Moscow: Venezuelan president, Hugo Chavez, arrived in Moscow on Thursday for talks with his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, amidst some speculation in the Russian media about a major arms deal between the two countries. The speculation involves the supply of sophisticated Russian air defense systems, such as Tor-M1, or three Amur-class submarines.
Recent reports in Russian daily Kommersant had said that Venezuela had approached Russia with a request to build nine diesel submarines - five of the Project 636 Kilo-class and four of the Project 677 Lada-class (export version-Amur 1650). The Venezuelan defence minister, however, denied these reports.
Meanwhile, Russia could sell up to 40 fourth-generation diesel submarines to foreign customers over the next seven and a half years, the state-run arms exporter, Rosoboronexport, said Wednesday.
"Analysis of the demand on foreign markets shows that 30 to 40 new Russian submarines could be sold by 2015," the arms exporter said in a statement posted on its Web site.
The two products that Russia currently has on offer for the export market are state-of-the-art, Project 636 Kilo-class and Project 677 Lada-class diesel submarines.
For long the Project 636 Kilo-class submarine has been considered to be one of the most silent submarines in the world, described famously as a 'black hole in the ocean.'
Russia has supplied such submarines to India, China and Iran.
Also developed by the Rubin design bureau in Russia is the Project-677 Lada-class diesel submarine, whose export version is known as the Amur 1650. The sub features new anti-sonar coating for its hull, an extended cruising range, and advanced anti-ship and anti-submarine weaponry.
Both classes are equipped with the highly acclaimed Club-S integrated cruise missile systems. The Club-S family includes the 3M-54E1 anti-ship missile and the 3M-14E land-attack versions, with a flight range of 275km (about 170 miles). The missiles can be launched from standard torpedo tubes from a depth of 35 to 40 meters (130 feet).
Indonesia has expressed interest in the acquisition of four Kilo-class and two Amur 950, a smaller version of the Project 677 class submarines.