Putin Stresses Strategic Systems

Originally intended for another purpose, so it’s a tad dated.  Perhaps still useful to some . . .

Putin Talks Air Forces

Putin Talks Air Forces

Russian President Vladimir Putin conducted six meetings on key arms programs from 27-29 November in Sochi.  He focused on strategic systems in his public remarks before the sessions.

Looking first at the RVSN, Putin called development of the “main component of the strategic nuclear forces” a priority.  He said two RVSN regiments received new mobile missile systems – 18 RS-24 Yars (SS-29) ICBMs — this year.  Putin added that the RVSN will field 22 new ICBMs – likely also RS-24 — in 2014.

Putin said the RVSN need to overcome “any missile defense system.”  Makeyev State Missile Center general designer Vladimir Degtyar responded by describing development of a missile with “increased throw weight” and better survivability, presumably a new liquid-fueled heavy missile.

The Russian president said it is “not necessary to say much about how important the naval part of the triad of strategic nuclear deterrence is for us.”  New Borey-class SSBNs Aleksandr Nevskiy and Vladimir Monomakh need to enter service next year as part of a contingent of eight new SSBNs by 2020, he said.  Not mentioning the failed launch of a Bulava SLBM in September, Putin tersely commented, “The armament [Bulava] should arrive in step with its launchers, these submarines.”

Putin called for “active” work on the new PAK DA strategic bomber, and modernization of existing Tu-160 and Tu-95MS bombers.  OAK chairman Mikhail Pogosyan replied that the Defense Ministry has given the corporation the technical task for PAK DA, and the company is preparing for R&D starting next year.  He said OAK is almost ready to submit modernized Tu-160 and Tu-95MS bombers for state testing.

Turning to aerospace defense, Putin said two ‘regimental sets’ of S-400 SAMs were fielded this year, and three should reach the forces in 2014.  Almaz-Antey general designer Pavel Sozinov told the Russian president that the S-500 SAM system is approaching the “finish line” with testing planned in 2014-15, and the new medium-range S-350E Vityaz should reach units in 2015-16.  The first production lines in new Almaz-Antey plants in Nizhny Novgorod and Kirov will begin operating in 2015, according to Sozinov.

Putin addressed well-known problems in Russia’s space sector, noting that failures have brought significant material losses.  Some military space projects are drifting despite stable financing, he added.  He noted that five military satellites have been placed in orbit, and five more will be in 2013.  Six satellites will be orbited next year, Putin said.

Concluding the meetings, Putin reminded assembled military and defense industry leaders that Russia’s defense budget has increased four-fold over ten years.  He said this money was allocated to guarantee the country’s defense capability for the long-term future, and established tasks must be completed on schedule.  He plans to hold another rearmament review in six months.

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6 responses to “Putin Stresses Strategic Systems

  1. Nice synopsis; thanks. After the Vietnam War, many in the US military turned their backs on counter-insurgency and focused instead on the big conventional/nuclear threat from the USSR. Some of this shift may have been justified, but some of it certainly stemmed from the US failure in Vietnam. Putin and co. may be guilty of something similar today. The situation in the N. Caucasus and the growing potential of radical Islam in other parts of Russia remain unsolved. How much better/easier/profitable to defend against the western bogeyman than dealing with actual threats to the Russian state.

    • Ray, appreciate you reading as always…let me throw out a couple ideas. While the U.S. wasted treasure and lives in southeast Asia, Moscow was busy achieving strategic nuclear parity. Washington realized it had to pay attention to this and also to heavy conventional forces in Europe (since parity made some think a big NATO-Warsaw Pact war might be possible). The N. Caucasus certainly remains a mess, but still better than it was 10 or 15 years ago. Maintaining order in Chechnya was outsourced to Kadyrov Jr. This brings the thought that maybe the N. Caucasus is lost already. Moscow pays tribute to keep it reasonably quiescent and nominally part of the RF. Also, many underestimate the extent to which there is real concern/fear about U.S. missile defense in Moscow. Fear that it might moot Russia’s status as a nuclear great power. Putin’s focus on strat systems also reflects some sense that Moscow isn’t going to be able to afford every program it wants by 2020 or 2025. It may have to boresight the most important ones.

      • Would add just one thought…have often said that if real ethnic war (not localized like Chechnya) ever begins in the RF, it will make the former Yugoslavia of the 1990s look like a Sunday picnic. Collapsing / disintegrating / failing RF would be a serious threat for Western democracies, and not just because of “loose nukes,” which was the only thing we worried about during the USSR’s collapse and the years immediately after.

  2. Re North Caucasus: Putin declared the conflict in the North Caucasus “over” in 2006. He ignores it as much as he can. That’s an internal affair as far as he is concerned and is treated as such. The strategic triad discourse is aimed at both international and domestic audiences; for the world it reflects Russia’s continued insistence it be treated as a great power, and for the domestic, particularly the military industrialists, they know which service branches are going to be getting the most funds that they can then misappropriate.

  3. Betsy! Think you’re right, Putin’s desperate to hold onto Russia’s great power status. Even without nukes, he does pretty well just with a UNSC veto, some petrodollars, and a handful of rogue states for allies. Remember those misshuge idiots we worked for? Happy holidays to you, sending you some hugs and fond memories. You were always a good friend.

  4. Pingback: Two More S-400 “Regimental Sets” | Russian Defense Policy

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