«Turn-Key» Defense Capacity

Stuffed canard

In the first decade of September 2014 Russian military-industrial complex was shocked by surprising news: quite respectable mass media, including international ones spread the information that the President of Russia after consultations with the Prime Minister (and possibly – by the initiative of the latter) abolished … Rosoboronexport.

However, quite soon it turned out that the message which had already managed to thrill some of us turned out to be a journalist’s mistake circulated by the Internet. The President’s Decree dwelt upon the termination of the Federal Agency for the Weaponry, Military and Special Equipment and Material Facilities Procurement (Rosoboronpostavka) and Federal Service for Defence Contacts (Rosoboronzakaz). It was their functions on the delivery of the armaments, military and special-purpose machinery and material facilities which were delegated to the respective ministries and agencies from the Ministry of Defence and EMERCOM to the Federal Security Service (FSB) and Federal Guard Service (FSO) so that the government could “optimize their activities” and “cut down the excessive management staff”.

As far as Rosoboronexport is concerned, as it is known, this is a joint-stock company, a subsidiary of Rostec Corporation and it is impossible to just simply close it overnight, even by the decree of the President and resolution of the Government. Moreover, it is unlikely that the destruction of the efficiently operating structure could have occurred to somebody in the state top management.

Rosoboronexport order portfolio currently amounts to US $

38.7 bln. This is one of the largest indicators over the last years, RIA Novosti reports. Hereby the company management, despite the international sanctions regime, “has no reasons to believe” that the portfolio might reduce in 2014. All in all over the first six months of this year the company sold armaments and military machinery for the total amount of US $

5.6 bln. At the exhibition Oboronexpo 2014 (in Zhukovsky, Moscow Region) contracts for nearly US $ 100 million were signed.

However, it’s common knowledge that there is no smoke without fire. And the “canard” spread by negligent “copy-pasters” (information Internet sites which allegedly make their own RSS News using third-parties’, usually unverified information –

  1. N.) quite possibly may turn out to be “stuffed” with the order for small-scale information special operation. Anyway, in some mass media comments already appeared that the new Minister of Defence and other power agencies’ heads are said to be eager to gain control over Rosoboronexport.

Somehow or other, but in the interview to the Kommersant newspaper the Company CEO Anatoly Isaykin hastily said that Rosoboronexport’s entrance to the Ministry of Defence or transfer of some of the company stock were impossible even in theory, “For this to take place amendments to the laws, amendments to the President’s decrees are required. So far this is not discussed.”

In African sands

Meanwhile the Ministry of Defence of Egypt (by the way, there is no “Egyptoboronimport” whatsoever) and Rosoboronexport made an agreement of the delivery of air defense missile system S-300VM for the amount of nearly US$ 500 million. The fabrication of these systems has already started, at least when Governor Georgy Poltavchenko visited Kirovsky Zavod in St. Petersburg (the plant manufactures tracked chassis for S-300VM) Fontanka.ru agency published the photos of the chassis painted sand colour and intended for an international customer.

We remind you that S-300V was created in the 1980s. Its upgraded versions have extended capabilities for the counter-missile defense and may be used to intercept battlefield support ballistic missiles. Speaking about S-300VM until now this modification was delivered only to Venezuela in 2010. According to Arab mass media the funds for S-300VM delivery to Egypt are provided by Saudi Arabia. And international observers point out that even under the conditions of the Russia-US confrontation even the countries dependant on Washington military aid prefer having an alternative armament source.

Here one may recollect that Rosoboronexport together with Sukhoi Concern fell under the US sanctions as far back as in 2006 – for the cooperation with Iran in the area of mass-destruction weapons (the point was upgrade of thirty Sui-24 tactical bombers of the Iran Air Force which theoretically can carry tactical nuclear weapons). Then American state agencies were banned to buy or sell any goods, use the services of or provide services to these companies. But these sanctions did not have any strong effect on their trade balance.

But let us return to today. Egypt is located, as everybody knows, in the north of Africa, South Africa is the southern end of the “black continent”. It was there, in Pretoria, where Africa Aerospace and Defense 2014 international armament and military equipment exhibition took place in late September. In the activity framework Russia (represented by the same Rosoboronexport) offered South Africa a “turn-key” comprehensive security system. According to the information of the Company Deputy Director General Sergey Goreslavsky, the system operation principle is based on the Sochi Olympics experience. It provides “safe city” concept as well as delivery of some armament types: Tigr armoured vehicle, Pantsir anti-aircraft missile system, Igla mobile anti-aircraft missile system and communication facilities.

In general, despite the development of the new-generation anti-aircraft defense system numerous international customers retain interest to the systems and complexes proven by the time and combat activities in different parts of the world. Apart from the above-mentioned Pantsir and Igla systems here such products as S-400 Triumph, Antey-2500, Buk-M2E, Tor-M2E and others are meant.

Oriental vector

Currently Azerbaijan expresses interest to Russian multi-functional aircraft, new helicopters and unmanned air vehicles. In this area prospective options are Su-30MK2, MiG-29M and MiG-29M2, Su-35 fighters, Ya-130 training airplane as well as Mi-171Sh, Mi-35M, Mi-28NE, Ka-52 helicopters, anti-submarine Ka-28 helicopter, multi-purpose Ka-226T helicopter and the world heaviest lifting Mi-26T helicopter.

In parallel with the negotiations of the armament delivery Russia and Azerbaijan are holding negotiations of the creation of the centres for the maintenance of both old Soviet and new Russian military equipment in the country. Particularly, in the framework of this program Rosoboronexport offered Azerbaijani side arranging in-depth upgrade of the T-72 tank fleet available in the country to the level of tank support combat vehicle BMPT-72 Terminator. We remind you that in 2013 an agreement of the creation of similar company was signed by the Russian UralVagonZavod Company and Kazakhstan Engineering Company.

What will the result of Terminator manufacture arrangement in Azerbaijan be so far is unknown, in the meantime T-90S tanks’ delivery to the country’s armed forces is underway. The delivery of one hundred vehicles is to be concluded in 2015. We remind you that T-90S tanks are manufactured by UralVagonZavod, the tank was developed in the late 1980s as a modification of T-72B tank.

Quite soon Azerbaijan can start license-based manufacture of ammunition for RPG-7 grenade launchers, anyway, the construction of the plant to manufacture them is virtually concluded. In parallel the contract on the arrangement of license-based manufacture of AK-74M machine guns is underway. By the way, Azerbaijani military-industrial complex now independently manufactures more than 900 military-purpose items – sniper’s rifles, air bombs, shells, armoured troop carriers, multiple launch rocket systems, unmanned air vehicles etc.

I would like to finish the review with the slogan from Lord of War movie, the starting phrase of the script of which we used as the epigraph. The script-writer and director Nicolas Cage, who either romanticized the semi-legal arms trader Yuri Orlov or elaborately made fun of him, made the following quite a philosophical and very much true-to-life maxim as the movie slogan, “The first and most important rule of gun-running is: Never get shot with your own merchandise”. And this is absolutely true not only concerning stand-alone arms-supplying businessmen but entire states as well.

Boris Nikonov