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 No, because GPV 2011-2020 will be superseded and rewritten well before 2015.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.