Soon Defense Minister Sergey Shoygu will convene a year-end MOD Collegium to summarize the results of 2016, including procurement.
A preview of Shoygu’s claims about Russian military acquisition in 2016 is evident in year-end reports from individual military districts.
In late November, according to RIA Novosti, the Western MD announced that more than 1,500 pieces of equipment entered its inventory in 2016. They include Su-35S fighters, Mi-28N, Mi-35M, and Mi-8AMTSh helicopters, BMP-3 and BTR-82A armored vehicles, and Tigr-M and Tayfun vehicles.
In early December, the district’s press-service said its forces will receive 500 major equipment items before the end of the month, including 20 T-72B3 tanks, An-148 transports, Mi-35M and Mi-8MTV-5 helicopters, and 30 command-staff vehicles.
Russian defense industry retains the Soviet tradition of “storming,” or last-minute rush work to meet the annual production plan. You might not want a ride on a Russian helo assembled in December.
On December 1, the Eastern MD reported it has received more than 650 major pieces of equipment this year. Interfaks-AVN indicated they include Su-35S and Su-34 aircraft, Iskander-M and Bastion SSMs, Tor, Pantsir-S, and Verba air defense systems, Tornado-G MRLs, and UAVs.
The Central MD got more than 700 equipment items in 2016, according to TASS. It received the Iskander-M, Pantsir-S, eight aircraft, three updated Mi-24 helicopters, and 50 T-72B3 tanks.
The Russian media hasn’t reported on Southern MD acquisition, but, being a high priority, it will likely equal the Western MD’s 2,000 items of equipment.
Logistics tsar Deputy Defense Minister Dmitriy Bulgakov told Izvestiya the military has put more than 6,000 pieces of armor and other vehicles, and 1,000 missile and artillery systems into service this year. The latter includes “13 brigade and battalion sets” of SSMs and SAMs. He also noted that 19 auxiliary vessels have been commissioned into the navy.
Bulgakov concluded, with this year’s deliveries, it’s “possible to say that half our armament is new.” That’s 50 percent on the way to the goal of 70 percent by 2020.
The lists provided by the Russian media weren’t meant to be exhaustive. We’ll see a more complete enumeration of 2016 procurement from Shoygu or his deputies in the days to come.
But even if we only consider Bulgakov’s 7,000 pieces of equipment, 2016 will be a bigger procurement year than 2014 when President Putin stated that 4,500 weapon systems and other items were acquired.