“Made in Russia”: Domestic Weapons at IDEX-2021

53 companies represented Russia at the International Defence Exhibition and Conference IDEX-2021 in Abu Dhabi, UAE. Of these, 15 were companies displaying military products. The country's exposition occupied 1,200 square metres and presented more than 500 samples of military products in the form of models, mock-ups, and other promotional materials.

Follow New Defence Order. Strategy on Google News.


According to Sergey Chemezov, CEO of the Rostec State Corporation, the Russian weapons samples at the exhibition were presented mainly in the form of mock-ups due to restrictions associated with COVID-19. The head of the Corporation expressed his hope that Russia will be able to present full-scale models at the next IDEX exhibitions.

The leading holdings of “Rostec” State Corporation were notable exhibitors, including Joint Stock Company (JSC) “Rosoboronexport”, JSC “NPO High-Precision Systems”, JSC “Uralvagonzavod”, JSC “Kalashnikov Concern”, JSC “Technodinamika”, and JSC “United Instrument Manufacturing Corporation” (UIMC), “Shvabe” Holding, as well as major Russian defence industry enterprises, including JSC Concern "VKO Almaz-Antey", JSC “Concern Morinformsystem-Agat”, JSC “NPO RusBitech”, “Proekt-Technika” Corporation, and Kazan State Gunpowder Plant.

At IDEX 2021, Rosoboronexport organised a unified Russian exposition and showcase the main innovations of the Russian defence industry.
On the Bright Side

Sergey Chemezov, Rostec's CEO, has said that the Middle Eastern and North African are the most important customers in the arms market, with the region accounting for approximately 1/3 of the total market. "Weapons 'Made in Russia' are well known in the region and are in high demand, and they have proven to be at their best in the harsh climatic conditions [...] the region is very important for us," Chemezov stated.

At IDEX-2021, Russian companies presented not only systems that have already proven themselves in combat operations, but also new unique equipment.

In Abu Dhabi, the “Armata” T-14 tank, developed by Uralvagonzavod, was displayed abroad for the first time. It is the world's only tank of the third post-war generation. The T-14 has already received an export license, which has made it possible to negotiate exporting it to other countries.


A mock-up of the T-14 Armata tank on Rosoboronexport's stand at the IDEX-2021 - Photo ©RIA Novosti/Mikhail Voskresensky

IDEX 2021 participants have assessed the capabilities of the Armata and, according to Russian Industry and Trade Minister Denis Manturov, have already submitted first applications for the export of the Russian tank. The head of Rosoboronexport confirmed that negotiations for the delivery of the T-14 are already underway with six countries but did not name them.

Andrei Terlikov, the chief designer of the Urals Transport Machine-Building Design Bureau, stated that serial deliveries of the T-14 Armata main battle tanks (MBT) to the Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation will not begin until 2022, and export deliveries will only be possible after the domestic needs are met.

An equally important event was the presentation of Kalashnikov Concern's products. The company believes that the new AK-19, designed for the NATO standard 5.56 millimetre cartridge, will become the main competitor of NATO small arms in Arab countries. This is evidenced by the attendant’s interest shown in Kalashnikov’s development. Having had its world premiere at IDEX, there is already information about the first export applications for the AK-19.


The Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Muhammad bin Zayed Al Nahyan, at Kalashnikov's stand. Photo – “Kalashnikov Concern”

It was also the first time that the export version “Orion-E” of the Russian “Orion” unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) was presented abroad. The manufacturer, JSC “Kronshtadt”, noted that the Orion-E can be fitted with weapons in various configurations.


"Orion-E" . Photo by Dmitriy Fedyushko/TASS









Response to Threats

The organisers of IDEX-2021 named two main themes of the exhibition: responding to modern threats and security challenges, and repelling drone strikes. In this regard, an essential part of the Russian exposition at the exhibition was comprised of air defence equipment.

The Almaz-Antey has demonstrated the “Antey-4000” surface-to-air missile (SAM) system abroad for the first time. This SAM model is designed to protect military, industrial, and administrative facilities and is capable of engaging targets up to 380 km away, depending on the type of missile used. Another advantage and distinctive feature of the system is its tracked chassis, which allows it to quickly move over rough terrain.

The visitors were also able to see how the “Sosna” short-range SAM system differs from its predecessor, the “Strela-10”. According to the manufacturers, the modernisation has doubled the target engagement range, tripled the ammunition load, improved stealth and introduced full automation of target tracking and engagement.

The “Viking” SAM system (the export version of the “Buk-M3”) has received the ability to interact with radars made by non-Russian manufacturers. This is an important advantage for the system on the international market, as it allows for maximum adaptation to foreign customers' requirements.

High-precision Systems presented the upgraded “Pantsir-S1M” missile and cannon system for the first time. The system has been upgraded with the experience of combat use in Syria. Several countries are already interested in the new air defence system.

Additionally, Rosoboronexport held a public presentation at its stand entitled "New Approaches to Anti-UAV System Construction", during which company specialists presented a new integrated solution: A system capable of effectively countering the actions of drones, combining electronic warfare means and air defence systems of various classes.

The “Avtomatika” Concern of Rostec State Corporation presented the UAV countermeasures system “Kupol-PRO”, designed to protect the airspace of critical facilities by blocking electromagnetic signals to onboard radio electronic subsystems of the drone and rendering them inoperable. As part of Rosoboronexport's presentation, the company presented its stationary UAV countermeasures system, “Rubezh-Avtomatika”, designed for continuous radio surveillance and detection of UAV signals and formation of countermeasures signals.



Water, Earth, Air, and Ice

The Kalashnikov Concern did not limit itself to demonstrating the AK-19 assault rifle. At IDEX-2021, the new MR-155 Ultima Smart Gun was demonstrated. The model is equipped with a collimator sight and a handheld computer that can sync with the user’s gadgets.

Kalashnikov also unveiled the “Khaska-10”, a hovercraft designed for use in hard-to-reach regions and capable of travelling on land, water and ice. The Khaska-10 is the world's largest civilian hovercraft; it can reach speeds of up to 75 kilometres per hour and cover a distance of up to 650 km with 10 tonnes of cargo on board.


Important exhibits were such small arms as the compact modification of the Lebedev pistol PLK, KORD and AK308 assault rifles, the “Lobaev” sniper rifles, and the Kalashnikov PPK-20 submachine gun. Kalashnikov CEO Dmitry Tarasov said that deliveries of the new 9mm PPK-20 submachine gun to the Russian Armed Forces are expected to start as early as 2021.

Abu Dhabi saw many other international premieres of machinery that is well known inside Russia.

Well-known to Middle Eastern countries, the “Military-Industrial Company”, which specialises in the production and sale of wheeled vehicles, has for the first time shown armoured vehicles on the “Bumerang” unified wheeled platform abroad. The company is confident that solutions on the Boomerang platform have a high export potential and expect to sell one hundred to one hundred and fifty units in the first year. The presentation of some of the Military-Industrial Company's products took place in an online format.

Shvabe presented optical sights and night vision devices for armoured vehicles. The new optics can be used on combat vehicles at any time of day or night for terrain observation and target recognition, the holding said.

The Russian stand also showcased virtual training systems and automated fire control systems. In particular, the first Russian virtual simulator system for integrated troop training, developed by Rusbitech, was presented. The system makes it possible to train troop command and control officials in planning military operations and decision-making under various combat conditions and uses the domestic Astra-Linux operating system.

Air Force equipment at the exhibition was represented by the Ka-52 reconnaissance attack helicopter, the Su-35 super-manoeuvrable multirole fighter and the MiG-35 multifunctional frontline fighter.


Models of the Su-35 fighter jet and Mi-38T military landing helicopter at the Rosoboronexport stand at the IDEX-2021 . Photo ©RIA Novosti/Mikhail Voskresensky
Energy and Tanks

The Russian delegation at IDEX 2021 was led by Minister of Industry and Trade Denis Manturov. The exhibition was visited by Deputy Defence Minister Alexei Krivoruchko and Army General Oleg Salyukov, Commander-in-Chief of the Ground Forces. Rustam Minnikhanov, President of Tatarstan, and Ramzan Kadyrov, Head of Chechnya, were guests of IDEX.

Following meetings between Denis Manturov and Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, several statements were made regarding cooperation between Russia and the UAE. The parties identified hydrogen energy as a promising area for cooperation and agreed on the need to use advanced Russian technologies for the exploration, production, and processing of hydrocarbons.

Photo - Russian Ministry of Industry and Trade

Also during talks with the UAE was decided to hold a joint forum on industrial cooperation with Russia, which so far did not take place because of the pandemic.

"We expect that the main increase in economic cooperation will come from the links of small and medium-sized enterprises. To do this, we need to make more active use of the venues of those exhibitions that are traditionally used," Manturov said.

According to the minister, an agreement has already been reached on the organisation of a separate business forum, and it remains to be decided on the venue and time of the forum.

The head of the Russian Ministry of Industry and Trade said that a contract had been signed with the UAE for the delivery of one hundred Russian VRT300 drones and one hundred VRT500 helicopters. Russia and the UAE have discussed a project to develop a joint new supersonic civil aircraft and the transfer of Russian composite materials production technology to the UAE.

Other official statements were also made. Representatives of the Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation (FSMTC) spoke about foreign bids for the T-90MS MBT. According to the officials, its high combat performance is "ensured by powerful armament, a modern automated fire control system, the latest advances in armour protection and a reliable engine and transmission.”

T-90MS tank Rosoboronexport catalogue

The FSMTC also provided information on Russian arms exports to the Middle East and North Africa. The service estimates that arms deliveries to the region reach $6 billion a year and account for almost half of Russian military exports. Alexander Mikheyev, a representative of Rosoboronexport, said that contracts worth more than $1.5bn were signed with 10 African countries.

From Russia to Russia

The Abu Dhabi exhibition was the venue for Russian companies to negotiate with each other. For example, Rosoboronexport and JSC “Ruselectronics” Holding announced the start of a programme of joint activities to promote communication systems, automated control systems, Electronic warfare (EW) complexes and secure information and telecommunication systems on the global market. A representative of JSC “Rosgeologiya” Holding announced its intention to purchase Russian-made unmanned aerial vehicles to use them for exploration purposes.

The total amount of contracts signed by Russian companies during IDEX-2021 was not disclosed. But forecasts sound optimistic.

A total of around 1,300 companies from 60 countries took part in IDEX-2021. For the first time, representatives from Israel, Northern Macedonia, Azerbaijan, Luxembourg and Portugal attended the fair.

Russia has been participating in the event since 1993, and as is tradition, Rosoboronexport is the organiser of the Russian exposition in 2021.

The “New Defence Order. Strategy” journal is an official media partner of the International Defence Exhibition and Conference IDEX-2021.

Our partners