This is nothing to be proud of. A fine piece of engineering (trades range for explosive power, ergo comes heavily armored — the West has no real equivalent) and deadly, but is going to be fighting on the wrong side.
It’s one thing to sell the Saudis air defense systems which are only of use against adversaries with an air force, especially ones with a more powerful airforce, and another thing to sell them weapons that will be extremely useful in further victimizing the Yemenis.
Of course for the Saudis equipped with oil billions its a buyer’s market, and they’re sensitive to slights, and tired of powers who want to have it both ways and condemn them from one corner of the mouth and cozy up to them from the other. If Moscow denied them rocket artillery they’d likely lose interest in the much more lucrative air defenses too.
Looks like Saudis bought Tos-1 MLRS from Russia. pic.twitter.com/EfsXJSfLQQ
— Ali Özkök (@Ozkok_) April 9, 2019
Nontheless it has to be admitted Germany which has banned weapons exports to Saudi has a more morally upright position here. Albeit on the other hand Berlin was happy to profit from the Saudi war in Yemen and only banned weapons exports over the murder of Khashoggi. Also Germany continues to deliver weapons which are jointly developed with non-Germans. And finally Germany isn’t target of US-led financial and economic warfare and in urgent need of any billion it can lay its hands on. (Heck it even sold S-400 to Turkey after the latter ambushed and shot down Russia’s own fighter-bomber over Syria.)
Perhaps Moscow can counteract the effect its deadly artillery will have in Yemen by restraining the Saudi war effort in some other way, perhaps diplomatically at the UN, but really it would have been best if the delivery was never made in the first place.
Saudi Arabia has taken delivery of its first TOS-1 multiple-launch rocket system (MLRS) from Russia.
A pair of images emerged on social media on April 9, 2019, appearing to show the TOS-1A MLRS in Saudi Arabia, after a delivery to the kingdom.
A source in the Russian defense industry, speaking to Sputnik International, confirmed the delivery, saying, “The exports of TOS-1A Solntsepek to Saudi Arabia have been started. The first batch of the system has already been delivered to the kingdom.”
Further details, such as the number of systems on order or the number delivered in the first batch, were not provided. The financial value of the contract has not been disclosed.
In October 2017, Saudi Arabia signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Russia on acquiring a range of Russian military equipment, including the TOS-1A. Other systems that Riyadh may acquire are the Kornet-EM anti-tank missile and AGS-30 grenade launcher. Saudi Arabian Military Industries (SAMI) additionally inked documents with Rosoboronexport on the potential local manufacture of the hardware.
SAMI said at that time, “With the guidance of His Royal Highness the Crown Prince, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defense, the two parties signed these agreements, which are expected to play a pivotal role in the growth and development of the military and military systems industry in Saudi Arabia.”