For the first time in modern history, Russia is turning to foreign weapons manufacturers to boost its military arsenal. Russia’s armed forces have already signed contracts with Italy and France.
MOSCOW – Russia has long been one of the world's foremost arms suppliers. But now, for the first time in its history, the Russian military is importing military equipment and arms as well.
In April 2010, the head of the Russian armed forces announced that the army had reviewed its purchasing politics and decided it would no longer refuse to buy military products from abroad. As of today, the Russian military has signed contracts to purchase armored vehicles from Italy and two helicopter carriers from France. There are plans for additional purchases from abroad, since it would often take too long for similarly high-tech products to be developed in Russia.
It has been clear for some time now that the Russian military would need to import technology, but economic problems prevented it from happening until recently. As the military examined its equipment goals for the next decade, it became clear that the choice was either to buy domestic products – which would mean weapons that did not meet the technological requirements – or to buy western technology that Russia would then be able to adapt. In the end, the military chose the second option.
President Dmitry Medvedev has said, on several occasions, that the military should only buy high-quality products at competitive prices. If domestic suppliers cannot meet those requirements, then Russia shouldn't hesitate to buy abroad. "There's no need to buy junk," said Medvedev.
The Russian army does classify some military technology as too important for national security to be purchased abroad. For example, the Russian missile system is considered one of the country's most important strategic advantages. However, the Russian military recognized that domestic producers lag behind their foreign counterparts when it comes to sniper weapons, drones and armored vehicle technology.
One of the most important factors in its decision to begin importing weapons is money. Russian military technology is nearly always cheaper than its Western counterparts. But now that the Russian military has a more generous equipment budget, it can afford the higher prices.
Read the full article in Russian by Ivan Safronov
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