Tag Archives: State Armaments Program

Ivashov on the Army and Putin

Leonid Ivashov

Leonid Ivashov recently talked to Narodnyy politolog on a variety of army topics including reforms, the possibility of a big war, rearmament, president-elect Vladimir Putin, and his military program.  Segodnia.ru also printed the interview.

Once Russia’s top military diplomat, now avowed geopolitician, the former three-star thinks Putin fears externally-driven regime change and is improving the army to forestall such an eventuality.  Ivashov sees a U.S.-led West depriving Russia of allies before focusing on Russia itself.

Asked about army reforms, Ivashov says they have succeeded in cutting forces, but not in rearming them or improving their social conditions.  Reforms have degraded and weakened the army.  Military men mock the New Profile reforms saying, “There’s a profile, but not armed forces.”  Ivashov calls reforms craziness, and says it’s like servicemen have lived in a house under continuous repair for 25 years.

Following up his comment on mobilization reserves cut to the bare minimum, NP asked the retired general-colonel if a big war is possible today.

Ivashov says yes.  Citing how “they” are beating up Russia’s strategic allies (Syria and Iran), he says “What is this if not war?”

Ivashov foresees a large conflict between the U.S. and China and possible spinoff regional and local wars.  He cites a Chinese specialist who calls for a Russian-Chinese alliance to deter a big war and curb the appetite of the West and international oligarchs.

Is Russia ready for such an eventuality?  Ivashov answers:

“I think Putin understands perfectly how military weakness and the absence of strategic allies can be the end for Russia.  Clearly, the Libyan situation ‘helped’ him understand this, just like what is happening now in Syria, and what they are preparing for Iran.  If you can’t defend the country, you are subjecting yourself to a great risk personally.”

“Now Putin is making a sharp turn to the side of strengthening defense capability.  One can only welcome this.  Because today they don’t simply beat the weak, they destroy them.”

Ivashov calls Putin’s military program ambitious, if not systematic.  The regime’s been in a “light panic” since Libya.

He intimates that more than 20 percent of the state armaments program will be stolen since the amount of theft cited by the military prosecutor covers only cases under investigation, not all corruption.

Ivashov suggests lobbying has replaced forecasts of future military actions as the driver of arms procurement.

The case of Mistral, which one wonders where it will be built and how it will be used, Ivashov says well-connected lobbyist structures ensure what gets produced is exactly what their enterprises make.  He was somewhat encouraged that Putin, at Sarov, entertained turning to specialists and experts to examine the army’s requirements.

On GPV 2020, Ivashov concludes it’ll be a serious step forward if only half of what’s planned gets produced, but it can’t be equipment designed in the 1970s and 1980s.  He sees OPK production capacity problems too.  He questions whether Votkinsk can produce 400 solid-fueled ballistic missiles by 2020.

Returning to the big war, he questions a focus on defensive operations for Russian conventional forces, saying offensive capabilities are needed to deter potential enemies.  He claims reduced force structure and mobilization capability have become a joke in the General Staff:

“The main problem for the Chinese in a conflict with us is not defeating our brigade, but finding it.”

Ivashov’s just a little up in arms over the armor situation.  He all but accuses the General Staff Chief of being a paid (or bribed) lobbyist for foreign tank and armored vehicle makers.  He suggests that Army General Makarov should be placed in cuffs if he says the Leopard-2 is better than the T-90 [what about Postnikov then?], and the Main Military Prosecutor should investigate him.

So what is to be done first and foremost to strengthen the country’s defense capability today?

Ivashov replies get rid of Serdyukov and Makarov who have done great damage, and strengthen cadres in the OPK and military by replacing “managers” with those who can apply military science (as Ivashov was taught) to the problem of developing new weapons.

The always provocative Ivashov doesn’t venture whether he thinks  the current emphasis on defense capability will continue or have the intended results.  He seems sincerely to believe in a possible Western intervention in Russia’s internal affairs.  But it’d be more interesting to hear him talk about whether the army would fight for Putin’s regime in something less than that maximal contingency.  Ivashov, unlike some critics of Russia’s defense policy, shies away from blaming the once-and-future Supreme CINC for at least some of the current military state of affairs.

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Keep Close to Shore

“In essence, after many years of interruption, we are beginning a large shipbuilding program:  by 2020, 4.7 trillion rubles will be directed at reequipping Russia’s Navy.  The aim is clear — it is creating a modern fleet, capable of carrying out all missions — from nuclear deterrence to presence on the world’s oceans, to the security of our economic interests and Russia’s bioresources.”

That’s how Prime Minister Putin put it at Monday’s party conference in Cherepovets.  But Nezavisimaya gazeta and Vedomosti had sharp and pithy criticism for him and for the naval construction program.

NG concluded military voters might be cheered up, but the paper wants to know what the naval construction program is exactly.  Is it the one that’s buying Mistrals that may not be needed from France?  With what and how will the Navy be equipped?

Apparently not aircraft carriers.  And not other large warships either.  They’re built in Russia, but for sale to India and China.  NG continues:

“Our own fleet is being populated piecemeal.  And, as a rule, we’re talking about a mosquito fleet.  Which, of course, is not capable of completing missions ‘from nuclear deterrence to presence on the world’s oceans.'”

The editorial cites former Black Sea Fleet Commander Vladimir Komoyedov who complains about the retirement of the Kara-class CG Ochakov, and claims nothing new is being developed.  It quotes Aleksandr Pokrovskiy who says the Baltic Fleet’s new Steregushchiy and Soobrazitelnyy corvettes are not participating in exercises because they’re only 50 percent combat ready.

So, asks NG, what kind of modern fleet are we talking about?  About past shipbuilding programs, it says:

“They were concrete and understandable — how many and what types of ships must be built.  Today politicians prefer to talk not about this, but about large-scale financial investment in the future fleet.  And in the very distant future at that.  From the point of view of the 2011 and 2012 election campaigns, it could be, that this is correct.  But from the point of view of the country’s security — hardly.”

Vedomosti takes its turn:

“. . . the idea of turning Russia into a great naval power has agitated the minds of the leaders of the Russian state for more than 300 years already.  The question is how acute this mission is in the 21st century and how Putin’s new slogans correspond to programs already adopted.”
 
“But the thing is not just the quality of the state program [of armaments], but also its strategic aims, which the government’s leader lays out.  We’d like the prime minister to formulate precisely what level of Navy presence in the world’s oceans and what he has in mind for its participation in the defense of bioresources.  Security of mineral and biological resources is an affair for civilian services and maritime border guards . . . .”
The business daily goes on to say corvettes, frigates, and landing ships are capable of completing “understandable and necessary missions.”  Still, it
says:
 
“Many experts consider extravagant the purchase of the Mistrals (four ships cost 2.35 billion euros), intended to support amphibious operations at a great distance from native shores.  Some admirals and VPK directors called for development of aircraft carrier groups.  Similar projects, the cost of which stretches to tens of billions of euros, will cause curtailment of construction of ships needed for the fleet, overloading and technological breakdowns in Russian shipyards.  In any case, Russia’s main problems have to be resolved on land.”
Sound advice given that the procurement problems of the Ground Troops and Air Forces, not to mention the RVSN, are just as serious and urgent as the Navy’s (if not more so).
 

The Air Forces and the GPV

General-Lieutenant Sadofyev

Last week, General-Lieutenant Igor Sadofyev – Chief of Aviation, Deputy CINC of the Air Forces (VVS) for Aviation – spoke to the press about his service’s ambitious plans for procurement under State Armaments Program (GPV), 2011-2020.

General-Lieutenant Sadofyev told RIA Novosti the VVS will receive 1,500 new, and 400 modernized aircraft by 2020.  The Chief of Aviation said the State Defense Order (GOZ or ГОЗ) for 2011 includes acquisition of Su-27SM, Su-30M2, Su-34, Su-35S, and Yak-130 aircraft for the VVS, as well as Ka-52, Mi-28N, Mi-8AMTSh (MTV-5-1), Ka-226, Ansat-U helicopters for Army Aviation.  But he provided no specific procurement numbers for next year.

Su-34 (photo: RIA Novosti / Igor Rumyantsev)

For Long-Range Aviation (LRA or ДА), he said the VVS will modernize existing Tu-160, Tu-95MS, Tu-22M3, and Il-78M aircraft.  The goal is to update 80 percent of this inventory in what he calls the medium-term future – defined by him as 2020.  What he has in mind here is service life extension and the replacement of some electronics and other systems.

For Military-Transport Aviation (VTA or ВТА), Sadofyev says the VVS will modernize its existing aircraft, and purchase more than 50 percent new ones.  He doesn’t break it down by particular types of transports.

For Frontal Aviation, some existing aircraft will be modernized, and over that medium-term future (2020) more than half the order-of-battle will be replaced with new aircraft, and 14 percent of the inventory will be ‘perspektivnyy’ (перспективный) aircraft.  One supposes that means PAK FA.  If that 14 percent is 70 PAK FAs, that would put Frontal Aviation at about 500 aircraft total.

Army Aviation, according to Sadofyev, will get 70 percent new aircraft by 2020, and 100 percent sometime afterward.  He said the VVS will begin getting the Ка-52 / Alligator next year.  And he made a point of noting that Army Aviation will remain within the VVS, despite rumors it might return to the Ground Troops.

He said serial deliveries of the Yak-130 trainer will begin next year to replace 1970s-vintage L-39 jets.  Flight instructors and technical personnel will learn the Yak-130 at Lipetsk before using it to train young pilots at Krasnodar.

Sadofyev also told RIA Novosti the number of VVS day-night, all-weather aircraft will increase 4.5 times, and this will lower aircraft losses by a factor of 10-12.  According to him, the share of precision weapons in the VVS will increase 18 times, taking it to 70 percent of the inventory by 2020.  So less than 4 percent of current air-delivered munitions qualify as precision weapons.  UAVs will be increased 6 times, taking them to 30 percent of the aircraft inventory.  So they are about 5 percent at present.  Sadofyev adds that money will go to providing a common reconnaissance-information environment for the VVS.

Defense Ministry spokesman Colonel Vladimir Drik also talked about VVS procurement last week.  He said the VVS got new and modernized aircraft this year, including Su-27SM and Su-25SM, and Mi-24PM and Ansat-U helicopters.  But he had to admit only the Ansat-U is new, and he didn’t provide numbers.

There was a major garble over the Su-27SM.  RIA Novosti quoted Drik as saying the VVS “received four squadrons of modernized Su-27SM” this year.  In fact, the transfer of the final 4 of 48 Su-27SM happened in late November 2009.

Drik said Russia’s air defenses will be 100 percent new by 2020, with the VVS operating the S-400, S-500, and Pantsir-S.  Once again, no one seems to want to talk about what’s going on with SAM production.

Igor Korotchenko’s take on VVS procurement from October looks pretty on-target in light of this latest press.  He said the priorities were precision weapons, automated C2, aircraft, and air defense systems.  And, at that time, he put the acquisition numbers at 500 new aircraft, 1,000 helicopters, and 200 air defense systems.

All in all, an extremely ambitious plan.  Fulfilling it will demand complete and timely funding, and even then it will be a challenge for Russia’s aviation industry.  Also, Sergey Ivanov says the GPV has gone to the government today, so maybe we’ll learn how VVS requirements fare.  VVS will be a priority, but we’ll have to see how high.

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 . . .