Tag Archives: State Armaments Program

Tsyganok on the GPV and the OPK

Anatoliy Tsyganok

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.
  • An-70.
  • Il-112.
  • Il-476.
  • Il-76MD.
  • 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.”

46 Percent More or 47 Percent Short?

On Sunday, Defense Minister Anatoliy Serdyukov apparently told Bloomberg that Russia plans to spend 19 trillion rubles on its State Armaments Program 2011-2020.  Recall not long ago Finance Minister Kudrin said a final number had been worked out with the Defense Ministry, but he didn’t release it.

Bloomberg let Serdyukov advertise the plan [repeat, plan — the money has to be allocated in every annual budget] to spend 19 trillion rubles over the next 10 years as 46 percent more than Kudrin’s original offer of 13 trillion.

Serdyukov didn’t describe 19 trillion as 47 percent short of what the uniformed military says it needs to rearm.  Recall Deputy Armaments Chief, General-Lieutenant Frolov told the press 36 trillion was required to rearm all services and branches fully.

In fairness, Serdyukov admitted:

“This is the minimum we need to equip our armed forces with modern weaponry.  We could ask for a bigger number, but we need to understand that the budget cannot afford such spending, so 19 trillion is a serious amount of money that will provide considerable orders for our defense industry.”

OK, good.  There are limits on what the military can have, and this shows civilian control over the armed forces.  But what about saying this “will provide considerable orders for our defense industry.”  Isn’t the point for the armed forces to get some, or most, of what they need from industry, not simply ensuring the OPK has defense orders?

The 19 trillion rubles is not trivial.  If (a very big if) . . . if this gets approved and executed every year, it’s almost 4 times the amount in GPV 2007-2015.  But we know the GPV is always rewritten before it’s completed, so it’s very difficult to say what has or hasn’t been, or can be accomplished with any given amount of funding.

With Russia borrowing abroad to plug deficits, it’s not surprising the amount wasn’t what the military wanted.  And the state of its economy over the next couple years will determine if it actually gets this planned amount for procurement.

More Popovkin on GPV 2011-2020

Does the GPV really mean anything?

One has to recall Popovkin’s announced 20 trillion rubles is just a plan until the Duma allocates the money every year.  Then there’s a big question of whether allocated money is used effectively.

Mikhail Rastopshin and others have written about how every GPV in memory (GPV 1996-2005, GPV 2001-2010, GPV 2007-2015) was revised shortly after it began.  Now we have GPV 2011-2020 being formulated only four years into the previous one.  This overlapping and cascading makes it difficult to see (even for those involved) what’s actually been procured with the funding provided.

Five trillion for GPV 2007-2015 (about 550 million rubles per year) seemed like a pretty good amount in the mid-2000s, but, as Vladimir Yevseyev and others have been kind enough to point out, it didn’t buy that much.  Yevseyev said Russia’s rate of rearmament would only provide for modern weapons and equipment over the course of 30-50 years, if then.  A Defense Ministry official responsible for the GPV and GOZ, Vasiliy Burenok, recently said Russia’s rearmament rate is only 2 percent, and it should be 9-11 percent per annum.

Finally, Popovkin’s deputy, General-Lieutenant Frolov stated flatly, and rather shockingly, that the government’s first offer of 13 trillion for GPV 2011-2020 was barely one-third of what’s needed to rearm Russia’s Armed Forces.  Now, according to Popovkin, and probably after some intense lobbying, the government comes back with a counteroffer of about 20 trillion.  This insight into the current dynamic of civil-military relations is perhaps more significant than the GPV itself.  What will the ultimate figure be?  Does it matter?  No, because GPV 2011-2020 will be superseded and rewritten well before 2015.

It’s possible to assert plainly that no GPV will ever get done if GPV 2007-2015 — coming at the peak of  oil prices and Russia’s economic boom — didn’t lead to very much.

Back to other things Popovkin announced yesterday . . .

He reaffirmed Russia’s intention to build its own UAVs:

“We’ll build our own.  It’s possible that, based on the results of this air show [Farnborough], requirements for Russian UAVs will be refined.”

Popovkin said the world’s UAV makers are now modernizing existing systems rather than investing in developing new ones. 

He also announced that the Defense Ministry will soon select the Russian enterprise and location where Israeli UAVs will be manufactured.

On Russia’s new ICBM, Popovkin told the media:

“We’ve accepted the RS-24 ‘Yars’ and placed it on combat duty.  The first battalion is standing up.”

He said Russia plans to acquire 20 An-124 ‘Ruslan’ transports, while modernizing its existing fleet of them by 2015-2016, and buy 60 An-70 transports as well.  He also said Moscow will procure 1,000 helicopters by 2020, calling them “one of the priorities for us now.”  Special attention will be given to heavy transport helicopters.

Popovkin on GPV Financing, Inter Alia

Perhaps lobbying for more money for armaments pays off . . . at least a little.

At Farnborough today, First Deputy Defense Minister Popovkin told journalists financing for GPV 2011-2020 will be almost doubled.

Popovkin said:

 “We’re talking about increasing the amount.”

“With the Finance Ministry we’re now deciding the issue of the amount and the schedule of year-by-year financing taking into account of the state’s economic possibilities.”

“Now we’re talking about 20 trillion [rubles].”

Recall early June’s comments to the effect that the proposed 13 trillion would cover only one-third of the Defense Ministry’s needs.

Popovkin also said [again] that a state program for developing the OPK needs to be adopted at the same time as the new GPV.  He said:

“Both documents will be confirmed by the President this year.”

But he didn’t offer anything on the amount of financing for an OPK development program, but said ‘negotiations’ with the Finance Ministry are being conducted.

On the fifth generation fighter, Popovkin said the Defense Ministry plans to receive its first experimental model in 2013.  He also said:

“By 2015 the Defense Ministry plans to buy ten aircraft from the first assembly run which will go to operational forces.  And from 2016 we plan to implement a series purchase of fifth generation fighters.”

Air Forces CINC General-Colonel Zelin recently told the press more than 60 will be bought starting in 2015-2016.

More to follow . . .

Shamanov’s Press Conference

General-Lieutenant Shamanov

Ever-loquacious VDV Commander, General-Lieutenant Vladimir Shamanov held a wide-ranging press conference on Wednesday.  The Defense Ministry web site covered it hereITAR-TASS also published a number of short items on it. 

Shamanov detailed the work of five immediate deployment VDV battalions, lobbied again for a helicopter regiment, and discussed training issues and his procurement desires.  He joined the dogpile on top of the Russian OPK although he once seemed to defend it, and he credited Putin alone for the initiative to modernize the military’s arms and equipment.

He described his forces as combat ready, and manned and equipped at 100 percent.

Relative to combat readiness, Shamanov announced that the VDV has dedicated five battalions for immediate deployment which, if necessary, will be its first units sent into combat.  He said:

“By agreement with the General Staff, in the VDV we’ve dedicated five battalions for immediate deployment.  The uniqueness of service in these battalions is such that personnel from each of the battalions goes on leave for 45 days as a complete unit.  Therefore, at a minimum four battalions are always ready for combat deployment.  Today one of the sub-units of such a battalion from the 31st Airborne-Assault Brigade (Ulyanovsk) is fulfilling missions in Kyrgyzia [sic].”

Shamanov also gave voice to his desire, more modestly expressed than in April, for some aviation assets for VDV.  Speaking about the VDV’s future development, he said his troops must become airmobile.  To this end, he’s “given the Genshtab’s Main Operations Directorate [GOU] a request on the issue of forming a helicopter regiment in one of the three airborne-assault divisions [DShD or ДШД].”

Shamanov discussed VDV training at great length.  He started, of course, by speaking about jump training.  The parachute jump training plan was 70 percent fulfilled during the winter training period.  He blamed poor weather, saying troops often jumped in minus 30 degrees Celsius—the lowest acceptable temperature.  The plan for jumps from An-2 aircraft was fulfilled, but only 70 percent fulfilled from Il-76 aircraft.  He noted the VDV conducted its first-ever drop of a BMD-2 with its crew on-board, and said this hasn’t been done in 7 years, and then it was a BMD-1.  Use of the BMD-2 was significant, he said, because the BMD-2 represents 80 percent of VDV’s combat vehicle inventory.

Shamanov talked about large Spetsnaz assault group jump training in guided parachutes.  He said the use of guided parachutes allows reconnaissance troops to complete a horizontal flight of 20 kilometers, and:

“Our goal is to get so that such movements reach 40 kilometers, as they do in the Israeli Army.”

The VDV Commander noted that the multi-component Polet-K command and control system was tested for the first time in winter training.  He said: 

“It still isn’t the full suite envisioned in the future.  We are one-third through its introduction into the forces.  This process won’t happen in a year.”

Also for the first time, an artillery sub-unit of the 98th Airborne-Assault Division used Russian-made ‘Eleron’ UAVs for target designation on the Luga training grounds.  Shamanov said five ‘Eleron’ UAVs were employed in the training, and they conducted supplemental reconnaissance to a range of 10 kilometers in advance of fire missions.  This summer, 12 VDV crews will train on Israeli-made UAVs in Moscow Oblast.  Shamanov said:

“Unfortunately, our representatives did not go to Israel where they produce the ‘Hermes’ UAV which has been bought by Russia.”

Shamanov noted more attention to air defense training in the VDV this winter.  There were 40 firings of manportable ‘Strela-10’ and ‘Igla’ SAMs.

For the summer training period, Shamanov noted the VDV has 9,300 conscripts to get through three jumps in the course of 1.5 months.  The VDV will participate in ‘Vostok-2010’ and the CSTO’s ‘Cooperation-2010.’  There will be a VDV-level CSX (КШУ), as well as a CSX involving the 98th VDD (or ВДД).

Following the lessons of the Georgian war, the VDV is periodically training on the Navy’s large assault ships (BDK or БДК).  Shamanov says:

“In the winter training period we transported the 108th Regiment on large assault ships three times.  The exercises ended with a naval assault landing by a reinforced assault-landing battalion (ДШБ).

Last but not least, Shamanov commented on VDV procurement, and transport aircraft in particular:

“Work on the State Armaments Program for 2011-2020 is being completed.  According to our requests, in it there is the modernization of Il-76 aircraft, renewal of production and modernization of An-124 aircraft, the purchase of 30-40 An-70 aircraft.”

An-70

But the VDV Commander stressed these were his requests, and the final say isn’t his.  Utro.ru quoted him:

“In the development of the state [armaments] program, we gave our proposals, whether they’ll be realized in the confirmed version of the state program, I can’t say yet.”

Gzt.ru and Lenta.ru covered the An-70 and An-124 story in detail.

Shamanov said troop testing of the ‘Shakhin’ thermal sight for infantry weapons is complete.  He said:

“There has to be one approach for weapons—they have to be all-weather.  Not long ago the thermal sight ‘Shakhin’ went through troop testing.  After the testing we returned it to the designers for reworking.  We’ve given the task that our weapons work according to the aviation principle—turn your head and firing systems turn after it.”

He commented on air-dropping the BMD-4M, and added that, “The BMD-4M has every chance in the future, owing to its qualities, to be the forces’ main infantry combat vehicle.”

Although he seemed more like a supporter of Russian-made weapons six months ago, Shamanov now applauds Prime Minister Putin [not President Medvedev?] for searching for good weapons and equipment abroad.  Shamanov said the prospect of foreign competitors has forced “the domestic OPK to move,” as reported by Utro.ru.  He continued:

“Last year when industry was told that we’d look for alternatives abroad, they began to move.  In particular, the atmosphere around Mistral is creating a significant context for the domestic OPK.  When people declare that they’re ready to produce 21st century weapons but their equipment is from the 30s and 40s [of the 20th century], how can you talk about the 21st century?  Therefore, every official supports Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin’s initiative on the requirement to renew our armaments.  As long as this doesn’t happen, we’ll being shifting in place, and this won’t be just a lament of Yaroslav’s daughter [reference to the Prince Igor’s wife in the Lay of the Host of Igor after his defeat by the Turkic Polovtsy in 1185].”

At the same time, Shamanov concluded that GAZ and Izhevsk vehicles perform better for the VDV in the snow that equivalent Italian and Canadian ones.

Shamanov also said it’s essential to decide what to buy without any kind of lobbying, and for his part, he bases his decisions on saving soldiers’ lives and fulfilling missions.

More Money in GPV-2020

ITAR-TASS yesterday cited a Military-Industrial Commission (VPK) source who said the volume of financing for the State Armaments Program 2011-2020 (GPV-2020) will be 13 trillion rubles (roughly $430 billion).  The source said this amount includes purchases of new arms and equipment, development of new types, soldier gear, and other army necessities.  He said the Finance and Economic Development Ministries are familiar with the amount and have not objected.

As background, ITAR-TASS reminded that this money is supposed to get Russia to not less than 30 percent modern armaments by 2015, and not less than 70 percent by 2020, according to Prime Minister Putin’s goals.

Deputy Defense Minister, Armaments Chief Vladimir Popovkin has said the RF Security Council will review GPV-2020 in June, and it will be the basis for developing a new Federal Targeted Program for OPK development.

So, 13 trillion rubles over the 10-year period is 1.3 trillion rubles in procurement per annum (undeflated, of course).  At face value, this is a significant increase over the old GPV 2007-2015, which was reportedly funded at 5 trillion rubles for 9 years, or about 550 billion rubles in military purchasing per annum.

But it’s not so easy.  First, the cascading and overlapping way the GPVs are done (how did the last years of the old one mesh with the first years of the new one?) would make it well-nigh impossible to judge what was actually bought, even if it were clear how much money was disbursed when and what was bought with it.  But none of those things are clear to outside observers, and probably not clear even to officers and officials inside the system.

Rearmament Tempo Less Than 2 Percent Per Year

Vasiliy Burenok

Vasiliy Burenok told a round table at the ‘Army and Society’ exhibition in Moscow Friday that the current pace of Russian force modernization, not more than 2 percent, won’t support the transition to a ‘new profile’ military.

Burenok is Director of the Defense Ministry’s 46th Scientific-Research Institute (46 NII).  The 46 NII is a lead organization involved in formulating the State Armaments Program (GPV) and State Defense Order (GOZ).  It works on military-technical policy documents and program planning methodologies.  Burenok is a member of the Scientific-Technical Council of the RF Government’s Military-Industrial Commission (VPK).

Reviewing history a bit, Burenok told his audience, at the beginning of the 1990s, the rearmament rate was 5-7 percent annually.  But, between 1991 and 2000, financing for new arms and equipment declined more than 50 times, leaving only enough money to maintain existing weapons.

Burenok concludes to get the army to the ‘new profile’ it’s essential to introduce 9 percent new equipment every year, and for some services and combat arms, up to 11 percent.

This 9 to 11 percent is, of course, the difficult target President Medvedev set at the Defense Ministry Collegium.  Burenok indicated just how difficult–going from less than 2 to an 11 percent annual renewal rate.

Armaments Chief and Deputy Defense Minister Vladimir Popovkin also addressed the ‘Army and Society’ round table.  He said GPV 2011-2020 will go to the president for approval in June.  The new GPV will be accompanied by yet another new Federal Targeted Program for OPK Development.

Popovkin said a number of systems won’t be produced under the new GPV.  They include short-range tube artillery, and BTR-80, BMP-2, and BMP-3 combat vehicles that soldiers are afraid to ride in.