Friday, October 30, 2009

As a continuation and a reaction to the "NATO and Russia War games", I found an article which reveals another side of the Russian military reform and military exercises. A much less functioning build-up seems to appear.

Medvedev Chastises the Russian Defense Industry
Publication: Eurasia Daily Monitor Volume: 6 Issue: 199
October 29, 2009

Medvedev has announced plans to re-equip the armed forces with new weapons by 2012, but it does not seem to be happening. The Russian defense industry is in deep crisis and it is good that the president has publicly acknowledged the facts. But simply scolding an industry in which the government itself has a controlling stake will not result in change. The Russian defense industry has been able to continue to produce Soviet-era weapons using equipment, know-how and stockpiles of components left over from the Cold War. In some cases, modernized weapons like the Su-30 jet sold to India and other foreign buyers have been produced using Western avionics and other components. But the defense industry has utterly failed to produce weapons the Soviet inventory did not have – like modern intelligence-gathering drones. Another embarrassing public frustration is the Bulava sea-launched ballistic missile that has failed test after test. Sloppy workplace discipline, the growing lack of a qualified workforce, shortages of modern materials and components is plaguing the defense industry.

The defense ministry has recently promoted the idea of procuring Western-made weapons. Russia has procured Israeli drones and is discussing with France the possible purchase of a Mistral-class helicopter-and-troop-carrying warship (RIA Novosti, October 1). Russia, of course, wants foremost not off the shelf weapons, but the transfer of technology. In the past communist Russia did manage to buy Western technologies to modernize its military and use them against the West. In 1946 Moscow obtained British jet engines and with them built a vast fleet of MiG fighters that harassed the U.S. Air Force during the Korean War in 1950-1953.

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