Russian state arms exporter Rosoboronexport has signed contracts with Algeria and Turkmenistan for the supply of 150 T-90C Main Battle Tanks (MBTs) following the defence ministry's refusal to buy for the Russian Army, Vedomosti business daily has reported.
The contracts, worth a combined $500m, were signed in 2011 under which Algeria has agreed to purchase 120 of the combat vehicles, while Turkmenistan will receive 30 tanks.
The contract with Algeria is part of a package of contracts worth $1bn signed in 2009 and 2010, during the Arab Spring protests in Algeria's neighbouring countries including Egypt, Tunisia and Libya.
Russia previously supplied Algeria with 185 T-90C tanks in 2009 and Turkmenistan with 10 tanks in 2010 to honour a $30m contract.
The sales come shortly after senior army officers suggested that Russia search for new international customers for its arms industry, because of declining Chinese demand for Russian weapons.
Moscow Defense Brief editor, Mikhail Barabanov, stated that the new contracts will help Russia overtake China as the world's leading tank exporter in 2012.
Based on the Russian T-72 tank, the T-90 is a third-generation MBT featuring a 125mm 2A46 smoothbore tank gun, 1G46 gunner sights, new engine, thermal sights and a 'three-tiered' armour system for protection against conventional and ballistic threats.
However, the tanks were dubbed as being of too poor quality by the Russian military's chief of staff in 2011, who said the nation would be better served by spending the same amount of money on purchase of three German Leopard 2 tanks for the price of one T-90.
As of 2011, 436 T-90A and 266 T-90s tanks were in service with the Russian Ground Forces and Naval Infantry.
Russia has supplied the tanks to India, Uganda and Kazakhstan and is also discussing the sale of the T-90s with several potential customers including Saudi Arabia, Syria, Cyprus, Libya and Lebanon.
Image: Russia to supply T-90C Main Battle Tanks to Algeria and Turkmenistan under combined $500m contracts.