Venezuela to sign deal for 100 Russian tanks - source

MOSCOW, September 9 (RIA Novosti) - Russia and Venezuela areexpected to sign a contract on the delivery of at least 100 main battletanks worth about $500 million to the Latin American country, a Russiandefense industry source said on Wednesday.
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez is expected to arrive in Moscow onWednesday for a two-day visit as part of his 11-day foreign tour andwill hold talks with the Russian leadership.
"During the visit, the sides are expected to sign a contract on thedelivery of T-72 and T-90 tanks to Venezuela," the source said.

Moscow and Caracas could also discuss future deliveries of Russian-made infantry fighting vehicles, the source added.
According to military experts, the T-72 main battle tanks willcomprise the bulk of the deliveries because this tank is cheaper thanthe T-90 and better fits the demands of the Latin American market.
The price of a T-90 main battle tank, manufactured by Russia'sUralvagonzavod plant is $5-7 million, while the price of a T-72 modelis $1-2 million.
Last year, Uralvagonzavod produced a total of 165 T-90 tanks. Overhalf of the vehicles were exported, and the remaining tanks replacedsome of the T-72s in the Russian Armed Forces; therefore, Russia mayhave enough T-72 tanks available for the sale to Venezuela.
The Venezuelan Army currently has more than 80 outdated French-madeAMX-30 main battle tanks and several dozen AMX-13C light tanks.
Chavez, who has spent billions of dollars on weapons from Russia inrecent years, earlier confirmed that Caracas and Moscow were discussingpurchases of Russian T-72 and T-90 main battle tanks among othermilitary equipment.
The Venezuelan president has said the country plans to buy weaponryfrom Russia over a possible increase in U.S. military personnel inneighboring Colombia.

Between 2005 and 2007 Russia signed 12 contracts worth more than$4.4 billion to supply arms to Venezuela, including fighter jets,helicopters and Kalashnikov assault rifles.

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