Russia has signed military procurement contracts to a record $ 53 billion in recent years. What is the country’s strategy for reaching new customers and conquering new markets?
In the summer of 2021, Russia managed to sign arms contracts worth three billion euros. The deal was made at several international arms exhibitions in Russia: the Navy’s MVMS 2021, the Air and Space Max 2021 and the Military Technical Army 2021 Forum. The three billion in business includes the supply of Russia’s Su-30 fighters, Mi-35 and Mi-171 helicopters and various air force systems. “Pantsir” anti-aircraft missile and cannon complexes and “Verba” mobile systems were also included in the contracts. Customers were also interested in the “Protivnike-GE” radio location system, the “Krasukha” and “Repellent-Patrul” communication systems, as well as the “Kornet-EM” anti-tank missile complex. And of course, there were the remote-controlled combat units, naval and submarine weapons, firearms and ammunition that were equally popular. The naval artillery complex “Palma” is also sold for the first time. And the list goes on …
Artificial leads from the Zircon missile
Press service for KTRV
The expansion of trade with foreign partners is part of the Russian arms industry’s strategy, given that the country has almost completed the project of upgrading its technical and weapons capabilities. The ten-year program cost Russia astronomical 23 trillion rubles (about $ 350 billion). According to Defense Minister Sergey Shoygu, in 2021, the share of equipping the army with modern weapons and equipment was 71.9%. This is the highest percentage in the world. But when the project ends, investments in it will also decrease. President Vladimir Putin warned the arms industry of the need to diversify its production of weapons and equipment. By 2030, the defense industry’s share of military equipment manufacturing must be reduced to 50 percent, while the rest of production will be directed to the civilian sector. That being said, arms manufacturers are not very happy about the possibility of having to mass-produce for the civilian market. They are also not very effective at it.
There are, of course, exceptions to the rule. As of MAKS 2019, the cruise missile manufacturer ‘Tactical Missile Corporation’ (KTRV – member of the Union of Machine Builders of Russia) has actively marketed its endoprosthesis. The endoskeleton is impossible to pass during the show, even when it is surrounded by missiles and various sea mines and torpedoes. And it is not there to remind you of the frailty of human existence. It turns out that the company has manufacturing knowledge to produce a variety of endoprostheses using reinforced carbon-carbon composite technology. According to the company’s press release, the material can withstand temperatures of up to 2500 degrees Celsius, while at the same time being very similar to human bone material. Unlike the titanium prosthesis, the endoprosthesis forms practically with the human organism and does not require replacement. KTRV director Boris Obnosov says that the technology is currently being certified, while the production facilities to work with it are already being built. It is not difficult to imagine a material quite similar to that used in the lining of “The Avangard”, a nuclear hypersonic boost glider and the “Zircon” missile.
Takes everything on the market
Sergey Malgavko / TASS
However, the above example is rather an exception. So by reducing the amount of domestic trade, the military industry is increasingly looking to Eastern and Western markets. Decades of investment in military modernization and the purchase of new groundbreaking armaments led to the creation of a surplus in the military-industrial complex, which can only be managed by entering overseas markets. State “Rosoborone exports” saw this very early enough to avert a crisis. The decision was made to aggressively market Russian goods in a market outside Russia’s normal business.
For example, in the airspace MAKS 2021, the light tactical “Checkmate” fighter made its debut – the first of its kind for Russia. The company’s head, Sergey Chemezov, said the plane will cost $ 25-30 million, which is several times cheaper than foreign rivals. Chemezov specifically named French ‘Dassault Rafale’ and Swedish ‘Saab Gripen’, which cost 60-90 million dollars. According to him, “Checkmate” should be “a seriously working solution” for countries that do not have the money to afford a US-made F-34 “Lightning II” for 120 million dollars. He added that the order will consist of 300 units.
In February 2021, Minister of Industry and Trade Denis Manturov said during a show in Abu Dhabi that Russia and the United Arab Emirates would form a joint venture for research and development of supersonic aircraft. According to him, the independent fund “Mubadala” will participate in the United Arab Emirates. Until recently, Abu Dhabi was a strategic partner in the United States. At present, however, it is ready to work with the Russian-made Tu-160 “White Swan”.
Unlike the West, Russia does not build any kind of political “pentagram” when choosing partners. Ankara, for example, has betrayed Russia several times during military operations in Syria. In 2015, Turkish F-16 fighters shot down a Russian Su-24M during a mission to destroy terrorist bases, after it “accidentally” entered Turkish airspace (Lieutenant Colonel Oleg Peshkov was killed). However, this did not deter Moscow from selling the S-400 ‘Triumph’ aircraft complex to the Turks. In addition, Chemezov expressed his willingness to help Ankara build a fifth-generation fighter jet.
Turkey intends to realize its ambition to have its own fifth generation fighter aircraft, the TF-X. Given our unique expertise in research and development of aircraft complexes and systems, we are open to considering the possibility of assisting our Turkish partners in the creation of the fighter aircraft. , says Chemezov to the news agency RIA Novosti.
Such examples illustrate the steps taken by the Russian arms industry. Traditional Russian markets in India, China and a number of other countries are overflowing with Russian weapons. The country requires new niche markets. But they are traditionally taken up by the United States and other Western countries. Russia, with its new technological capabilities, is trying to change this. Not only does it sell goods at better prices than the competition, it is also ready to open a credit line for the customer. In 2020, the “Kommersant” newspaper said, citing a diplomatic source, that Moscow was ready to set aside $ 500 million for Colombo, Sri Lanka, to acquire six Su-30 fighter jets and a shipment of BTR-28A tanks. In addition, Moscow is ready to co-finance the development of promising weapons. Another thing that separates Russia from the Western powers is the willingness to share its technology.
Dmitry Litovkin is a Military Expert and Editor-in-Chief of the Independent Military Review