Procurement: Russia Seeks To Lose the 70s Look



December 27, 2008: Russia announced plans to spend nearly $50 billion a year, over the next three years, in purchasing new weapons and equipment for its ground forces. Russia plans  to increase production of conventional weapons 30 percent over the next two years, and expects to more than double that by 2015. Much of the increase is for replacing 20-30 year old gear in the Russian armed forces, which are still largely equipped with Cold War era stuff. We are not talking large numbers here. Currently, Russia produces a few hundred armored vehicles (including self-propelled artillery), and about a hundred warplanes, a year. This is a fifth of what was produced annually during the Cold War. Most of current production is for export.

Purchases for the Russian armed forces over the next three years will include 300 tanks, 14 warships (mostly smaller ships, for patrolling the coast), and over 40 fighters and bombers, 60 helicopters, six UAVs and 2,000 trucks. There are also large purchases of new communications gear, missiles, and military electronics. A lot of money still goes into updating nuclear weapons and delivery systems.

The war with Georgia last August made it obvious to the world that the Russian Army had little new equipment. The vehicles and weapons were Cold War vintage, and the Russian troops had a ragtag air about them. It's going to take a decade of heavy purchases of weapons and equipment before the Russian military losses that 1980s look.