World Defense Show in Riyadh, the capital of the Kingdom
of Saudi Arabia, is to bring together the world of defense & security to
demonstrate integration and the future of defense interoperability across air,
land, sea, space and space. The leading Russian producers are to showcase the
latest high-end defense technologies as part of a single exposition organized by
the Rosoboronexport. Let us take a closer look at the Russian-Saudi relations
and the Russian technologies offered to the region, through the eyes of the Arab
Russia and Saudi Arabia
Relations between Russia and Saudi Arabia have a long history. The Soviet Union
was the first country to recognize an independent Saudi state. The USSR
established diplomatic relations with it on February 19, 1926 by exchanging
notes. In 1932 Prince Faisal, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the KSA, made an
official visit to the USSR.
The most significant recent bilateral development took place in October 2019,
when Riyadh hosted talks between President of Russia Vladimir Putin and King
Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud of Saudi Arabia. As Kremlin reported, the talks
focused, among other things, on coordinating measures to stabilise oil prices,
as well as the situation in Syria and the Persian Gulf region, and the
Palestinian-Israeli settlement. In addition, the leaders discussed building up
their multi-dimensional cooperation in various areas, such as energy,
agriculture, industry and military-technical cooperation, as well as cultural
and humanitarian exchanges.
"Following the visit, a package of bilateral documents was signed, including
both interagency and commercial agreements. The sides signed the Charter of
Cooperation of Oil Producing Countries and the programme for high level
Russian-Saudi strategic cooperation of the Joint Intergovernmental Commission on
Trade, Economic, Scientific and Technological Cooperation. Other documents
concern cooperation in manned cosmonautics and the GLONASS global navigation
satellite system, energy, culture, healthcare, mass communications, tourism,
mutual visa facilitation agreements, encouragement and protection of capital
investment and mutual expansion of agricultural and food exports. A number of
documents regulate specific issues of joint investment and joint projects", -
Later, Vladimir Putin held talks with Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman Al Saud
of Saudi Arabia. The sides also exchanged gifts.
"Bilateral relations were established over 90 years ago in 1926, the dawn of the
state of Saudi Arabia. The Soviet Union was the first foreign country to
recognize the young Kingdom of Hejaz and Nejd led by your father. Your Majesty,
we appreciate your personal contribution to promoting multifaceted Russia-Saudi
Arabia cooperation. Your first ever visit to Russia in October 2017 was quite
effective. The agreements reached back then are being successfully implemented",
- said President of Russia Vladimir Putin.
According to Russian President, Russian-Saudi coordination is an indispensable
element for ensuring security in the Middle East and North Africa.
"I am convinced that without your country, it is hardly possible to achieve a
just and long-term settlement of any problem in this region", - said Vladimir
Al Jazeera reported at the time in the Putin visits Saudi Arabia in sign of
growing ties article, that the meeting signified strengthening relations between
the two countries, who worked together in recent years to keep oil supplies low,
and thus keep prices high, but have been on opposite sides of regional
In April 2019 Russia's Minister of Defence General of the Army Sergei Shoigu
announced, that Russia was ready to make maximum use of the potential of
military cooperation with Saudi Arabia.
Deputy Defence Minister of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Prince Khalid bin Salman
Al-Saud visited the ARMY 2021 International Military-Technical Forum in Russia
and held the meeting with Sergei Shoigu. Saudi Arabia is committed to
strengthening cooperation with Russia, which will help to jointly respond to
threats and challenges, said Khaled bin Salman Al-Saud. According to him, the
cooperation that exists between his country and Russia "will contribute to a
common response to all modern challenges, which we will carry out together."
“The challenges that exist,” he noted, “will require even greater cooperation
and efforts from us.”
The Deputy Minister thanked Shoigu for the invitation to the ARMY 2021, which he
called a "wonderful event" and conveyed greetings from the King of Saudi Arabia,
the leadership of the Ministry of Defence of his country.
In the article Saudi Arabia, Russia ink deal aimed at developing military
cooperation Arab News reported on the agreement aimed at developing military
cooperation with Russia signed at the ARMY-2021 .
“We discussed our common endeavor to preserve stability and security in the
region, and reviewed shared challenges facing our countries,” – quoted Arab News
The Al-Awsat newspaper wrote, that the officials discussed military and defense
cooperation and joint efforts to preserve regional security and stability, and
also tackled challenges facing their countries .
The Saudi Gazette also reported in details on Prince Khalid Bin Salman's visit
to Russia .
"Prince Khalid also met with the Russian Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and
Special Representative of the President for the Middle East Mikhail Bogdanov and
Chairman of the Committee on International Affairs of the Russian State Duma
During the talks, they reviewed recent international and regional developments,
and discussed our efforts to address mutual challenges faced by our two
countries", - wrote the Saudi Gazette.
Russian high-end technologies for the Gulf
“We are strengthening partnerships with Middle Eastern countries. This involves
not only the supply of military equipment – orders coming from this region
through Rosoboronexport account for more than 30% of our order book – but also
the development of cooperation in civilian areas" said Rostec CEO Sergey
"Foreign partners in the Middle East are traditionally interested in new
high-tech products, and every time we bring here the main new export products
from the Russian defense industry and unique proposals for industrial
cooperation," said Rosoboronexport Director General Alexander Mikheev.
Rosoboronexport in 2021 presented to the Middle East newly-designed products
from its export catalogue, including the new armoured personnel carrier and
infantry fighting vehicle on the basis of the Boomerang unified wheeled combat
platform, air defence missile systems Antei-4000, Viking and Tor-E2, tank T-14
Armata and new types of firearms of Russia’s production – assault rifles KORD,
Lebedev pistol and the newest Kalashnikov assault rifle AK-19.
One of the integrated solutions is the counter-UAV system.
"The great availability of drones and the possibility of acquiring them by
various terrorist groups, as well as the experience of recent local wars and
military conflicts, poses new challenges to the countries of the region and
forces them to revise the existing air defense system, designed to protect
against classical attack weapons", - said Rosoboronexport.
The Russian special exporter has offered a new package solution – a system
capable of effectively countering attacks by unmanned aerial vehicles, combining
electronic warfare and air defense systems of various classes. It combines UAV
jamming systems and hard-kill components (air defense systems).
"The integrated use of the proposed electronic warfare and air defense assets
will enable effective countermeasures against UAVs of any class provided air
enemy reconnaissance and automated control systems are in place… Traditionally,
Rosoboronexport is ready to treat each foreign customer individually. During
technical consultations, the company's specialists can offer the optimal
configuration of the system components for countering UAV threats depending on
the customer’s needs and its vision of security threats to its infrastructure,
transport, energy and military installations", - explained Rosoboronepxort.
Another recent Russia's novelty for the Middle East are the latest small arms -
KORD balanced action assault rifle, the latest Kalashnikov AK-19 assault rifle
and the Lebedev compact pistol (PLC), exhibited abroad for the first time last
Rosoboronexport: "The 6P68 Kord assault rifle from world-famous Russian arms
manufacturer ZiD (JSC Degtyarev Plant) shows the wonders of accuracy in the
hands of special forces soldiers. Experts especially note its unique
characteristics in automatic firing mode owing to an innovative balanced action
system. Vast experience in the development of machine guns, sniper rifles and
other weapons has enabled the manufacturer to select the most advanced light and
durable alloys to achieve high reliability of the weapon, and close interaction
with law enforcement agencies has helped develop the most convenient design for
The renowned Kalashnikov AK platform has further evolved into the
long-anticipated AK-19 assault rifle in the world market, chambered for
Rosoboronexport: "The AK-19, like any Russian Kalashnikov assault rifle, gives
confidence in every shot. With its telescopic stock and other technical
solutions that improve ergonomics, the weapon is extremely handy to a soldier of
any army in the world, regardless of his anthropometric data".
Al Defaiya in November published a large analysis on the Russian military
product line offered to the Middle East . Touching the issue of Mil Mi-28NE
Night Hunter and Kamov Ka-52 attack helicopters, it reported, that both gunships
featured round-the-clock operation ability being armed with an impressive set of
"For the first time the rotorcraft was shown with the latest guided missiles,
namely Vikhr (Whirlwind) and A305E with firing range of 10 and 15 km
respectively. The missiles were developed by the High Precision Weapons holding
subsidiaries - Tula-based Shipunov KBP and Kolomna-based KBM", - said Al
Al Defaiya: "The rotorcraft Ka-226T is intended for operations in the highlands
and so has been nicked as the “Climber”. It features new airframe and fuselage
design with increased aerodynamic characteristics. Being made of modern
lightweight materials the Ka-226T is equipped with an impact-resistant fuel
system to meet special safety requirements. The machine received up-to-date
avionics package to ensure safe and cost efficient operations. The vehicle
module design makes Ka-226 real “Jack of all trades” as passenger, transport,
SAR or medical-evacuation work horse.The Ka-226T versatile design draws interest
of both commercial and military operators. The helicopters are in serial
production at the Ulan-Ude Aviation plant in the Russian Far East and has been
chosen for ambitious light helicopter program of the Indian Army aviation and
Air Force to comprise 200 units in total".
The Arab Defence Journal covered in details the latest Russian Orion-E MALE
drone in the reconnaissance/strike configuration which had its global premiere
in 2021 .
"The Orion-E is equipped with satellite communication system that boosts its
range. The optimal aerodynamic design ensures effective performance. The Orion-E
is also distinguished by long service life, that means, that the producer will
be able to continuously develop the payload of the delivered UAV. The
international marketing of the Orion-E in combat configuration has been
announced by the Rosoboronexport in 2021. The Orion-E is intended for performing
missions in a wide range of climate zones", - reported the Arab Defence Journal.
It added, that one of the armament options for the Orion-E UAV was the Vikhr
guided missile produced serially by the Kalashnikov Group. The company in May
2021 announced the successful flight trials of the Vikhr with a series of
launches performed by a Ka-52 Alligator reconnaissance/attack helicopter.
Another Russian product covered by the Arab Defence Journal was the Tornado-S
300 mm multiple launch rocket system .
"Russia is unleashing marketing of the Tornado-S 300 mm MRL – the country's
latest and most potent rocket artillery system incorporating new technologies
and vast historical experience.
The producer and developer of the Tornado-S is the Rostec’s Technodinamika
holding. One of the major fields of Technodinamika’s work is enabling the latest
Russian MRL systems guide the rockets at flight with keeping the balance of
their gunpowder to body mass ratio at increased range of fire. The Tornado-S 300
mm MRL is developed on the base of the renowned Smerch system. It has
dramatically improved characteristics, in particular, significantly increased
firing range and accuracy. The projectile control system is based on a
platformless inertial navigation system with support for satellite navigation
onboard equipment, which enables aiming of each rocket at a separate object even
at a multiple launch", - reported the Arab Defence Journal.