Russia to prioritize modern weaponry in new arms acquisition program

Russia will focus on purchases of advanced weaponry in a new state arms procurement program until 2020, First Deputy Defense Minister Vladimir Popovkin said.

« The state arms procurement program until 2020 prioritizes the acquisition of advanced weaponry. Their share is about 70 percent, » Popovkin said in an interview with the Izvestia newspaper published on Friday.

Popovkin said the Russian government had allocated 22 trillion rubles ($730 billion) on the new program, which includes purchases of eight missile-carrying strategic submarines, equipped with Bulava ballistic missiles, 600 aircraft, S-400 and S-500 air defense systems.

The Navy will receive new conventional submarines, destroyers and corvettes equipped with advanced Kalibr missile system, which can fire anti-ship cruise missiles (3M-54) and long-range cruise missiles (3M-14) to destroy land-based targets.

The priority will be given, however, to the development and the maintenance of Russia’s nuclear triad, Popovkin said.

The official reiterated that Russia did not plan to buy weaponry abroad unless it did not have domestic equivalents to fill the assigned roles, like reconnaissance drones, amphibious assault ships and sniper equipment.

The Russian Armed Forces are mostly equipped with outdated Soviet-era weaponry. According to official data, the share of modern equipment in the strategic nuclear forces is about 20 percent, while in the conventional forces it does not exceed 10 percent.

Popovkin said the purchases under the new program would allow Russia to bring the share of modern weaponry to 70 percent of the total by 2020.

MOSCOW, March 11 (RIA Novosti)

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