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The Russian army will soon have no weapons left
 

Moskovskii Komsomolets
April 11, 2002
MIG-29, SU-30, AND FAVORIT
The Russian army will soon have no weapons left
Author: Alexander Kornoshchenko
[from WPS Monitoring Agency, www.wps.ru/e_index.html]

RUSSIA'S DEFENSE SPENDING SITUATION CAN ONLY BE CALLED A DISASTER. THE DEFENSE SECTOR IS DECAYING, AND FUNDING SHORTAGES AND LACK OF STATE SUPPORT ARE ACCELERATING THE PROCESS. NEW ARMAMENTS ARE NEITHER BEING PRODUCED NOR DEVELOPED. THE GOVERNMENT PAYS LITTLE ATTENTION TO THIS.

Last week and this week have been marked by significant events in the world of arms and arms producers. On April 3-5, there was a specialized international exhibition-conference for military and dual- use technologies in Nizhny Novgorod, "New technologies in radio electronics and control systems". On April 8, an international exhibition of armaments and military materiel opened in the capital of Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur: "Defense Services Asia 2002" (DSA 2002). These two "parades of military producers" had much in common; both the domestic and the foreign exhibition displayed one and the same Russian armament. It could have been observed a year, and two, and... seven years ago. As far back as in 1994, we signed a contract with the same Malaysia for sale of 18 MiG-29 pursuit planes, which was doubtless a success of the Russian arms traders. Today, we are trying to foist off on Kuala Lumpur the same MiG-29. Although, there are also Su-30 that cannot be either called the season novelty. Malaysians have ceased to be trustful and want to purchase American F-18 for their Air Forces.

From our files:

According to the data of the Stockholm Institute for Strategic Research, the U.S. share in the world trade in arms amounts to 50%, while that of Russia is 3%. The situation is worsening on the world market, the demand is falling; specialists expect this trend to remain for another 10-15 years.

Another probable confusion at DSA-2002 is the failure of our tanks. Yes, tanks cannot fly: although Russian T-90 was nicknamed "the flying tank" for its good riding properties, Malaysia, however, is going to prefer Polish T-91. Warsaw has recently signed a provisional contract on sale of 64 of its armored machines, wherewith it has outdone Russian producers. Missile sales are becoming minor too, although Russian anti-aircraft defense means are considered one of the best in the world. It might be that we consider this by ourselves, but Malaysians are far from it, since they are negotiating with Pakistan on purchasing anti-aircraft defense systems. Although, it is exactly this region where a major part of buyers for Russian arms are concentrated, in the view of specialists from Rosoboronexport

(Russia's Defense Export)...

There was no similar cases in Nizhny Novgorod: Russian armorers did not admit much competition on their own territory. The "cover" was also secure - in the person of presidential envoy for the Volga Federal District Sergey Kirienko, Nizhny Novgorod region governor Gennady Khodyrev, director general of the Russian Control Systems Agency (RCSA) Vladimir Simonov, Rosoboronexport director general Andrey Beliyaninov, and deputy director general of the Russian Usual Armament Agency Nikolai Baranov. Industry, science, and technology minister Ilya Klebanov was also expected, but the "godfather of the Russian defense sector preferred to meet with Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi.

Representatives of foreign delegations - from the UK, France, Korea, China, and the United Arab Emirates - were demonstrated samples of Russian military materiel, already worn out at international exhibitions: anti-aircraft missile systems and emplacements Shilka, Buk, and Tunguska.

From our files:

In Russia, the share of up-to-date arms and military materiel in the armed forces is reaching today 20%. The share of arms operated over ten years is about 80%. About a third of military materiel (about 50% of combat planes and tanks, almost 80% shock helicopters) is not ready for combat use as to its technical condition. Above 40% requires medium and full repair. The state defense spending is scarcely enough to maintain the army and the Navy. Annual funding for scientific- research and experimental-design jobs, which defines the future appearance of the defense sector, does not exceed 10-15% of the level required. Purchases of latest armament samples after 1995 are sporadic in all kinds of the armed forces.

Favorit was traditionally called the "hit" of the exhibitions. This is the very same S-300P air defense missile system that has set everyone's teeth on edge. It is famous for the scandalous tender with Cyprus, to where Turkey categorically refused to admit our missiles. This episode might well be called the greatest PR action for Favorit. However, the systems remain a secure and, unfortunately, the only anti-aircraft means of the Russian army - the existent 100 S-300P systems cover the sky of the Motherland only in part. The produce of the leading anti-aircraft systems developer, the Almaz Scientific Production Association (NPO Almaz), is currently presented as the world's best for a number of properties. It is intended for high- performance defense from attacks of aviation and cruise, tactical, and operational-tactical ballistic missiles. Overall, the Americans are far behind with their plans for the National Missile Defense against our S-300P system.

To render justice, it should be noted that S-300P is good in fact, but it is plainly a little out of date compared to the current rates of development of state-of-the-art technology. The S-400 system that was expected to replace S-300P has never been created.

If there are no Russian arms on international markets, the Russian army doesn't have them either. However, the domestic defense sector is not to blame for this, since it has somehow managed to preserve its resources and is ready for up-to-minute projects and production of modern weapons. But... never was a story of more woe, than this of the state and the defense sector. Above 40% of enterprises are on the brink of bankruptcy and actual liquidation because the state has systematically non-fulfilled its obligations for payments against defense contracts already executed. In a situation of permanent arrears, the Defense Ministry can only buy single samples of armaments and materiel, which does not allow enterprises to establish economicly profitable full-scale production.

From our files:

Russia has never managed to raise the level of funding for arms procurement to 10% of defense spending. To compare: the US allocates 14-16% and the Pentagon believes it possible to enhance these figures to 22-24%. Russia spends 30 times less on scientific-research and experimental-design work as the US and 10 times less than European NATO states. If the situation persists, in a few years Russia will cease to handle technical projects in the defense sphere; new models of pursuit planes and armored troops carriers will not be tested; new automatic security providing systems will not be designed.

The forecast is not good. However, it somehow does not scare the government which persistently avoids seeing the catastrophic state, in which both the army and all its armaments have found themselves. The main excuse is "no money". However, the present "economy" threatens to ensue incommensurably greater spending in the foreseeable future. Of course, if the country is going to save its face not only as a seller of "rarity" arms, but also as a strong independent state.

For the "last bit" - merely information ad notam: Russia's entire defense spending is comparable with that of Brasilia. The latter's armed forces enroll not more than 350,000 people, have no nuclear weapons and high-end state-of-the-art armament... (Translated by P. Pikhnovsky)

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