Uganda has started negotiations with Russian state arms export company over a possibility of purchasing six more fighter jets, nine months after sealing similar transaction with the same arms company, a Russian international state news agency, Rianovosti, claims.
However the army spokesperson, Felix Kulayigye said yesterday that he is not aware of the developments save for the rumours being peddled by a website. “Stop wasting your time, I am not aware about this move.”
Speaking on Friday at an arms exhibition in South Africa, the company’s Deputy Director Alexander Mikheyev, disclosed to the Russian International News Agency that Uganda has contacted them with a view to purchase six more Sukhoi Su-30 multirole fighter jets to add to its earlier half a dozen collection it bought early this year.
“Uganda signed its first contract to buy six Su-30MK2 fighters this year, he said.” Now, we are talking about an option, the Ugandans expressed interest in buying another six aircraft of this type,” Rianovosti quoted Mr Mikheyev as saying.
The government in April also first denied reports that it had bought six new fighter jets from Rosoboronexport, valued at about Shs654 billion.
The deal turned out to be controversial when investigation found that government took $740 million (about Shs1.7 trillion) worth of taxpayers’ money from Bank of Uganda to buy the fighter jets and other military hardware from an unknown country.
In the same conference, Mr Mikheyev also said that his company, Rosoboronexport, has also signed a contract to sell six Mi-17 helicopters to Ghana.
The Russian arms exporter is also discussing with a number of countries for the creation of post-sale maintenance centres for Russian-made helicopters sold to these countries.
A team of Rosoboronexport officials is currently in South Africa as part of the Russian delegation attending Africa Aerospace and Defence arms show in Pretoria (September 19-23).
Russia is expected to be one of the largest exhibitors at the event, along with Germany and the US. The company said in a press statement that Russia will present several full-scale weapon systems together for the first time at the international arms exhibition Africa Aerospace and Defence 2012.
“The exhibition in the Republic of South Africa is the largest one on the continent, and it plays an extremely important role in strengthening our positions in Africa. We have planned a very tight schedule of meetings at this exhibition on many issues concerning air defence, air, land and sea systems. And we expect it to be very fruitful”, says the deputy director general of Rosoboronexport.
The Rosoboronexport delegation expects that visitors to the exhibition will pay special attention to advanced Russian-made defence products.
In the air systems segment are the Mi-17 and Mi-35 type helicopters, MiG-29M/M2 and Su-30MK2 fighters as well as the new Yak-130 combat trainer aircraft.
The statement further states that the military technical cooperation of Russia with African states was given fresh momentum by visits of the President of the Russian Federation to the Republic of South Africa in September 2006, to Egypt, Angola, Namibia and Nigeria in July 2009. Russia also was visited by Presidents of Angola in October 2006, of Uganda in August 2009, of Namibia in May 2010, of the Republic of South Africa in August 2010, and of Equatorial Guinea in June 2011.