industry has failed to modernize, Russia’s Defense Minister Anatoly
Serdyukov has said.
In an interview with Russian Newsweek, Serdyukov said Moscow was forced
to buy from companies abroad as it plans to spend more than $600 billion
to modernize its armed forces.
Serdyukov in the interview even suggested that Russia might buy weapons
from its former Cold War enemy United States but didn’t go into detail.
The Kremlin wants to completely overhaul the Russian armed forces.
Moscow plans to radically cut the number of officers and overall troops
to create a more modern and mobile force and has vowed to replace its
However, Russian officials are unhappy with the domestic industry and
have in the past urged firms to step up their product portfolio and
internal procedures to become more competitive.
It has to be noted, however, that Russia still is the world’s
second-largest arms exporter behind the United States, with Russian-made
tanks and helicopters among the best-sold products — albeit mainly to
developing and emerging countries.
In a first sign that Russia is increasingly looking abroad for major
weapons deals, Moscow is locked in negotiations with France over one or
several Mistral class helicopter carriers, with the price tag for one
vessel reportedly at $380 million.
“There are the same issues with the Mistral,” Serdyukov said. “The
Russian military-industrial complex does not meet our standards.
Therefore, we are talking about buying imported ships.”
However, the purchase, which would be the first major one from a NATO
member, has been delayed by wrangling over the price tag and technology
The costly overhaul of the Russian military comes as forces in Europe face severe budget cuts because of the recession.
Britain, France, Germany and Italy — Europe’s largest armed forces —
are all planning to cut their defense budgets, with personnel as well as
equipment affected. Large multi-national arms projects, for example the
delayed and costly Airbus A400M military freighter, the Eurofighter
Typhoon jet, a British scheme to build two large carriers and the
multipurpose NH90 helicopter face the downsize.