Krasnaya zvezda provided a summary of General Staff Chief Nikolay Makarov’s press-conference yesterday. The rest of us are still parsing and digesting. Let’s look at more complete press reporting to do justice to Makarov’s remarks.
Gazeta.ru cited RIA Novosti in adding to Makarov’s comparison of French and Russian artillery systems:
“In France, we were shown the work of an artillery battalion which was ready to fire 30 seconds after a march. Our analogous norm is 15 minutes. The difference between one minute and 15 minutes is huge. I think over this time an entire artillery battalion could be destroyed.”
But Gazeta noted Makarov said Moscow doesn’t intend to buy the French Caesar howitzer.
Gazeta, citing Interfaks this time, expanded on this comment on buying Western military technologies:
“We need to understand what to get, and what to acquire, but to acquire the technologies, and to produce on Russian territory. Some technologies certainly have to be bought in the West.”
Igor Korotchenko explained to Vesti FM what Makarov and the Defense Ministry will or won’t buy:
“If suddenly for some reasons those models which industry proposes don’t correspond to declared requirements, the Defense Ministry will toughen its demands. But on the whole the mainline remains – reliance on the domestic defense-industrial complex. Makarov has spoken clearly about this.”
“Meanwhile, we’ll buy some leading technologies which will be required in Russia’s armed forces in the West. In principle, these announcements are fully anticipated, they correspond to that policy that both Defense Minister Anatoliy Serdyukov and General Staff Chief Makarov have conducted since 2008.”
Gazeta and Novyye izvestiya contrasted Makarov’s criticism of Russian tanks with Putin’s praise for them. Both news outlets see President Medvedev, Serdyukov, and Makarov lining up to make tougher demands on the OPK while Prime Minister Putin defends it.
They cited RIA Novosti this way with Makarov’s comments:
“The T-90 turret calls for our serious respect, it doesn’t lag the leading foreign analogs, and in a number of characteristics exceeds them.”
“The T-90S still has a number of flaws which need to be fixed soon.”
“Experimental-design work to perfect this tank will continue.”
At Nizhniy Tagil, Putin sympathized with tank builders as they described their latest developments, saying:
“This is just what the Defense Ministry always complains about.”
Rounding out the tank news, Nezavisimaya gazeta’s Viktor Litovkin talked about the Defense Ministry’s continuing refusal to buy modernized versions of old tanks.
He says it wants a new class of armored vehicles on a common tracked or wheeled chassis to simplify operation and maintenance, and different combat modules as needed – BMP, tank, reconnaissance, self-propelled artillery, or ATGM launcher – mounted on the same basic platform.
Litovkin suspects, though, that this good idea could be ruined by “interdepartmental contradictions,” and a lack of leadership vision.
He concludes that, while Makarov was critical of their product, Putin was promising Russia’s tank builders 64 billion rubles in government support.