War disaster means Russia “no longer tops” arms sales to Asia

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine may have sounded the death knell for its own arms sales to Asia – once one of its largest arms export markets.

Tougher sanctions and reputational damage over the quality of Russian arms are accelerating a downward spiral in defense sales to Asian countries, analysts say.

Last month, the Philippines announced it had scrapped a $227.7 million (€227 million) deal for 16 Russian Mi-17 helicopters over fears of facing Western sanctions, following the example of Indonesia, which abandoned plans to purchase 11 Sukhoi Su-35 Flanker-E fighter jets last year.

The Philippines is considering a US offer to provide its own heavy lift helicopters instead.

Reports last week suggest Vietnam – Russia’s largest arms buyer in Southeast Asia – could further reduce ties, underscoring a long-term decline in sales.

“The times when Russia was the top dog in Southeast Asia are over. I think they were over before the war and I don’t think they will ever recover,” said Dr. Ian Storey from the ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute in Singapore.

Concerns about sanctions have been heightened by a “PR disaster” over images of wrecked and abandoned military vehicles in Ukraine that “call into question the quality and reliability of Russian-made military equipment,” he said.

The reputation of Russian-made jets – Moscow’s most lucrative arms export to Asia – took a serious blow when one of its most advanced fighters, a fourth-generation Su-35 and up, was shot down by an anti-aircraft missile over Ukraine in April.

Last month, the head of Russia’s arms exports branch forecast revenues of around $10.8 billion in 2022 — around 26 percent down from 2021, despite pledges by Vladimir Putin to expand military cooperation with countries in Latin America, Asia and Africa to expand.

And arms sales to Asia, particularly Vietnam and India, had already plummeted since Russia annexed Crimea in 2014 due to sanctions and concerns about Moscow’s ability to fulfill orders, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.

“The current war has accelerated these trends,” said Dr. Storey.

For its part, the Russian defense industry is faced with the dilemma of whether to replace its own equipment losses on the battlefield or generate foreign exchange earnings from arms exports.

Telegraph Media Group Limited [2022]

https://www.independent.ie/world-news/europe/war-disaster-means-russia-is-no-longer-top-dog-for-arms-sales-to-asia-41997360.html War disaster means Russia “no longer tops” arms sales to Asia

Fry Electronics Team

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