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7th IMDS: The Biggest Russian Naval Arms Show Goes Live This Week

July 2, 2015

Russian Aerial View Of St. Petersburg

Lenexpo should be teeming right now.

The commodious seaside venue with enormous halls and docking facilities for ships is hosting the 7th International Maritime Defense Show (IMDS) from July 1 to 5. Held every two years, IMDS is Russia’s most important naval event and an occasion for promoting its arms exports. This is why the Russian Navy’s hardware will be out in force at IMDS together with hundreds of exhibitors.

These include a Kilo-class submarine, several frigates, a minesweeper, and fast patrol craft. Dozens of other systems, from missiles to artillery and sensors are being displayed too.

21st Century Asian Arms Race (21AAR) is a media partner for IMDS 2015.

Russian officials were all praises to mark the launch of this year’s IMDS. “St. Petersburg is a city of marine glory, the renowned marine capital of Russia,” said Governor G.S. Poltavchenko, the former capital’s top administrator. “Advanced combat ships built in our city form the core of the sea power of Russia. Today our city covers more than half of all domestic R&Ds in marine domain and about 40 % of all order portfolio in the Russian shipbuilding.”

The 7th IMDS is also an occasion for doing business between governments. “The IMDS-2015 format and conditions provide an opportunity to get acquainted with samples of weapons and equipment at the stands of developers and manufacturers,” said Denis Manturov, the Minister of Industry and Trade.

Even President Vladimir Putin welcomed the beginning of IMDS, repeating his best wishes from the Army 2015 event last month. “I am sure that the 2015 International Maritime Defense Show will be successful and will strengthen the military and technical cooperation between Russia and foreign countries,” he said.

It’s an open secret that Russia is now allocating a greater portion of the national budget to defense spending. This is part of a long-term modernization program and a hedge against its poor relations with the US. The Russian Navy in particular is in need of an overhaul and it’s apparent, with the expensive Mistral contract scuttled last year, that Russia is open to partnerships and technology transfers with other countries.

During the last IMDS in 2013, the organizer Morskoy Salon JSC’s General Director Mikhail Zolotarev mentioned this possibility, which can revitalize Russian shipbuilding. “IMDS is the biggest event of its kind in Russia organized to develop business contacts between Russian enterprises and foreign partners for naval cooperation,” he said in an interview. “These partnerships should also establish international industrial cooperation in producing naval equipment and armaments.”

Another draw for visitors at the 7th IMDS are the wide range of aircraft that will be displayed, these include the Ka-52 attack helicopter and aerial acrobatic teams performing with the Su-27UB the MiG-29A.