State-owned Russian arms company Rosoboronexport has offered to collaborate with Turkey to create amphibious hovercraft for the Turkish Navy’s use, a company spokesman said Thursday. A spokesman for the Russian arms exporter said Russia and Turkey also conducted joint tests of a missile defense system and reached several arms deals with Turkish firms.
“We have been cooperating on the creation of smaller amphibious hovercraft, as well as the integration of combat systems of Russian manufacture with Turkish naval platforms," Rosoboronexport spokesman Anatoly Aksyonov said, according to Russian news agency TASS.
Rosoboronexport operates at Russian President Vladimir Putin’s behest and accounts for the vast majority of Russia’s arms sales. Aside from the amphibious hovercrafts, Turkish officials also expressed interest in the acquisition of Russian short-range missile defense systems, Aksyonov said. Turkey would be responsible for the manufacture of the systems.
News of Turkey’s purported collaboration with the Russian arms exporter came weeks after Russian officials disclosed military contracts with China and Thailand. Chinese officials finalized their purchase of Russia’s S-400 air defense systems in September 2014 and became the first country other than Russia to possess the system, Rosoboronexport CEO Antoly Isaykin confirmed to Russian-owned Sputnik News last month.
“I will not disclose the details of the contract, but yes, China has indeed become the first buyer of this sophisticated Russian air defense system,” Isaykin said.
Top Russian officials, including Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev and Trade Minister Denis Manturov, held high-level meetings with Thai officials last month, during which the two sides discussed the potential sale of Russian military aircraft. The meeting took place at the same time Thai officials met with Chinese representatives for a defense summit, Reuters reported.
Western nations have expressed growing concern in recent months about a marked uptick in Russia’s military activity, both in Eastern Europe and abroad. Russia’s armed forces have conducted extensive military exercises that reached as far as the Arctic.