Russia has set another record in foreign arms trade. According to Russian President Vladimir Putin, the value of Russian weapons delivered to foreign customers in 2012 exceeded $14 billion — 6% more than in 2011 ($13.2 billion) and more than twice the $6.5 billion reached in 2006.

Although no regional breakdown of the defense exports has been officially revealed, India is likely to remain the largest importer of Russian weapons. Despite the fact that the expected handover of the aircraft carrier Vikramaditya (formerly Russia’s Admiral Gorshkov) was postponed to 2013, the list of Russian weaponry received by the Indian military is still impressive; it reportedly includes two Talwar-class frigates, about two dozen Su-30MKIs, several MiG-29K/UPGs and up to 20 Mil Mi-17V-5 transport helicopters.

Venezuela, Algeria and Vietnam are reported to be among top importers of Russian military equipment as well.

The share going to China is not as significant as it used to be in the 1990s and the early 2000s. But in 2012 Beijing received Russian engines to power its own fighters and bombers, and purchased 50 Mi-171 transport helicopters.

Nevertheless, the current export backlog shows minimal growth. According to Putin, this year Russian defense manufacturers received foreign orders valued at $15 billion. This means that the current order backlog grew just by about $1 billion, compared to $40 billion at the end of 2011, but is still lower compared to $45 billion in late 2010.

Photo: Vikramaditya