President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, friends,
I want to sincerely congratulate your air base once again on being awarded the order.
I am sure you are familiar with the development plans, or at least your commander must know them as he told us just now that the equipment and personnel will be increased significantly, and a full-fledged air force base will be established here, in Southern Russia.
The location is very good; it is situated along one of the key strategic directions and at the same time deep inside Russian territory. The infrastructure is good, and you have excellent core of personnel made up of high-class professionals. That is why we will strive to ensure that such units are established not only in the Air Force but also in other branched of the Armed Forces.
However, all of that is the business of the Defence Ministry and Air Force leadership, whereas I wanted to discuss a different matter with you: I want to ask you about your life and the current problems you face. We have decided to increase the pay and to address housing issues. That is what I would like to talk to you about.
We have repeatedly returned to these issues, and I want to ask whether you receive your pay in full, the increased pay, and how efficiently your housing problems are being addressed, including service housing.
Commander of The 393rd Air Force Base Ryafagat Khabibullin: Comrade Commander-in-Chief,
First, on behalf of the 393rd Air Force Base personnel (Major-General Anatoly Safonov is also present here) I would like to thank you for your high commendation. As commander of the Air Force base, who has served for a long time, I can tell you that, for obvious reasons, we had some outdated equipment. Now we have new equipment, new Mi-8 and Mi-28 helicopters. We have excellent prospects and young flight crews. The base has 48 lieutenants, all of whom have started to fly the Mi-24 and Mi-8 helicopters and will be trained to fly Ka-52s. The army aviation development is progressing successfully.
Vladimir Putin: I wanted to discuss a different issue with you.
As you can see – maybe the officers do not know these people in person, but the commanders must know them – these are CEOs of major Russian aircraft companies. I have gathered them here today to talk about how we will address issues related to the state defence order for aircraft until 2020. I will return to this at the meeting later, but I can give you some preliminary figures already. You must have heard the figure of 20 trillion rubles [over $612 billion], a figure that sounds strange for a normal person, for a normal Russian: that is the total worth of defence contracts until 2020. Of that, over four trillion is expected to be spent on aircraft – nearly a quarter of the funding allocated for the state defence order until 2020. Almost a quarter. Over four trillion.
We are going to re-equip the entire defence industry and we will allocate three trillion rubles for this purpose until 2020, and for aviation, construction, the development of new technology – more than four trillion. Naturally, I cannot say what we will discuss at the meeting, but there will be a lot of new equipment. You will have enough equipment to fly and to serve with.