Tag Archives: 46th TsNII

What Does Modern Mean?

Is this modern?

The Russian military reports routinely on the growing proportion of “modern types of armaments, military and special equipment” entering its forces. On November 7,  Defense Minister Sergey Shoygu said:

“As a result, we have managed to increase the level of equipping troops with modern weapons by 4 times since 2012. Today it stands at 58.9 percent.”

Interviewed on October 31, MOD armaments tsar Yuriy Borisov stated that weapons and equipment in Russia’s permanent readiness units won’t be less than 60 percent modern at the end of 2017. The standing goal for GPV 2011-2020 is 70 percent.

The chief of the 46th TsNII recently gave the following percentages for modern armaments in the Russian inventory.

Percentage of Modern Weapons and Equipment

So Shoygu’s math above isn’t quite right — four times 16 is 64 rather than 58.9 percent modern weapons.

But what is modern? On Arms-expo.ru, military commentator Viktor Murakhovskiy not long ago described how the MOD categorizes its armaments.

The RF Armed Forces have five categories of weapons and equipment:

  • 1st category — New types entering the armed forces from industry which are under factory warranty and in use.
  • 2nd category — Serviceable types in use.
  • 3rd category — Types requiring some kind of repair.
  • 4th category — Types requiring capital repair.
  • 5th category — Types to be decommissioned.

Murakhovskiy turns to the RF standards agency to define modern armament:

Modern armaments are defined by state standard (GOST RV 51540-2005, Military Equipment, Terms and Definitions) — modern means a type of armament which is not inferior or superior to the best analogous foreign types in its combat, technical, and usage characteristics, or does not have foreign analogues.

All of which makes timely this little expounding on a point. New doesn’t always mean modern. There is new production of old designs. But by the same token one shouldn’t doubt that old weapons can be just as lethal and effective in combat as new ones in the right tactical situation.

With the long life cycles of today’s military technology, the distinction between new and modern will remain murky.

Take Russia’s Pantsir-S gun-missile air defense system. It was designed in the late 1980s and early 1990s to replace Tunguska from the 1970s. Because of Russia’s various troubles, Pantsir-S wasn’t produced until the late 2000s, and entered service by 2012. Obviously new but how modern? Now it’s slated for modernization by 2019. The Pantsir-SM is supposed to feature increased detection and engagement range with a new missile.

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Rosoboronpostavka Understaffed, Ineffective?

This author has written several times that Rosoboronpostavka – the Federal Agency for Supplies of Armaments, Military, Special Equipment and Material Resources – is supposed to be key to making the GOZ and GPV work.  It’s supposed to take responsibility for negotiating, contracting and taking deliveries out of the hands of military men, so they aren’t tempted by bribes and kickbacks from manufacturers, and can concentrate on the specific requirements for weapons and equipment that needs to be made and bought.

In mid-2010, erstwhile Putin ally Viktor Cherkesov (who once warned of infighting and corruption among high-ranking security service veterans) was unceremoniously booted from Rosoboronpostavka.  President Dmitriy Medvedev criticized the agency (and Cherkesov) for not accomplishing much, and he moved it under the Defense Ministry, declaring that it would become a reinvigorated part of the effort to rearm the Armed Forces during the next decade.

Nadezhda Sinikova

With great fanfare, Defense Minister Serdyukov’s confidant, Nadezhda Sinikova took over at Rosoboronpostavka.  This all fit pretty well with Serdyukov’s general intent – to establish strict control over the Defense Ministry’s “financial flows,” and to civilianize Defense Ministry functions that aren’t clearly military in nature.

It’s seemed that Sinikova’s Rosoboronpostavka has remained stillborn, much like it was prior to mid-2010.  At least, nothing was heard from or about it until a 3 March article in Rosbalt.ru.  Now we have to be wary — Cherkesov’s wife, Natalya Chaplina is Rosbalt’s General Director.  Be that as it may, the article seems pretty solid.

According to Rosbalt.ru, Rosstat published data on salaries in the federal executive organs, and experts were surprised the highest average paychecks — 135,000 rubles per month or more than 1.6 million rubles per year — are in Rosoboronpostavka, an organization not even really functioning.  The average 12-month federal salary is 728,000 rubles, about 60,000 per month.
 
Rosoboronpostavka is working only in a technical sense.  The different power ministries and departments haven’t hurried to hand over authority to conclude contracts for them, and they’ve tried to sabotage the agency’s work, according to Igor Korotchenko. 

Rosoboronpostavka’s supposed to have 1,100 professional employees, 980 in the Moscow headquarters.  A source close to Rosoboronpostavka claims that, prior to mid-2010, not more than 10 people worked for the agency, and it didn’t have its own office.  They worked in a room in Rosoboroneksport on Moscow’s Ozerkovskiy Embankment. 

The Rosstat data says Rosoboronpostavka has the lowest staffing level of any executive structure, only 15.5 percent or 152 people against an authorized level of 980.
 
Before the mid-2010 changes, Rosoboronpostavka salaries had been 50-70,000 per month; the director got 70,000 and he reported to Prime Minister Putin.  Now, with its status downgraded and reporting to the Defense Minister, the agency’s pay has increased several times.
 
Experts think the pay’s kept high because the country’s leadership wants to deter corruption in the state defense order (GOZ), but deputy editor-in-chief  the journal “Armaments and Economics,” Professor Sergey Vikulov says this high pay comes “from the naive belief of our leaders that high pay will deter bureaucrats from bribery.” 

One notes Vikulov’s journal is the professional publication of the 46th TsNII, not exactly an objective voice since it used to form the GOZ (and probably collect the bribes) pretty autonomously before Rosoboronpostavka was established.
 
Korotchenko believes even bureaucrats who earn millions will be tempted to “saw off” part of the billion-ruble contracts they oversee.  He goes on to say  corruption in the Defense Ministry directorates occupied with the GOZ and the OPK already caused the failure of the two previous state programs of armaments (GPVs).
 
Rosbalt.ru also claims the Audit Chamber has said GOZ-2009 was only 50 percent completed.  Then it cites NG‘s (Mukhin’s) 70 percent fulfillment figure for GOZ-2010.

Although one expert hopes higher pay at the agency is tied to greater productivity in processing contracts, a Rosbalt.ru source says as before only a small number of contracts are being completed.  The expert is just about ready to give up searching for a logical explanation for the lack of elementary order in Russia’s management structures. 

But Korotchenko thinks it might be early to judge Rosoboronpostavka, since it’s still establishing itself.  Perhaps at the end of this year or the beginning of next, it will take over all power ministry arms and equipment procurement contracting, he says.