Once flagship of a robust Russian military press, NVO isn’t what it was. What is after 15 years of Putin? But NVO still has moments. Its 22 May editorial is one.
NVO writes that recent Roskosmos failures overshadowed President Vladimir Putin’s mid-May meetings with Defense Ministry and defense industry leaders on the GOZ and GPV. Still the 9 May Victory Day parade on Red Square showed much has been done to rearm Russia. But much doesn’t mean every problem has been solved. Rather, NVO contends, problems in the realization of GPV 2011-2020 and GPV 2016-2025 are “snowballing.”
The paper offers cases in point:
- The fifth generation T-50 (PAK FA) fighter didn’t fly over Red Square even though it’s supposed to be in serial production already. The impatient Putin gave Russian designers just five years to field the T-50 while the Americans took 14 years from first flight to first delivery with the F-22 and 12 with the F-35.
- Only a short time — two years — has been allowed for serial production of the new Armata tank. The Soviet T-64 took 10-15 years from the start of testing until all development work was finished. The call for Armata tanks and other armored vehicles on the same base in 2015 is just a “wish.” Serial production won’t begin earlier than 2018.
- There are delays in other key military programs — S-350 Vityaz, S-500 Triumfator-M, and missile defense systems (no specifics provided).
Then NVO reels off a list of weapons the Russian military needs that, the editorial asserts, aren’t exactly rolling off assembly lines:
- Transport aircraft;
- Air-launched missiles;
- Air ordnance;
- Artillery and fire control systems;
- Space systems.
Regarding the final bullet, the paper notes that “even a huge investment of budget resources still won’t save Roskosmos from its systemic crisis.”
“On the whole, fulfillment of GPV-2020 and GPV-2025 has been summoned to restore Russia to military parity with NATO, if only the Russian economy can withstand the strain. If not, the history of the USSR may be repeated.”
Some will quibble about particular systems NVO claims Moscow will have trouble fielding, but the general point remains: far from everything needed by a military neglected for 20 years is being successfully procured. There are more than a few independent Russian economists who say Moscow’s current high level of defense spending is damaging an economy already challenged by lower oil prices and Western sanctions.