Russia’s State Armaments Program For 2018-2025

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Written and produced by SF Team: J.Hawk, Daniel Deiss, Edwin Watson

While Russia’s next State Armaments Program (GPV) will be officially revealed only in early July, its general outline is already known thanks to a number of official and unofficial announcements on the future direction of the Russian Armed Forces.  GPV’s priorities are a reflection of the perceived threat array facing the Russian Federation, and this GPV is clearly prioritizing the Ground Forces, which will sustain a rapid pace of modernization in spite of the recent economic crisis that has not yet been fully overcome. The political instability of the European Union, the rise of nationalists in Ukraine, the Baltics, and NATO’s overt hostility toward Russia, and the erratic foreign policy pursued by the Trump Administration compelled to take heed of the globalist faction of the US elite, all point to the need to bolster Russia’s ability to fight a large-scale land war in the foreseeable future. The other priority evident in the available information on the GPV is the desire to have “good enough” materiel in service now rather than “perfect” materiel later, as manifested by the deferred procurement of a number of systems currently under development.

The Ground Forces will not only expand in size but will also continue to modernize and upgrade its equipment fleet. While by 2025 the most numerous main battle tank in regular service will be the T-72B3 or its upgraded version, Russian sources believe the T-14 MBT of the Armata family will be procured at the rate of 20-30 vehicles per year, with the initial order for 100 vehicles already in.

The development of the Kurganets and Bumerang infantry fighting vehicles, on the other hand, has hit a few snags, so that they will not enter service before 2019 at the earliest. As a stop-gap measure, the Russian military will continue procuring Berezhok upgrade kits for the BMP-2 IFV, procure several hundred new BMP-3 IFVs, and overhaul the existing fleet. Land-based air and ballistic missile defense will also be a key priority, with the armed forces receiving Buk-M3, Tor-M2, and S-300V4 and S-400 missile systems. The prospective S-500, still in the development phase, will likely not be procured during the next GPV term.

The biggest predicted change in the new GPV concerning the Aerospace Forces will be the postponement of the PAK-DA strategic bomber program which is seen as redundant in the foreseeable future due to the ongoing efforts to resume the Tu-160 bomber production with the aim of procuring 50-60 of the bombers, and the modernization of the existing fleet to the Tu-160M2 standard. The PAK-FA development will continue as before, and the aircraft will enter series production in the upcoming years. However, most of the aircraft procured under the new GPV will be the already existing tried and true designs seen in the skies over Syria, namely Su-35, Su-34, and Su-30, as well as a number of MiG-35 “lightweight” fighters, and of course the Ka-52 and Mi-28N attack helicopters.

What the GPV will not skimp on is munitions procurement, and the recent statements by senior officials predicting that Russian military’s stock of precision-guided munitions will double in the upcoming years is a reflection of yet another lesson learned in Syria.

Naval Forces, by contrast, have a relatively modest role in the new GPV. Neither the Shtorm aircraft carrier nor the Lider nuclear-powered destroyer are likely to appear “in metal” within the next GPV term. Instead the existing ships, including the Admiral Kuznetsov carrier and the heavy missile cruisers, will undergo major refits to include the fitting of new missile systems, and the role of an oceanic escort will be provided by an enlarged variant of the Admiral Gorshkov-class frigate optimized to provide area air defense, a solution adopted by many European navies which found destroyers too expensive for their budgets. The construction of missile corvettes and light frigates, ships which more than proved their worth in the context of the Syria conflict, will continue unabated, as will the procurement of both conventional and nuclear submarines. There will be no change to Arctic-specific naval procurement.

The new GPV, in addition to being a response to Western actions and a reflection of lessons from recent conflicts, is also a tacit confirmation of the sad fact that Russia is perceived as a worthy partner for negotiations in the West only because it is relatively immune to political and military pressure. As before, these weapons are intended to be used only as a last resort.

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  • Joe Doe

    This day’s tanks are not that important anymore.Are very costly to produce and maintain. Army still need some tanks, but not at huge scale. This days is air power, including airplanes, all types of helicopters, very good defence system, special forces with the high tech military electronics and hardware like TOW, Jeeps, Trucks antitank missile, arm missile launcher for destroying enemy helicopter. Navy with mass missile launchers, high tech submarines

    • Gary Sellars

      You really believe that armoured land forces are obsolete? That would be like saying soldiers are obselete…

      Airpower is a key warfighting component but is only dominant when an enemy lacks effective AA defense. Mobile radar and AA missile/gun platforms in a multi layered defensive system are undoubtedly effective – which comes out on top (aircraft or AA) is all about size/tech and operational philosophies. Past experiences of US/EU forces against minor opponents is hardly proof of the superiority of aerial attack over defence.

  • Hrky75

    This is sensible value for money defense policy. A 5 million USD a piece tank can shoot just as straight as a 10 million USD one. It can get blown up just as easy too – only for half the price. It also proves Russian defensive posture – modernized Soviet era hardware will be very dangerous tool in the hands of well trained, motivated and paid military. But it’s not the type of equipment one would use to “invade Europe”. Also, it’s good to here that Russians are learning lessons from Syria – especially when it comes to precision weapons. Naval procurements consisting of frigates, missile corvettes and subs were to be expected – the idea of Russia building one super-carrier is more than crazy. What would they do with 1 ship no matter how good it was – polish it?

    • Jesus

      The Armata tank and platform is far superior to a tank that was developed 30-40 years ago, as far as getting destroyed as easily that is not the case at least on paper considering its defensive countermeasures. T72B3 is attempting to catch up to the qualitative edge of the Leopard and M1, any specific weaknesses can be corrected by tactical deployments and strategic moves of combined arms. I thought that Russians armed forces were trying to minimize tank crews casualties through automation, T72B3 and remodernized BMP 2-3 does not fit the bill to protect the crews in a pitched armored battle, whereby they could take multiple hits and survive. At least the Armata platform has multiple Afganit launchers that could neutralize multiple hits.

      Yes, PGM are necessary in a furious combat scenario, and building the multipurpose Gorshkov frigates capable of multiple tasks is fine, there should be a lot more of them.
      As far as the carrier and the Lidder destroyers, they will be expensive, giving the Russians true blue water capability, having a deployed carrier in Eastern Mediterranean would have prevented the cruise missile attack against Syria and provided the Russians with significant air to ground options all over Syria.

      • Tudor Miron

        T72B3 is only little less protected and in many ways the same as early model T90A battle tested in Syria. Two confirmed by numerous videos times that we seen early T90 hit (both times with shtora off) we saw crew surviving and tank needed little (one that was eventualy lost) repair and first one actually operational after direct TOW-2 hit. It proves that T72B3 with thermographic siting in hands of russian crew (those that we saw in Syria were extremely poorly operated.) used with apropriate support of infantry, they eaily fit the bill of protecting crews casualties. Not any less than Leopard 2a4 or Abrams m1a2 as clearly evidenced in Iraq, Syria and Yemen. Putin knows that west has no power to defeat Russia in direct military confrontation when defending against aggression on Russian soil. We just learned (25 years ago) that we can only be defeated from inside and that’s an area where west will try hard. Soros will spend as much as federal reserve will print for him. So I hope to see that Russia keeps steadily improving level of its sovereignity – there’s still a lot to do. Main problem is not west’s pressure but 70 to 80% of “elites” (mid to high level governing/state management) left from Eltsin era – those people that feel comfortable degrading its own kind in exchange of personal wealth.

        • Solomon Krupacek

          why is gorbi not in prison?

        • Jesus

          One way of Russia to improve its sovereignty is to close the central bank, and not be bound by any leverage the west might impose on them. The Russian government can print as much money as it wants and finance whatever projects it desires. As far as the elitists that do not care about Russia, left over from the Yeltsin era, time will take them out of the political scene.

          I still do not agree with choosing an remodernized old platform, over a new platform, after all, why was the Armata platform developed for?
          A production run of 100 or 150 units a year would have been more appropriate instead of the 20-30 units planned.

          • Solomon Krupacek

            The Russian government can print as much money as it wants and finance whatever projects it desires.

            it is not so simply. nobody will take rubel. 1 dollar will cost 1000 rubels.

            usa can do this. there is huge production, everywhere want USD. the dollar is rescue money also for russian oligarchs :P also the russians transfer their money in western banks and not in russians. you sshould solve this problem first. you shoul build up the cerdibility of russia,m russian isntitutes, eliminate corruption. and not fantisyise about printing of uncovered money and totally destroy russia. such stupidities did not stalin.

          • Jesus

            The central bank that was establishes after the downfall of the soviet republic, it is controlled and under the auspices of western regulation. If the central bank is dissolved, Russia can do whatever it wants with its money supply. It can print rubbles and undertake a massive rearmament program; so what if the rubble is not accepted much world wide? It is meant to be for Russian consumption and well being, after all, if the Russians want to get tough they can ask their exports to be paid in rubles.

            Forget all your nonesese about Russian credibility and institutional corruption, you have that everywhere, this is a form of war where Russia and China are squeezing out the dollar out of international markets, making it problematic for US of having an excessive supply of dollars.

            Russia has abundant natural resources, if it prints money it will have tangible backing unlike the Treasury toilet paper.

          • Solomon Krupacek

            i did not react to central bank. my reaction was to your theory of moeny making.

          • Jesus

            If the central bank is not tied up to western banking systems, Russia can print its own money without any drawbacks. It is called stimulating the economy. It can cut interest rates and increase the money supply. That is what the Fed has been doing in the US for decades, except it is stimulating the financial economy, not the over all economy.

          • Solomon Krupacek

            russia has not all resources. and the naked fact is, without westrn technology is not able to get oil and gas in most of siberian fields. in arctic part absolutely not. after sabctions in lot of fields was disruptid the mining. there is no equipment.

          • Jesus

            Russia is self sufficient, they have been working in the Siberian fields for decades. The western technology is no holy grail, fracking has its environmental issues.

          • Solomon Krupacek

            you lie

          • Jesus

            What do you consider a lie?

          • Concrete Mike

            I think thé reason for the low armata numbers is just to get thé production process streamlined. Once the bugs are worked out at thé Factory, thé per unit cost Will decrease significantly, thats when you ramp Up production.my opinion

          • Tudor Miron

            Jesus, first of all I don’t think that T14 numbers in this article are true. All I was saying is that upgrading existing T-72’s to B3 spec is not a bad idea.

          • Jesus

            Upgrading the T72 to B3 is fine if you need to equip several newly created divisions with immediate armaments. I think the Armata platform, albeit expensive is decisively superior to anything NATO has to offer in the coming decades. Russia has to deal from a perspective of strength, seeing columns of T14, T15 and Terminator 3 advancing side by side would send NATO battalions or brigades in a flight mode. The firepower unleashed by an armored division equipped with these weapons would be unparalleled.

            I also read in Pravda that S-500 will become operational in 2019, as you say the article might deliberately mislead in details

      • Hrky75

        I was comparing T-72B3s and T-90s with Abrams and Leopards – hence 5 to 10 comparison. T-72 is good enough platform for it to be upgraded even with technology developed for Armata (Afganit, Relikt Kaktus…) I agree that Armata platform vehicles would be much better for a pitched armor battles – but this proves my point that Russia has no intention to fight those kind of engagements. And those can be only fought against NATO – so there’s no plan for an immediate “Russian aggression”. That of course won’t stop the US MIC to push more hardware on Poles – and these will be stupid enough to buy it. As for navy procurements – it’s obvious that Russia is counting on the effects of global warming to open navigation routs in the north – and those would be controlled with frigates, subs and land based planes…

        • Jesus

          I am not talking about aggression, I believe one should field the best weapons they have without second guessing NATO intent. If not 2000 units, at least 7-800 units to equip a couple of armored divisions.

          • Hrky75

            In the end it comes down to value for money equation. T-72B3 is good enough for the job Russians plan for. And that’s how a sensible country buys weapons – you need to be able to print $ out of thin air in trillions like US or be as stupid as late Soviet union to buy 1000s pieces of equipment just for the sake of it.

  • Gary Sellars

    “The prospective S-500, still in the development phase, will likely not be procured during the next GPV term.”

    Not buying this. S-500 forms a significant part in the Russian missile defence program, and i can’t see them not procurring them until after 2025….

    • VGA

      It doesn’t matter how significant they are strategically. If they aren’t performing as expected, then they aren’t worth the price and will remain under development. Russia doesn’t have money to spend on non-practical equipment just for the PR effect of a S-500.

      • sepheronx

        it does actually, hence why it is roughly 17T rubles for this SAP compared to 19T rubles last time (They are not including the amount handed to the MiC for development).

        • Gary Sellars

          “isn’t performing as intended” was probably pulled from the rectum of some NWO/Globalist propaganda outlet staffed by professional pressitutes… National Interest, or some such equivalent comedy act…

      • Gary Sellars

        “If they aren’t performing as expected”

        You have a source for this, or is this just more pessimistic “Russians can’t make anything” kind of agitprop BS?

        • Solomon Krupacek

          read SF. there was a big article 2 weeks ago. the program is delayed. this is therefore, because the system is not able enter service.
          similar stealth fighter issue.

          • Tudor Miron

            Solomon, not answering to you but to point to another BS so that readers don’t buy it. That big article is just the same as this one but without video. “similar stealth aircraft issue”… I don’t expect any tangible prove of that.

          • Solomon Krupacek

            pak

  • sepheronx

    A bit of correction – Look like the reporting you are getting from southfront, is from 5th columnist newspapers and not fully reality.

    S-500 is priority: https://sputniknews.com/military/201703101051439969-russia-defense-rearmament/

    As well, training facilities already operational and already a selection was made on personnel who will be trained to operate S-500.

    This wouldn’t be the case if S-500 would not be purchased in this SAP.

    This is from Borisov:

    https://tvzvezda.ru/news/opk/content/201704061453-qmzl.htm

    this is on the training facilities:

    http://tvzvezda.ru/news/forces/content/201702251242-4gxn.htm

    • Gary Sellars

      Russian 5th columnists… always willing to shit on their own nation, people and their interests as part of their service to wealthy foreigners….

      Thankfully the Russian 5th column has had a spotlight turned onto it as part of the fallout from US/EU Ukraine/Syria troublemaking, sanctions and oil-price sabotage. The roaches are scurrying about looking for rocks to hide under…

      • Solomon Krupacek

        the fifth column in russia are the oligarchs. in your history always the rich and mighty russians were the traitors and reason of pity development.

        • Goran Grubić HardyVeles

          Beside the oligarchs, our problem, the problem of the Slavs, is that everyone has opinion and illusion of being smart. That is very core of our problem. I have impression that we Serbs took double of that poison so we have situation in pubs: every Serb love Putin but each of us have at least “two better ideas” than Putin. That is virtually self-induced 5th column within the people (should be 1st column) .

          • Solomon Krupacek

            :)

    • Tudor Miron

      Agree. I asked the author (if you remember this article was aleady posted here without video) where did he get this info because it contradicts (part of it) to what I hear locally (Russia)

  • Lambrecht Albert van Marion