Saturday, February 18, 2012

Russian Arms Designer Warns of Problems With Defense Orders....

Russian Arms Designer Warns of Problems With Defense Orders....
MOSCOW, (RIA Novosti)

The current standoff between arms makers and the Defense Ministry over the pricing and quality of weaponry for the Russian military may continue to disrupt state defense orders in 2012, missile designer Yury Solomonov said on Thursday.“The efforts of the defense industry have not yet been synchronized with the efforts of the Defense Ministry and the government,” Solomonov said at a meeting with Russian lawmakers.“It is a very urgent and sensitive issue that must be resolved in 2012,” the man behind the Topol-M, Yars, and Bulava ballistic missiles said.

Solomonov, chief designer at the Moscow Institute of Thermal Technology (MITT), sparked heated battles between Russian arms manufacturers and military officials last year by reporting that the 2011 state defense order was in jeopardy partly because the Defense Ministry had delayed the signing of new defense contracts, especially on procurement of strategic nuclear armaments.His report alarmed Russian President Dmitry Medvedev who ordered Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov to ensure the fulfillment of the 2011 state defense order.

Since Medvedev's orders, a number of military and defense industry officials have been fired or reprimanded for their poor performance in the implementation of the program.“The current situation is not as bad as in 2011, but this issue must be a priority today, not tomorrow,” Solomonov said on Thursday. The missile designer also said Russia was 10-15 years ahead of its rivals in the development of strategic nuclear weapons, but lagged behind the West at least 30 years in the development of other armaments....

Russia continues to be one of the largest arms exporters in the world, with its foreign deliveries reaching another record of $13.2 billion in 2011, according to Mikhail Dmitriev, the head of the Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation. This is $3.2 billion more than in 2010 and almost four times higher than in 2001 when Russia managed to export weapons worth only $3.7 billion.

Traditionally, most of Russia’s defense exports go through the government-owned Rosoboronexport arms trade broker. In 2011 this company delivered arms worth $10.7 billion (81% of total exports). The other $2.5 billion were shipped by 21 other companies that are permitted to export defense products.

Last year Russian weapons were delivered to 65 foreign countries. Dmitriev says India continued to be the largest recipient, since 25% of all Russian arms exports went there. The other top clients were Algeria (15% of total exports), Venezuela and Vietnam (10% each).

About 50% of defense exports were aircraft and airborne weapons while land weapons took 25%, naval ships 10% and air defense systems 10%. The country’s portfolio of foreign defense orders now stands at more than $40 billion, said the government official. This is less than a year ago, when the order book peaked at $45 billion, but is higher than in 2009. Nevertheless, Dmitriev expects that Russia will continue to increase its arms exports to reach the level of $13.5 billion in 2012.

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