The expanded meeting of the Russian Defense Ministry Board took place on December 24th, with Supreme Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, Russian President Vladimir Putin in attendance.
Russian President Vladimir Putin gave the opening remarks. In his speech he praised the progress towards modernization the Russian Armed Forces have achieved, especially the “Nuclear Triad” which reached 82% of modernization.
“The Strategic Rocket Forces began to receive the latest strategic-range hypersonic missile system with the Avangard glide vehicle. These weapons of the future are capable of overcoming both current and future missile defense.”
According to him, important steps were taken to improve the control systems and communications, intelligence and electronic warfare. Mostly due to the introduction of the latest technologies in the collection, transmission and processing of information.
All graduates of military universities in 2019 – and this is more than 14 thousand officers – received military posts in accordance with their specialties.
“A general analysis of the state of the Armed Forces shows their high combat readiness. All branches and service arms of troops are capable of practicing their mission as intended, and guaranteeing the peace and security of Russia,” he noted opening the Session.
The President emphasized that this is extremely important, given the international situation and the risks present here. Indeed, tension does not subside in the Middle East, in Afghanistan, on the Korean Peninsula, and the military infrastructure of NATO is expanding near the borders of Russia.
“The decisive place is, of course, occupied by the tasks of ensuring the defence capability of Russia,” said Vladimir Putin. “No matter how events unfold, reliable, guaranteed protection of our Motherland from any potential military threats should be unchanged.”
Following Putin, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu gave his report.
He began by emphasizing that the US military budget in 2020 for the first time will reach nearly 750 billion US dollars. This amounts to the total annual military budget of all countries in the world and exceeds the Russian one by 16 times.
NATO continues work on its ‘Four Thirties’” initiative for a thirty-day readiness of 30 mechanized battalions, 30 air squadrons, and 30 combat vessels ready within 30. As of December 1st, complete readiness was achieved for the land component, 76 percent for the air component, and 93 percent for the sea component.
“In our estimation, the full implementation of the “Four Thirties” concept is possible by 2022.
The readiness of carrier aircraft for the use of nuclear weapons is planned to be reduced from 10 days to 24 hours.”
Furthermore, he underlined the increased aggressiveness of NATO along the Russian border.
“In the Baltic countries deployed American air defense radar to detect air targets. They allow to control our airspace to a depth of 450 km.
Every year, the NATO in Europe holds up to 40 exercises that have a clear anti-Russian focus.
Compared to last year, near our borders, the intensity of air reconnaissance increased by 33%, and marine by 24%.”
Rearmament in the army and the navy is on-going and it is generally successful.
“All measures provided by the Ministry of Defence Action Plan and the 2019 state defence order have been completed. The highest rate of execution of arms and equipment deliveries over the past four years has been achieved. More than 6,500 pieces of new and modernized armament have entered the Russian Armed Forces that made it possible to increase the share of modern weapons to 68.2%.”
The rate of modern armament in Strategic Missile Forces has exceeded 76%, and in nuclear triad is 82%.
Three missile regiments of Strategic Missile Forces have been re-equipped with modern Yars missile systems. The deployment of Peresvet laser systems has been completed. Since December 1, they have been on combat duty in the position areas of the five missile divisions of the Strategic Missile Forces.
The state tests of the Borey-A-class nuclear submarine Knyaz Vladimir were concluded, successfully.
Five modernized strategic bombers entered the strategic aviation nuclear forces.
In 2019, 624 pieces of tanks and other armored vehicles, 143 modern aircraft and helicopters, 13 spacecraft, one submarine, eight surface ships, 17 boats and support vessels, and four Bal and Bastion coastal missile systems and more than 10,000 pieces of modern signal equipment received Russian Armed Forces.
“From December 1, a unique over-the-horizon radar station took up combat duty. It is able to reveal the massive take-offs of aircraft and launches of cruise missiles, including hypersonic ones.”
Long-term contracts for Su-57 fifth-generation fighter jets were concluded, as well as for more than 200 combat helicopters.
“The rearmament of the army and navy, as well as the planned repair of military equipment, made it possible to increase the level of serviceability in the Armed Forces to 95%.
At the same time, there is an acute question with the serviceability of training aircraft, in which it is 58%, and for Yak-130 aircraft – 56%. We are taking active measures to correct the situation.”
Defense research is also on-going.
“Unique research in the defence sphere is carried out by servicemen of 17 scientific companies. They implemented 1,584 developments, registered 135 inventions. After the service, 912 of them became officers or got jobs at the defence industry enterprises.”
On top of all of that, Russia’s defense budget, in Shoigu’s words hasn’t increased in several years.
“At the same time, against the backdrop of annually rising spending by the United States and other countries, Russia’s military budget has remained unchanged for several years.
If in 2018 we were in seventh place in military spending among the leading states of the world, in the current year – in eighth, and in the next we will be in ninth.”
In the Arctic, which promises to become an even more contested hot point in 2020, the construction of military infrastructure is making progress.
“The development of military infrastructure in the Arctic continues. In total, using innovative technologies, 590 objects were built with a total area of more than 720,000 square meters.
In order to accommodate the units of the Northern Fleet Air Defenсe Division in Tiksi, the construction of priority military camp facilities with a total area of 4,600 sq. meters.”
In Syria, the Russian Centre for Reconciliation of Opposing Sides conducted more than 2,000 humanitarian actions. 109,000 civilians received medical care.
“The construction of a ship repair complex has been completed in Tartous.
Russian military facilities are reliably covered by an air defence system and electronic warfare systems.
This year, they shot down 53 unmanned aerial vehicles and 27 missiles of MLRS terrorists.”
For 2020, the plans for the Russian Ministry of Defense are the following:
- To deliver 22 launchers with Yars and Avangard ballistic missiles for the combat alert duty to the Strategic Nuclear Forces of the Strategic Missile Forces;
- To complete the modernization of six strategic missile carriers Tu-95MS at industry enterprises;
- To commission Borey-A-class nuclear submarine Knyaz Vladimir equipped with the Bulava ballistic missile. There will be seven such submarines in total;
- To deliver 565 modern armored vehicles, 436 pieces of missile and artillery weapons, two division sets of Buk-M3 to the Land Forces, the Coastal Troops of the Navy and the Airborne Troops. To organize 11 formations and military units;
- To deliver 106 new and upgraded aircraft, four regiment sets of air defense missile weapon system S-400 Triumph and six division sets of the Pantsyr missile system to the Aerospace Forces and the Navy;
- To launch the fourth spacecraft of the United space system;
- To increase the level of serviceability of aviation equipment up to 80% due to the conclusion of State contracts for the cost of a flight hour and the transition to a promising system of engineering and aviation supply and military repair;
- To commission 14 warships and boats, three submarines, 18 auxiliary vessels. To deliver one Bal coastal missile system;
- To complete the construction of strategic missile submarines base infrastructure in the Northern and Pacific Fleets;
- To equip the Armed Forces with modern weapons and equipment by 70%, following the instructions given in the May 2012 decrees of the President of the Russian Federation;
- To conduct 19,200 different exercises and trainings, including the strategic command post exercise “Kavkaz-2020”.
It appears that in a year with aggressive NATO exercises that promise heavy deployments to Europe, Russia will not simply sit idly and wait for its “partners” to make all the moves.
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