Interviewed in yesterday’s Svpressa.ru, defense analyst Anatoliy Tsyganok expressed his doubts that trillions of rubles can save Russia’s OPK, its defense-industrial complex.
A quick summary. Tsyganok seems to make the point that, while there’s an armaments plan, the OPK is still in a woeful state of neglect, i.e. the Bulava’s producers may actually be better off than many defense enterprises. Much of what is leaving the factory gates still heads for foreign buyers or requires expensive repairs because quality is lacking. Perhaps the OPK development (or maybe rescue) program needs attention before the GPV. Tsyganok takes fewer Indian and Chinese purchases as a sign of quality problems. Lastly, he says Moscow needs to rethink how it’s most likely to fight before picking what to make and who will make it.
But back to the article, Tsyganok gives his views on what might be bought with 20 trillion rubles in State Armaments Program (GPV) 2011-2020. He mentions (sometimes without specific numbers or costs):
- An-124 Ruslan — 20.
- Combat and transport helicopters — 1,000.
- PAK FA — 70.
- Yak-130 combat trainers.
- Su-35 and Su-30 — 60 (80 billion rubles).
- MiG-29K — 26 (25 billion rubles).
- Su-34 — 32 (35 billion rubles).
- Proyekt 885 Yasen SSNs.
- Proyekt 955 Borey SSBNs.
- Bulava SLBMs.
- Proyekt 11356M frigates — 3.
- Proyekt 636 diesel-electric submarines — 3.
- T-90 tanks — 261.
There are, of course, lots of systems required that he doesn’t take time to mention. New ICBMs, advanced conventional munitions, communications systems, satellites, etc. He notes that the Navy’s needs alone come to several hundred billion rubles, and several ships and submarines he mentions are for the Black Sea Fleet. The Ground Troops don’t get too much attention from Tsyganok.
Asked whether the OPK can produce modern combat equipment of the necessary quality and quantity even with sufficient financing, Tsyganok responds:
“Unfortunately, it has to be recognized: many OPK enterprises are already incapable of series production of high-technology weapons systems. The woes of the unfortunate strategic missile ‘Bulava’ are proof of this. The picture is generally nightmarish. A fourth of Russia’s strategic enterprises are on the verge of bankruptcy. The tax organs have already issued liens for the recovery of debts against 150 defense plants and organizations. Baliffs have already been sent there. Who can work on the state armaments program there?”
“And don’t let the fact that in the first half of 2010 fully respectable growth of 14.1% in production was registered in the defense-industrial complex deceive you. Mainly, as before, everything put out went for export. Let’s say, over six months, our country produced 54 helicopters. Of them, 31 went abroad.”
Asked if the poor state of defense plants is affecting the quality of their products, Tsyganok says:
“It affects it in the most immediate way. Expenditures on eliminating defects in the course of production, testing, and use of our military products today goes up to 50% of the general volume of expenditures on the corresponding defense budget article. In economically developed countries, this indicator does not exceed 20%. The main reason is monstrous equipment depreciation. And there’s no ray of hope visible there. The rate of renewing the production base in the Russian defense sector, despite growing financial inputs of recent years, is not more than one percent a year. In order somehow to get out of this hole in which we find ourselves, we would need to increase this rate by 8-10 times. Incidentally, the reduction in quality of arms and military equipment produced is already noticeably reflected even in Russia’s military-technical cooperation with our traditional partners in this area. With India and China most of all. They are already not so intently signing contracts with us as before.”
What about design bureaus and scientific-research institutes?
“Also nothing to brag about here. The fact is what the Russian defense-industrial complex can offer the Armed Forces in the near future, with a few exceptions, is already no longer the world’s best models. And all this is because in the USSR’s time our country allocated up to 4.7% of GDP to basic research. In today’s Russia, in all 0.16% goes to this business. At the same time, in China, for example, annually ten times more is spent on scientific-research and experimental-design work. And, as expected, next year it will catch up with the U.S. As a result, in many military technologies, Russia is currently at a 1970s-1980s level.”
Finally, Tsyganok’s interviewer asks if there’s any way out of these dilemmas:
“There’s always a way out. First of all, it’s essential to promptly review the goals and missions of the weapons complex. We really have to understand whom we intend to fight, and what types of armaments are necessary for this. Then the state defense order [GOZ] will take on more accurate contours. As long as we don’t have this understanding, the situation will only get worse.”