Popovkin on OPK, IVECO, Mistral, and Bulava

Speaking to journalists at Euronaval-2010 today, First Deputy Defense Minister Vladimir Popovkin said the Russian Navy needs modernization more than the other armed services.  And defense industry needs modernization badly.  Popovkin noted:

“Many industry representatives came to the exhibition with the military.  At the exhibition we always need to examine what’s best in the world, have talks, and look at where we aren’t up-to-date.”

 “Without reequipping the Russian defense industrial complex it’s impossible to produce modern equipment.”

 “Our task is not to buy foreign equipment, but technologies on the basis of which we would be capable of organizing production in Russia.  We, unlike some other countries, are not secretly copying examples, but openly we say we’re prepared to pay for technologies, to buy licenses for production of this or that equipment.  The main condition is the transfer of production to Russian territory and the transfer of technologies.”

Is Popovkin slamming China?  Is China copying secretly or actually quite brazenly?

On the joint venture (JV) with Italy’s IVECO, Popovkin said:

“A JV for producing these armored vehicles on RF territory has been created.  Next year it will begin production.  The first vehicle will come out at the end of 2011.”

“Essentially, this is final assembly.  Nevertheless, we are planning that more than 50 percent of the components in this vehicle should be of Russian manufacture.”

Popovkin said Russia is now in talks on the specific model:

“We’ve presented specific requirements.  Why?  We have our own weather conditions, different employment tactics, therefore the base model will be developed taking Russian conditions into account.”

 ITAR-TASS noted the JV will put out vehicles needed for both the Defense Ministry and the MVD.  Licensed assembly of several hundred units of IVECO’s LMV M65 annually could occur at one of Russia’s automotive factories.

Popovkin also said Russia’s tender for amphibious assault ships has been announced:

“We’ve announced the tender for the purchase of amphibious assault ships.  Two ships will be built abroad.  Technology transfer for the construction of the rest is planned.”

It sounds like Popovkin’s decided a Russian shipyard can’t win the competition for the first two units.  Are Russian builders just competing for units 3 and 4?

Asked about the number of Bulava launches in 2010, Popovkin said:

“We’re acting sequentially, step by step, therefore it’s impossible to say now the exact number of launches in 2010.  The main task now is to conduct the next launch.  Based on it, we’ll determine our future plans.  Until we get reliability of 98-99 percent, we won’t put this missile on combat duty.  The missile’s reliability is determined not just by launches, but also by a whole series of testing work.”

Meanwhile, a Defense Ministry source has told ITAR-TASS the second Bulava launch of 2010 will occur on 29 October.

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