Russia Exported Hundreds of T-90 Tanks in 2016

Buyers were Iraq, Vietnam and Kuwait. Egypt and India will probably follow

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According to its recently published report Russia's biggest tank-maker Uralvagonzavod in 2016:

  • Fulfilled the contract to deliver 64 T-90MS tanks to Vietnam
  • Finished delivering 146 T-90MS tanks to Kuwait
  • Delivered the first batch of 73 T-90S tanks to Iraq

Of these the sales made to Kuwait and Iraq are the most interesting.

Kuwait follows a broadly pro-American foreign policy orientation, but when it comes to buying military hardware often gets it from Eastern Europe bloc countries. Along with US-made M1 Abrams tanks and British-made Warrior infantry carriers it also operates hundreds of Russian-made BMP-3 armored transporters and Yugoslav-made M-84 tanks (licensed-built T-72s).

Since it invaded it in 2003 the US has transferred vast quantities of US-made weaponry to Iraq as aid, but when it comes to spending its own money on arms Baghdad is increasingly likely to buy Russian rather than American. In a high-profile transfer in 2014 Iraq bought Russian Su-25 ground attack planes after Obama delayed transfers of American-built F-16s.

A T-90MS tank goes for about $4.5 million, while the T-90S is somewhat cheaper.

Uralvagonzavod is also close to a deal to export up to 500 T-90MS tanks to India, and upgrade 1,000 of its T-72s. As well as another deal to help Egypt assemble 400-500 T-90S tanks at home.

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