Russian defense exports hit a record $7.4 billion in 2009, and the prospects remain bright for the next few years, the governmental arms export agency said Jan. 28.
Its 2009 total was up 10 percent from the previous year, and "in 2010, we expect to earn no less," Rosoboronexport Head Anatoly Isaikin told reporters.
Bookings also hit a record high of $34 billion, up $15 billion, Isaikin said.
Rosoboronexport, which exports to more than 70 countries, accounted for 80 percent of Russian military export sales in 2009, with the rest coming from Russian defense companies that trade in spare parts and maintenance and repair services.
Of Rosoboronexport's revenues, military airplanes and helicopters accounted for half; arms and gear for land forces, 19 percent; naval ships and gear, almost 14 percent; and air defense systems, more than 13 percent.
Isaikin said the agency's revenue has grown 2.4-fold since 2001, when it was established by then-President Vladimir Putin.
India held onto its crown as the top Russian arms client, followed by Algeria, China, Malaysia, Venezuela and Syria, the agency said. Isaikin said that the share of China, Russia's biggest arms client through the 1990s, will fall from the current 18 percent because Chinese defense industry is growing so fast.
Isaikin added that Russia has a right to sell any weapons to Iran because the Islamic republic is under no international arms embargo. He added that the powerful S-300 air defense system that Iran ordered in 2005 - none have yet been delivered -is a defensive weapon.