“Their ammunition is not compatible with our current rifles. Unless we totally change our M16s and M14s to Kalashnikovs, which we are not ready to do, then it is not feasible at the moment.”
But Lorenzana said Russia was “welcome to produce other defence equipment such as body protective gear”.
2 He did not say anything about buying the 16 Russian helicopters, but last December said the deal would not go through even though the Philippine Air Force preferred them to any others available.
Instead, the government would buy 16 Black Hawk helicopters from the US, he said at the time.
Lorenzana explained that although the Mi-17 was cheaper, “it is very difficult to pay for them because of US sanctions”. The US Co-ngress in 2015 passed a law sanctioning any country that buys from Rosoboronexport – Russia’s state agency for arms exports – after the seller was blacklisted for its role in Moscow’s annexation of Crimea.
Russia is the world’s second-largest arms exporter after the US, and Southeast Asia accounted for more than 12 per cent of its arms exports between 2013 and 2017 – nearly twice as much as a decade ago.