Russia and Yemen could sign an arms contract worth over $1 billion, an international arms expert has said.
A Yemeni delegation led by President Ali Abdullah Saleh discussed sales of Russian arms to the Arab republic recently during the leader's short visit to Moscow.
Igor Korotchenko, head of a Moscow-based think tank on the international arms trade, said Yemen "is interested in a very broad range of Russian arms and military equipment," especially MiG-29 SMT jet fighters (up to 30), Mi-35 and Ka-52 helicopter gunships and Mi-17 military transport helicopters.
He said Saleh's wish list also included T-72M1 tanks, Kornet E antitank complexes, Smerch multiple launch rocket systems (up to 20 units), and BMP-3 infantry fighting vehicles.
"In addition, Yemen is interested in building an air-defense system with [Russian made] S-300MPU and S-300 PMU1 surface-to-air missile complexes," Korotchenko said.
He said Yemen would also like to modernize the weaponry it bought from the Soviet Union, including BRDM-2 armoured reconnaissance vehicles, whose number currently exceeds 1,000.
Furthermore, he said, Yemen needs warships, in particular high-speed patrol boats, to fight piracy in the Gulf of Aden.