In an earlier March 15, 2006 report, DID covered a huge arms sale from Russia to Algeria involving fighter aircraft, tanks, and air defense systems, with the possibility of additional equipment. The Algerian package was post-Soviet Russia’s largest ever single arms deal, and compares to annual Russian weapons exports to all customers of $5-6 billion per year over the last couple of years. Reuters South Africa quoted Rosoboronexport chief Sergei Chemezov as saying that “Practically all types of arms which we have are included, anti-missile systems, aviation, sea and land technology.”
Transparency is not an outstanding feature of Russian arms deals. Reports regarding the exact composition of the deal varied, and many didn’t add up when measured against a $7.5 billion total. The structure of the deal itself was highly consequential and so worth discussing, and we concluded with an updated note regarding Algeria’s past pattern of arms acquisitions, which helps to explain the sophistication of the weapons to be found in this deal. DID has now updated that article with more specifics via Moscow Defense Brief and other sources; MDB also adds an analysis of the deal’s risk factors that went into the new “Additional Readings” section.