Participants in the meeting included Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin, Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu, Industry and Trade Minister Denis Manturov and the heads of other federal agencies and defence enterprises.
Before the meeting, the President visited the Kalashnikov Concern, where he examined the latest small arms models.
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Opening remarks at a meeting on progress in the implementation of the State Armament Programme for 2011–2020 for Equipping the Ground Forces with Weapons and Special Equipment
President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Colleagues,
As we agreed earlier, we will continue to analyse the implementation of the State Armament Programme’s main priorities. And today, here in Izhevsk, we will look into how the work to arm the Ground Forces is progressing.
Their key role in the Armed Forces is clear. It includes assuring tactical coverage of the main strategic areas and participating in the neutralisation of local armed conflicts, as well as peacekeeping operations.
In order to resolve these issues, the Ground Forces must have a high level of combat potential, mobility, cohesion and, of course, they must have fully equipped, modern arsenals.
The State Armament Programme for equipping the Ground Forces with the latest weapons and equipment has a budget of over 3 trillion rubles, which accounts for 16% of the entire state armament programme. At the same time, the Ground Forces order includes the largest range of equipment: from armour and artillery suites and packages to gear and small arms.
The forces are already receiving modern equipment. In 2011, it accounted for 23% of all equipment, but by the end of this year, it will make up nearly 30% – a little over 28%.
Still, it is clear that most of the work is yet to come.
In recent years, our design offices and defence companies have created some good technology stocks. We have carried out a great deal of research and development, as well as factory and military tests.
And now, the output includes a whole range of fundamentally new models of armoured, rocket and artillery, and automotive equipment, as well as battle equipment for the troops; I was just able to see this for myself, and it looks quite potent.
I am asking the Defence Ministry and defence companies to complete this work as quickly as possible, and make final decisions on developing and producing the main combat systems. Let me remind you that in 2014, the troops should be receiving this fundamentally new equipment on a large scale. Defence companies should ensure the production of weapons and military equipment in the required quantity, and I expect them to meet the necessary quality standards and be available at reasonable, economically justified prices.
At the same time, let me point out the following problem. The challenge of assuring balanced and integrated weapons systems development for the Ground Forces is, unfortunately, still unresolved.
For example, we have significantly increased weapons capabilities for tactical troop units. However, means of reconnaissance, management, logistic and technical support, and supply – all in accordance with current parameters – still require more work. Even a single weak link in the chain or a single unit reduces the efficacy of the entire system overall, especially in the course of modern warfare.
In addition to issues pertaining to engineering efforts in individual areas, we also have some problems in determining the volume for serial deliveries of weapons.
So we are currently developing a whole family of special-purpose military vehicles with very good technical features. But it is still unclear how much of this equipment should be purchased in the next five to seven years.
Meanwhile, this level is very important for the industry. Without it, companies would struggle to efficiently develop production, plan its development and attract investments.
I feel that as we create the new version of the State Armament Programme – and it will need to be completed by 2025 – we must conduct an integrated assessment of the entire Ground Forces armament system’s efficacy. We must determine the most optimal areas for development, including with the use of computational and modelling systems.
Here is what I think we should focus on now.
First is developing precision weapons – not only long-range weapons, but also weapons for tactical impact zones.
The analysis of military conflicts in recent decades shows that their role and scope of application are constantly growing. Thus, we need systemic work to link all components of high-precision weaponry – specifically, the weaponry itself and its reconnaissance and intelligence-gathering capacity, operation, and carriers.
The second key area is optimising the small arms sector, which supplies arms to the Defence Ministry’s Ground Forces and other security services.
Today, we have many problems that have accumulated in the small arms sector, and we must resolve them systemically.
We just attended the presentation of a new concern named after our legendary arms designer, Mikhail Kalashnikov. This is the first step toward consolidating the production of small arms and ammunition.
After other companies join the concern, this unification will allow us to lower the cost of production, cut logistics and transportation costs, and build an effective chain, from designing the equipment to servicing it. And I hope that ultimately, this will lead to an increase in salary levels. I want to point out that today, workers at these companies receive below-average wages. What is their average income? 17,000 rubles?
Reply: Recently, it has been 17,000 roubles.
Vladimir Putin: That’s what my documents say as well. I will check the accuracy of these data.
But in any case, we understand that the more efficient the production, the more opportunities there are to increase wages, which means there are more opportunities to attract young, talented people.
Incidentally, it is also imperative to simultaneously work on solving a different problem. I was just speaking with young company workers, and naturally, one of the most pressing problems is the same as everywhere else – the problem of housing. Please look at the positive experience already applied at some other defence companies.
I gave an example: one of the Russian Helicopters company plants in the Far East effectively uses a scheme which allowed reducing the price of an apartment by 30%. Naturally, this must be done jointly by the regional authorities and the company, but such arrangements exist and function efficiently.
The Industry and Trade Ministry, jointly with the Defence Ministry and Rostekhnologii State Corporation, is directly responsible for the small arms sector reorganisation. Today, I would like you to report on how this process is being organised.
Third, we must broaden the educational, training equipment and training ground base. Let me stress once again that starting next year, we will have massive deliveries of modern equipment for the troops. It is more sophisticated, so it requires the personnel to master new knowledge and skills, and undergo special training and instruction.
It is imperative not to fall behind; we should already be planning the production of training equipment for classroom instruction as we produce the combat equipment. Meanwhile, we must develop new approaches to providing modern equipment to field training sites and organising training grounds.
And finally, fourth, it is important to truly support Russian engineering and design schools.
You know, I meet regularly with our professionals. Chief designers often have the opinion – or at least, this is how it seemed to me – that in recent years, their central, coordinating role in creating armaments and combat equipment is decreasing. I want to assure you that this is not the case at all.
The financial, managerial and other aspects are most visible, and although they are extremely important to the management system, to the market economy, I believe that just as before, the chief designers must serve as the main technical staff, the driving force for all new designs. Without them, even if we have money and talented managers, we cannot create modern and effective weaponry.
And overall, practice shows that under modern conditions, experts with deep technical knowledge, management skills and specialised economic knowledge need to be involved more actively in managing these companies.
Colleagues, our meeting is taking place on the eve of Armourers’ Day. So I will use this occasion to congratulate all workers in the sector on their upcoming professional holiday.
We are proud of our Russian armourers; for centuries, they have forged our nation’s defensive power, particularly ensuring the high quality and reliability of their products, many models of which – such as the Kalashnikov assault rifle, produced here in Izhevsk – are known throughout the world. It became one of our nation’s brands, and I can say without exaggeration that it is the most widespread weapon in the world. It is enough to say that the Kalashnikov rifle can be seen on certain nations’ state emblems.
And nowadays, the defence engineers, designers and executives create combat equipment and armaments of the highest calibre. The modern small arms models we just saw serve as direct proof of this.
I want to thank the engineers and all Russian armourers for their conscientious work for the good of strengthening Russia’s defence capacity. I am confident that you and your colleagues will continue to help strengthen our nation’s defensive power. I wish you all success.