TechRussia's Global Arms Trade Influence Dwindles Amid Ukraine Conflict

Russia's Global Arms Trade Influence Dwindles Amid Ukraine Conflict

Tower of destroyed T-80 tank - illustrative photo
Tower of destroyed T-80 tank - illustrative photo
Images source: ©
7:11 AM EDT, March 31, 2024
Russia's Share in Global Arms Trade Declines
Russia's involvement in the international arms market is on a downward slope. The country's exports in arms have plummeted by 50%, with domestic companies struggling to present anything to the global market as production is primarily directed towards the ongoing conflicts. Moreover, the appeal of Russian weapons has diminished significantly as their limitations have been vividly highlighted by the conflict in Ukraine.
Only a few years back, Russia made up 21% of the global arms trade. Presently, data from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) shows this figure has dwindled to a mere 11%. The ongoing war in Ukraine plays a crucial role in this decline. With the demand for weapons on the home front, Russia finds itself with limited offerings for international clients. This change in inventory has led to a decrease in the number of countries interested in procuring Russian arms - from 31 to a mere 13, resulting in a considerable loss of revenue.
Despite the ongoing battles, the clash of Western and Russian armaments starkly showcases the superiority of the West. Western equipment is not only more advanced but also offers enhanced protection for its operators.
Russian Weapons Lag Behind Western Counterparts
Service reports have identified several critical weaknesses in Russian military equipment. A lack of adequate protection for crew members and troops, seen in tanks and armored vehicles, has been especially noted. Russian defense systems, both passive and active, have also failed to meet safety standards on the battlefield.
Moreover, Russian missile systems have come under scrutiny. The once-touted "superweapon," the hypersonic missile Kh-47M2 Kinzhal, has been revealed as a mere upgrade of the older Iskander missile, easily countered by Western air defense. This revelation has led countries, including China, to halt their purchases in favor of developing alternatives.
The Indian market's shift is particularly telling, with the reconsideration of the S-400 anti-aircraft systems and the potential replacement of Russian Il-76 transport aircraft with Western models. India is also moving towards acquiring the French Rafale for its carrier-based aviation needs, moving away from Russian planes.
Russia Faces Dependency on Foreign Suppliers
The shift away from Russian military hardware is not limited to traditional markets. Countries like Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan, previously steady clients, are turning away from Russian aircraft. This trend is attributed not just to the equipment's performance, but also to Russia's unreliable support and maintenance services.
SIPRI's analysis points to a concerning trend of Russia's increasing reliance on foreign components and weaponry, turning from an exporter to a dependent importer from countries such as North Korea and Belarus. This shift underscores the significant challenges facing Russia's defense sector on the global stage.
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