Makarov’s Press-Conference (Part II)

Krasnaya zvezda provided a summary of General Staff Chief Nikolay Makarov’s press-conference yesterday.  The rest of us are still parsing and digesting.  Let’s look at more complete press reporting to do justice to Makarov’s remarks. cited RIA Novosti in adding to Makarov’s comparison of French and Russian artillery systems:

“In France, we were shown the work of an artillery battalion which was ready to fire 30 seconds after a march.  Our analogous norm is 15 minutes.  The difference between one minute and 15 minutes is huge.  I think over this time an entire artillery battalion could be destroyed.”

But Gazeta noted Makarov said Moscow doesn’t intend to buy the French Caesar howitzer.

Gazeta, citing Interfaks this time, expanded on this comment on buying Western military technologies:

“We need to understand what to get, and what to acquire, but to acquire the technologies, and to produce on Russian territory.  Some technologies certainly have to be bought in the West.”

Igor Korotchenko explained to Vesti FM what Makarov and the Defense Ministry will or won’t buy:

“If suddenly for some reasons those models which industry proposes don’t correspond to declared requirements, the Defense Ministry will toughen its demands.  But on the whole the mainline remains – reliance on the domestic defense-industrial complex.  Makarov has spoken clearly about this.”

“Meanwhile, we’ll buy some leading technologies which will be required in Russia’s armed forces in the West.  In principle, these announcements are fully anticipated, they correspond to that policy that both Defense Minister Anatoliy Serdyukov and General Staff Chief Makarov have conducted since 2008.”

Gazeta and Novyye izvestiya contrasted Makarov’s criticism of Russian tanks with Putin’s praise for them.  Both news outlets see President Medvedev, Serdyukov, and Makarov lining up to make tougher demands on the OPK while Prime Minister Putin defends it. 

They cited RIA Novosti this way with Makarov’s comments:

“The T-90 turret calls for our serious respect, it doesn’t lag the leading foreign analogs, and in a number of characteristics exceeds them.”

“The T-90S still has a number of flaws which need to be fixed soon.”

“Experimental-design work to perfect this tank will continue.”

At Nizhniy Tagil, Putin sympathized with tank builders as they described their latest developments, saying:

“This is just what the Defense Ministry always complains about.”

Rounding out the tank news, Nezavisimaya gazeta’s Viktor Litovkin talked about the Defense Ministry’s continuing refusal to buy modernized versions of old tanks. 

He says it wants a new class of armored vehicles on a common tracked or wheeled chassis to simplify operation and maintenance, and different combat modules as needed – BMP, tank, reconnaissance, self-propelled artillery, or ATGM launcher – mounted on the same basic platform. 

Litovkin suspects, though, that this good idea could be ruined by “interdepartmental contradictions,” and a lack of leadership vision. 

He concludes that, while Makarov was critical of their product, Putin was promising Russia’s tank builders 64 billion rubles in government support.

3 responses to “Makarov’s Press-Conference (Part II)

  1. His comments on the MSTA v. Caesar were frankly overwhelmingly stupid. Its hard to imagine a 4 star anywhere could know so little. The 30 seconds v. 15 minutes bit is frankly nonsense. A detailed breakdown of true state of things can be found here.

    The MSTA really is no worse than the Caesar and there is a proposed upgrade path for the system that would make it significantly better, but they haven’t funded it.

  2. It wouldn’t be the first time he seemed out of the loop; remember his comments about the S-400 being in the Far East or moving Bulava production to another factory? Makarov et al have made a big deal about the superiority of “troop” generals over “parquet” generals, but sometimes there doesn’t seem to be too much difference. Thanks for your perspective.

  3. It is going to be tough for the Russian MIC if any Russian general visiting NATO can see something that for all they know could be too expensive for NATO to buy in numbers and then just demand an instant equivalent performance from domestic material or that particular NATO country will get a Russian order.
    We have been told armour is a fairly low priority yet the Ministry has UVZ working hard on a T-90 upgrade AND Armata.
    I do hope they don’t cheap out and just order Armata because when they demand changes to the T-90 and then publicly reject it it is not good for export sales.

    The irony is that sometimes it is their own demands that makes the Russian kit uncompetitive… the BMP-3 couldn’t be fitted with the same level of armour as western IFV because it needs to retain amphibious capability.

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