Dmitry Medvedev had a telephone conversation with French President Nicolas Sarkozy.
The heads of state exchanged New Year's greetings and best wishes.
In connection with the discussion of the topic of Russian-French cooperation on Mistral-class amphibious assault dock ships, the administrations of the presidents of the two countries prepared a joint message:
“Today the President of the Russian Federation Dmitry Medvedev informed the President of the French Republic Nicolas Sarkozy that within the framework of the international tender for the supply of two amphibious assault dock ships (DVKD) for the Russian Ministry of Defense, announced on October 5 this year, the Russian authorities made a choice in favor of a proposal submitted by a consortium consisting of the French company DCNS and the Russian OJSC USC.
At the initial stage, the proposal of the consortium provides for the joint construction of two ships of this type with the subsequent production of two additional units.
Dmitry Medvedev and Nicolas Sarkozy welcomed the completion of this unprecedented cooperation project, which will contribute to the development of industry and solve the employment problem in our two countries and demonstrate the will and ability of Russia and France to develop a large-scale partnership in all areas, including defense and security. " …
Troopers from France
Recently, the RF Ministry of Defense has officially confirmed that it will purchase the Mistral universal amphibious assault ships from France. Talk about this deal has been going on for the entire last year, but the military has always clarified that it is just about intentions. And they did not even rule out that an order for such ships could be given to Russian shipbuilders.
Indeed, in the spring of this year, the United Shipbuilding Company (USC) announced that it could build its analogue of the Mistral in three years. “We guarantee that the ship will be built on this date. We have opportunities and sites for this, for example, Sevmash, Yantar or Admiralty Shipyards, "said Igor Ryabov, a representative of the USC.
Nevertheless, the choice at a closed tender held at the end of November this year was given to Mistral, the developer of which is the French company DCNS. She will build two landing ships at her shipyards, and two more under her license will be manufactured in Russia, presumably at the Yantar shipyard in Kaliningrad.
According to expert estimates, the total amount of the contract with the French is 1.5-2 billion euros. This is the largest transaction for the import of military equipment since the days of arms deliveries to the Soviet Union under Lend-Lease during the Great Patriotic War.
A revolution in the army's minds
For the Russian defense industry, the choice in favor of the Mistrals was a real shock. The same USC was even going to file a complaint against the Ministry of Defense with the Federal Antimonopoly Service for allegedly artificially created obstacles to it in preparation for the tender. However, there was no shock for the weapons specialists. Back in April this year, at the exhibition-forum "Army and Society" in Moscow, the then chief of armaments of the RF Armed Forces Vladimir Popovkin (now he is the first deputy minister of defense) harshly criticized the defense industry for the fact that they had stopped creating products that would suit the military.
“We cannot buy barrel artillery with a firing range of up to 30 km, when the enemy has 70 km,” he said. “We will not buy the BTR-80, because I don’t know how to leave it through the side door.” He also had no better opinion of the BMP-3 infantry fighting vehicle.
“The officers and soldiers do not want to get inside this car, they are riding on the roof,” Popovkin said. Since then, he and other military leaders have made it clear more than once that they will buy only such military equipment that gives parity with foreign armies in the event of an armed conflict. And if the domestic defense industry is unable to reorganize itself to produce modern weapons, then so much the worse for it - there will be suppliers abroad.
This turn, according to experts, marks a very real revolution in the views on how and with what the Russian Armed Forces should be equipped. “All current majors and lieutenant colonels have been taught since their cadets that Russian weapons are the best in the world, and nobody could have thought of it,” Vasily Belozerov, co-chairman of the Association of Military Political Scientists, reminded Trud-7.
“With the removal of the domestic shipbuilding industry from the order for the universal landing ship, it became absolutely clear that in the future the national defense industry will cease to be the exclusive supplier of the Russian Armed Forces,” Konstantin Makienko, deputy director of the Center for Analysis of Strategies and Technologies, told Trud-7. "The purchase of weapons and military equipment (AME) will now become a regular practice."
At the same time, Makienko believes that in the near future it will still be limited purchases. First of all, the Ministry of Defense will buy or is already buying those products that we cannot produce ourselves or the production of which is simply unprofitable.
The notorious drones have become the most striking example of weapons that, well, simply cannot be obtained by Russian designers. Their development in Moscow, the Moscow region, Kazan, Izhevsk, Irkutsk has been going on since the mid-1990s, but not a single sample has satisfied the military. First of all, due to the fact that the image transmitted from them, firstly, is indistinct, dances, and secondly, it cannot be attached to the grid of coordinates.
As a result, after the war with Georgia, the Ministry of Defense purchased for 53 million dollars from the Israeli company IAI a batch of light portable systems of mini-UAVs Bird-Eye 400 (range - 10 km), medium devices I – View MK150 (radius - 100 km) and Medium-weight UAV Searcher Mk II (fly 250 km). True, the military made a reservation that the Israeli drones were purchased not so much for use as for our factory specialists to figure out how they work and to adopt the experience to create their own counterparts.
"If our defense industry is able to produce high-quality drones, then please, we are ready to buy them," said the head of the military department Anatoly Serdyukov.
The Air Force and the Navy need the most
Experts cite sniper small arms as an example of the unprofitability of production. To replace the massive, but outdated Dragunov sniper rifle, our designers have developed several successful models, such as the Vintorez silent sniper complex and the Val sniper rifle, but they are made almost by hand, as a by-product at arms factories, and have a high cost price.
According to experts, it is unprofitable to establish their serial production, since our army needs relatively little high-tech small arms - from 5 to 10 thousand units. It is better to buy it abroad from well-known manufacturers that have long specialized in this type of product. By the way, three years ago, without really advertising, the Ministry of Defense and the FSB have already purchased for their special forces units a small batch of British L96 sniper rifles at a price of $ 5,000 each.
In addition to Mistrals, drones and sniper rifles, the Ministry of Defense acquired abroad a trial batch of FELIN combat equipment, Thales and Saterine thermal imagers for T-90 tanks (all from France), climbing equipment for the personnel of two mountain rifle brigades deployed in the North Caucasus (acquired from Germany). Experts believe that the range of military imports will increase significantly in the next two or three years.
“Most of the purchases will be for the Air Force, the Navy and the Ground Forces,” predicts Konstantin Makienko.
Parts will be purchased before the set
As for aviation, it is likely that the Russian Su-27 and MiG-29 fighters will be supplemented with French and Israeli avionics. Rosoboronexport has long been selling Russian aircraft to other countries only with imported electronic stuffing, in particular, navigation and optoelectronic systems.
Russian pilots have already had the opportunity to evaluate the merits of foreign avionics. In 2009, Algeria unexpectedly returned to Russia 24 MiG-29 fighters, supplied to it earlier under a $ 500 million contract, on which the French navigation system Sigma-95 was installed. All the planes entered the combat flight units of Russia, which made the pilots very happy, since the MiGs that the Algerians did not like turned out to be much better than those on which they had flown before.
For the needs of the fleet, ready-made ships will not be purchased in the foreseeable future, individual components and assemblies will be imported, which are not even outlined by Russian designers. First of all, we are talking about air-independent power plants (VNEU) for diesel submarines. The use of such systems allows the boat to be submerged for 20 days without recharging the batteries. France, Germany and Sweden possess the corresponding technologies. Most likely, we will purchase VNEU from the first two countries.
Armored attack failed
Armored vehicles are considered the most backward in the Ground Forces. According to experts, practically all tanks, armored personnel carriers and tracked infantry fighting vehicles were created 20-30 years ago, are hopelessly morally obsolete and must be replaced with modern models. For all these types of technology, research and development work was opened, but they did not end with any breakthrough developments. For example, it was not possible to create a new T-95 tank to replace the T-90 tank, which did not suit the military.
As a result, the Ministry of Defense agreed in June 2010 to purchase light armored vehicles IVECO in Italy, which will initially be used simultaneously with our BTR-80 and Tiger armored vehicles. In addition, negotiations are currently underway with the Italians to open licensed production of IVECO at one of the Russian enterprises, presumably at KamAZ.
Not all experts are happy with this development. "The import of weapons carries great risks, since foreign suppliers may one fine moment impose a trade embargo on the supply of military equipment to Russia, and we will be left with nothing," says Anatoly Tsyganok, director of the Center for Military Forecasting.
“These risks can be easily avoided if partners are selected based on the principles of their maximum depoliticization,” in turn, believes Konstantin Makienko. In his opinion, such partners for us are France, Italy and Israel.
Russia will pay 2 billion euros for the Mistral landing ships;
Israel received $ 53 million for drones;
250 million euros - the price of the contract with IVECO for the supply of armored vehicles;
The Ministry of Defense spent 5 million dollars on the purchase of British L96 rifles