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11 Sep, 2007 21:59

Russian arms on show in London

Some of Russia's most advanced weaponry is on show at one of the world's largest arms fairs. The theme of this year's DSEi exhibition in London is ‘force protection’. More than 30 countries are taking part.

This year's event is focusing on how to keep soldiers alive.  Body armour, gas masks and armoured vehicles are the centre of attention.   

As one of the world’s leading developers and manufacturers of defence technology, Russia is playing a big part in the event.  Its most advanced defence gear is on show.

Included in the show is the Iskander-E missile system with a target radius of 280 kilometers.  Also on display is the Mi-28NE attack helicopter, also known as “Night Hunter”.  It has been developed for use in all weather conditions and at any time of the day or night.

Exhibition organisers say Russia’s equipment may look unfashionable, but it wins where it matters.  

Rosoboronexport, Russia’s sole exporter of armaments and military equipment, has a client relationiship with more than 60 countries worldwide.  

“What's most important is that we don’t sell offensive arms to any countries under sanctions. We obey all international laws. As for claims that there are illegal military supplies from Russia – I can tell you the legislation and the licencing in Russia work in a way that make that simply impossible,” says Nikolay Dimidyuk, Rosoboronexport’s Director for Special Projects.  

As expected, Britain’s biggest arms company – BAE Systems – has a large presence at the fair.  It has recently been the subject of a corruption investigation over its arms deals with Saudi Arabia.

The scandal has motivated protesters, who are camped outside the exhibition centre.  The Campaign Against Arms Trade, or CAAT, is calling on the UK government to withdraw it support for British arms manufacturers.