Is the Defense Ministry pulling back the reins on efforts to purchase foreign-made weapons and other military equipment?
Late last month, armaments chief Vladimir Popovkin said that Moscow would put German armor on its combat vehicles, perhaps laying to rest rumors that Russia might buy entire vehicles abroad.
Last Thursday, Popovkin and others seemed to put limits on buying more UAVs from Israel, calling the process more of a learning experience to improve Russia’s domestic models.
Then Friday, the press says OSK may have started a formal antimonopoly complaint against Defense Ministry efforts to buy the French Mistral helicopter carrier. But OSK Board Chairman, Deputy Prime Minister, and Putin confidant Igor Sechin is in charge of negotiating Mistral’s purchase from Paris.
It certainly seems that the reins have been pulled back on foreign procurement somewhat. But there’s a lot to these threads and not enough time to run them down.
RIA Novosti reports the Defense Ministry is still undecided about purchasing European-made light armor for its military vehicles. Defense Minister Serdyukov has said Russia might buy it from a German company.
Monday Deputy Defense Minister, Armaments Chief Vladimir Popovkin visited Italian firm IVECO’s display at Eurosatory-2010 in Paris. IVECO uses German technology in fabricating light armor.
“Issue of acquiring light armor and technology for its fabrication still isn’t decided. Domestic scientific-research institutes still haven’t answered us about whether they’re ready and capable of making such armor. If they make it, then we’ll use it, if they don’t, we’ll search for ways of getting Western technology for its subsequent production in Russia.”
Popovkin also indicated leading military producers are actively developing a new class of wheeled armored vehicles. He said in the Russian Army’s modernization there are plans to establish light, medium, and heavy brigades. Light brigades will have wheeled, medium wheeled and tracked, and heavy only tracked vehicles.
A RIA Novosti source said:
“A lot depends on the deployment locations of these brigades and the combat missions they’ll be given. This will be the determining factor for supplying brigades with this or that equipment.”
As an example, he mentioned IVECO’s development of a 29-ton wheeled tank with composite armor and a 120-mm main gun.
Defense Minister Serdyukov indicated today that, although Russia is interested in foreign light armored vehicles, it won’t buy any, and wants to produce its own.
During last week’s visit to Italy, IVECO put on a demonstration for Serdyukov at Moscow’s request.
According to RIA Novosti, Serdyukov said:
“The Defense Ministry is actively studying modern tendencies in arms employment. Particularly in transporting personnel, medical personnel, and also reconnaissance in light armored vehicles. The experience of Afghanistan and Iraq and our experience (in the regions), where explosions often occur, shows it’s essential to transport Defense Ministry sub-units in armored vehicles.”
Maybe Serdyukov should have said we already transport troops in armored vehicles, but we need to transport them in good, modern ones.
Serdyukov also noted that Germany is actively studying armor protection for troops, and Russia’s Defense Ministry is interested in similar production of its own. He called Germany the leader in armor, and noted that German armor is mounted on Italian vehicles. Serdyukov continued:
“We’re not talking about purchases of these vehicles in Italy or another country. The main thing is to organize production of such equipment in Russia.”