Procurement: Secrets Not For Sale

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January25, 2007: Russia is trying to sell its military technology before the stuff becomes obsolete. When the Cold War ended in 1991, Russia (then the Soviet Union) had the largest "military-industrial-complex" in the world. But that defense industry was more than the country could afford, and was one of the main reasons the Soviet Union went bust. Russia inherited most of the technology, although a lot of the actual factories ended up in parts of the Soviet Union that became new countries. Technology, even military tech, doesn't stay fresh long. So Russia kept a lot of research teams going, even if they could not afford to buy the weapons and equipment developed. At the same time, Russia broke its own long standing rules, and offered to sell their latest stuff to foreigners. Thus India and China became customers for some first class aircraft, missiles and warships. But India and China have become increasingly insistent that the technology, including manufacturing techniques, be sold as well. Russia has been trying to avoid this. As long as they controlled the technology, they maintained a significant military edge. China was a particular problem, because Russias far eastern territories are also claimed by China. These claims have not been pressed for some time, although there were some border skirmishes, and talk of a nuclear strike by the Russians, in the 1970s. India is less of a problem, never having been at war with Russia. In fact, Russia has entered into several joint development projects with India. Not so with China, which is seen as a potential enemy.

Meanwhile, Russias booming economy has provided the government with sufficient revenue to buy weapons once more. Exports are still taking most of what is being produced, but more money is going into research and development as well. The Cold War may be over, but Russias fascination with high tech weapons is not.


 


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