Russia brings Armata and Viking to 2021 IDEX conference
The exhibition in Abu Dhabi: from Kalashnikov to Ak Bars
One of the key international military machinery exhibitions — 2021 IDEX International Defence Exhibition and Conference — is taking place in Abu Dhabi now. The Russian exposition organised by Rosoboronexport (a part of Rostec) occupies an area of over 1,200 square metres. They have brought High Precision Weapons, Uralvagonzavod, Technodinamika, Shvabe, Kalashnikov, Avtomatika, Roselectronics, Oboronprom, Almaz-Antey, Morinsis-Agat, RusBITech, Proekt-technika to the exhibition in the UAE. Tatarstan enterprises have also arrived at the exposition: Kazan Gunpowder Plant and Ak Bars Shipbuilding Corporation have presented their products. Realnoe Vremya offers a brief review of Russian expositions.
Tanks, anti-aircraft missile systems and lightweight pistols
An unmanned turret tank on the basis of Armat’s (T-14) universal platform is being exhibited in Abu Dhabi now for the first time. Boomerang-based APC and infantry fighting vehicle are demonstrated too. Uralvagonzavod has brought the multifunctional Universal Armoured Engineering Machine to the Emirates. High Precision Weapons is showing Pantsir-S1 anti-aircraft missile system.
It already showed off in Syria, and this arouses the interest of foreign clients in it. Russia’s fourth premiere also comes from High Precision Weapons: an armoured missile carrier BT-ZF to transport marine infantry units, border guards and ground troops (designed for 17 people). It must provide fire support to dismounted members of a landing operation in all types of military actions.
Our neighbours from Kalashnikov Concern are presenting an AK-19 rifle with 5.56×45mm NATO cartridge (.223 Remington), a futuristic MP-155 Ultima smart weapon. But the concern makes not only the rifle nowadays: in the Emirates, it is demonstrating a compact 710-gram Lebedev pistol (PL) for 14 9x19mm cartridges. By the way, he is already tipped for big prospects in the weaponry market. According to the engineers, “the compact size allows using the PL for concealed carry that’s necessary for police and special service workers”.
Zala Vtol unmanned convertiplane in two versions is another development of Kalashnikov: for a classic launch with a catapult and a hybrid model of a plane and helicopter with four horizontal propellers — this enables it to perform vertical take-off and landing.
The Izhevsk engineers’ colleagues from Kovrov, from the Degtyarov plant, have brought a Kord rifle used by Russian special subdivisions to the UAE.
Against robots and in favour of elite passengers
Robotisation of the defence industry is the central theme of the exhibition this year. There is another important area too — fight with unmanned aircraft. For this reason, Russia is presenting Repellent EW system that blocks all unmanned aircraft at a distance of 20 kilometres. The system includes a 3,5-kg Pishchal electro-magnetic gun that can jam drones at up to 2 kilometres.
But let’s continue talking about the list of Russian international premieres. Almaz-Antey concern has shown another exhibit: it is Viking, an export version of Buk-M3 system that can intercept any target in the air at 65 kilometres with missiles.
Apart from the exhibition, talks with buyers are IDEX’s important element. And as Minister of Industry and Trade Denis Manturov noted, the Arab Emirates themselves remain the leader — local entrepreneurs have non-stop held talks with participants in the exposition. And Russia occupies a considerable position in the Near Eastern partners’ interests.
The Near East and North Africa provide 50% of all sales of Russian weaponry and machinery abroad — the abundance of military conflicts in these places make an impact. Moreover, the UAE is known to be ready to develop a supersonic civil plane for elite passengers (for eight and 30 passengers) together with Russia. Abu Dhabi’s Mubadala has been the interested side representing the Eastern partners.
What about Tatars?
Kazan Gunpowder Plant has its own place in the Russian exposition. It isn’t reported what it has brought to the exhibition. According to information on the plant’s website, the director general of the enterprise has arrived in Abu Dhabi. Nothing more is said.
Ak Bars Shipbuilding Corporation has brought models of Project 22150’s patrol ship and a Karakurt-E small missile shop of Project 22800E.
Tatarstan President Rustam Minnikhanov traditionally attends the exhibition as one of the honourable guests. He visited IDEX on 21 February and held a series of meetings there, for instance, with Uzbekistan’s Minister of Internal Affairs Pulat Bobozhonov. Director General of KAMAZ PJSC Sergey Kogogin participated in this talk too: they spoke about an expansion of cooperation between the republics in the lorry factory.
The president also talked with Tawazun Economic Council’s Chief Executive Officer Tareq Abdul Raheem Al Hosani. The council is a strategic investment company specialised in the defence industry. There was reached an agreement in 2019 that Tawazun would get 36% of Yelabuga’s Aurus company and invest a total of €110 million in the next three years.
Ultimately, Minnikhanov met with Minister of Economy of the UAE Abdulla Bin Touq Al Marri. We should note that commodity turnover between Tatarstan and the Emirates exceeded $20 million in 2019, but it fell to $9,3 million in 9 months in 2020 because of the pandemic. Moreover, the UAE is still interested in both KAMAZ and Zelenodolsk Shipbuilding Plant.
The president couldn’t help but traditionally met with Ramzan Kadyrov, in honour of this the president of Chechnya posted a photo on Instagram.