military Aviation, production program, Russia | RSS 2.0

The former Soviet Union used to provide weapons to its proxy states and allies across the world for almost nothing. They did this as a way to reward them and also to allow them to fight their wars for them. Many times the weapon systems were stripped down versions of their own aircraft with less capable engines, electronics and weapon systems. Some countries like North Vietnam did receive the best that the USSR could supply to help them in their wars.

Since the break up of the Soviet Union the new Russia has seen a huge decrease in the size of their military and industrial base. They have attempted to increase the overall technology level of their weapons but have had limited funds to invest. The Russian Government has attempted to sell modern systems overseas to help fund their procurements and provide R&D dollars. To this end the MiG and Sukhoi fighters have often been exported and are contenders in India’s new fighter programs.

It is now reported that Algeria is having problems with their advanced MiG-29 fighter aircraft ordered back in 2007. The thirty-four aircraft were part of a much larger arms deal signed as a way for Russia to forgive some of Algeria’s debt. Algeria supposedly returned the fifteen aircraft delivered and canceled the remaining ones due to poor performance and quality.

According to a Russian investigation the problem has been that one of the sub-contractors for the aircraft provided not new parts but ones that had been recycled from old aircraft. This has been an issue in the past in all countries with aircraft production and repair. It is a scam that may often happen with new part prices being paid for old, reconditioned parts. This problem led to the issues with Algeria ending their order.

The problem faced by Russia is that it needs the good will of its customers to keep the money flowing as without the foriegn funds it might not be able to keep sustaining parts of its arms industry. There is just not enough domestic business. Russia has been using some of its oil revenue to modernize their military but still needs to keep up its foriegn sales.

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