Russian military interested in foreign defense hardware again
Tuesday, 19 November 2013 05:51
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Representatives of the Russian defense ministries will attend comparative tests of samples of French wheeled armored vehicles in March of 2014. It was reported that the latest wheeled armored vehicles - VBCI, ARAVIS and TITUS already in service with the French Army will be showcased at the event.

Does the interest of the Russian military in the French defense technology mean that Russia is planning to purchase this equipment in the future? The answer is no. Russia does not plan bulk purchases of foreign, including French, military land vehicles in the next decade.

Light armored vehicles are spelled out rather clearly in the state program of armaments for the Russian army through 2020, and   no one will change it. The priority is given to the domestic combat vehicles.

However, the state program does not rule out purchases of individual small batches of armored vehicles abroad. First of all, this is done to study their combat capabilities. For obvious reasons, this is even encouraged by the Ministry of Defense to some extent. For example, the initial batch of armored combat vehicles LMV M65 4x4 "Lynx" has been purchased from Italy The "screwdriver" assembly of armored vehicles "Lynx" (a licensed version of these Italian armored vehicles) is organized in Voronezh by a joint venture "Oboronservis" and the Italian concern "Iveco."

Russia has also signed a protocol with Italy for delivery of several armored vehicles "Freccia" and a small number of heavy armored vehicles "Centauro " in order to conduct their tests.

However, as of now, the purchase or production of these vehicles is not planned. The situation with the Italian armored vehicles is somewhat complicated.

This amount of foreign light armored vehicles will not be sufficient to re-equip the entire Russian army.

Incidentally, it was somewhat surprising that the newly developed domestic BTR-90 is not in demand. The Ministry of Defense has not included this vehicle in the state armament program through 2020.

Experts say that the reason behind it is the fact that the Defense Ministry wants to buy brand new rather than upgraded equipment. In particular, of foreign production, although not in large quantities.

But this applies not only to the Army. The Interior Ministry has its own "kitchen." Representatives of the agencies like Army specialists of the Ministry of Defense will also attend the aforementioned display of French military equipment. Likely, they will be there not only to "look and feel"

By the end of this fall the Interior Ministry plans to purchase 158 armored vehicles. The cost of purchase is 568 million rubles. The order was placed only a month ago.

Perhaps, in the spring of 2014 in France specialists from the Interior Ministry will look closely at the French armored vehicles. The Ministry acquires foreign equipment for its needs on a regular basis.

In October of 2012 it placed a record order for the purchase of nearly four and a half thousand vehicles, including those with armor protection worth 2.8 billion rubles.

French light armored vehicles have long earned a great reputation in the world, just like Italian ones. The launch of a mass assembly of French armored vehicles Panhard M11 is scheduled in Naberezhnye Chelny, Russia, in 2014.

In terms of combat characteristics these vehicles are not suitable for the regular army, but are very fit for special tasks for the police or the Interior Ministry troops.

This vehicle is expected to be produced with a great deal of Russian components. Only engines, transmission and some suspension parts will be purchased in France. It has not been yet reported how many of them the Interior Ministry would purchase.

In the end, today the Russian military-industrial complex is not entirely self-sufficient compared to the Soviet one. Russia's economy today is not large-scale enough to afford to have a completely self-contained military-industrial complex. Incorporation of international specialization is still the most logical scenario.

This applies to all branches of the military industry, not just the one that produces light armored vehicles.

Perhaps it is not worth looking for a foreign policy motive in the interest of the Russian Interior Ministry and the Army in the French armored vehicles. At some point in time France proved to be more prepared for military-technical cooperation with Russia than others.

In addition, the French have quickly realized that cooperation with Russia is very beneficial. Think about the memorable contract for "Mistral" that turned to be extremely profitable for France. Despite the anger of Russian experts, the contract is alive and kicking.

Andrei Mikhailov


Read the original in Russian

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