Russia’s State Armaments Program For 2018-2025

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Russia's State Armaments Program For 2018-2025

© Sputnik/ Natalia Seliverstova

Written by J.Hawk exclusively for SouthFront

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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  • chris chuba

    How long is a GPV cycle, is it 1 yr bringing this one to 2018?
    No mention of hypersonic weapons yet but if the GPV cycle is only through 2018 then that could explain that.

    • Jesus

      From what I read is seven years.

      • Sean Glennie

        I think that 2018 is counted, so technically the 2018-2025 armament program is set to conclude by late 2025. The Russian government says that planned procurements for 2014, 2015, and 2016 were met nearly 100%. Currently the 2011-2020 armament program is set to be completed by late 2020. Although the share of new and modernized weaponry and equipment will be around 70% more or less across the Russian armed forces.

        Russians are more old fashioned and use the word Aрмия (Armiya/Army) interchangeably with the whole of the Russian military, which is why Western media have at times been mistaken that the ground forces branch is consolidating more control over the other branches, falsely claiming that jet aircraft and S-400s are being subordinated to army formations. This is likely not intentional, but I cannot confirm that might be 100% unintentional.

    • Solomon Krupacek

      7 yars in tibet, 8 years in GVP

  • Peter Magnus

    As this plan does not take into account the near collapse of the Sovi…uh…Russian ecconomy, its highly unlikely this plan will be anything near completed. Not to mention Putin have finally managed to scare the europeans, forcing them to actually keep themsleves with military forces, unlike the last 20 years, further decreasing the relevance of the russian military as a force in being.

    • Hrky75

      Near collapse of Russian economy??? Checked the numbers lately? GDP 11th in the World at 1,5 trillion $, 5% inflation, unemployment at 5,4% – all with 3 year’s worth of sanctions – if this is collapse how does economic success looks like?

      • Solomon Krupacek

        good source, please

        • MikeH

          Use the PPP measures as it is more accurate than comparing pure GDP. The US economy is between 5 and 10T in real GDP when financials are removed.

          Russia is very close to Germany in the PPP measures and will overtake them again pretty soon.

          http://www.unz.com/akarlin/china-and-russia-overtake/

          • Gary Sellars

            Agreed – real world physical output of the Russian economy is approx on a par with Germany.

            US economic output is exagerated by dodgy financial shemanigans and money printing.

          • lifeattheendofempire

            thats about the value of US trade deficit and current account deficit, 10 T

      • Pavel Pavlovich

        Bullcrap, Russian economy IS GOING DOWN unless the people unite and become truly independant in all matters.
        On the other hand, the military as is has reached a 25 year high.

        • Hrky75

          Well it seems that neither the IMF nor the CIA agree with you…

        • lifeattheendofempire

          What does going down mean? Can you quantify that other than your wet dream, it has slowed in GDP terms because of western sanctions, but its import substitutions are making the sanctions irrelevant, Russia is too vast to isolate economically, how can you stop it trading with the East, which every western expert will tell you is the future.

          Which people do you want to unite exactly? Russians seem overwhelmingly supportive of their leader? I would not say that spending on the military is anything near the 80s, where spending on military was one third of GDP.

    • AndresMX

      The europeans “scared” the russians first, when they joined as sheep into NATO. They had absolutely no need to do that during times when Russia was seen as a declining power. Anyway, anyone that reviews a little of history will notice that europeans cannot live in peace for long periods of time.

      • Gary Sellars

        Eastern Eurotrash joined NATO becuase their new US masters DEMANDED THAT THEY DO SO, and the new political elite did as they were ordered as obedience is a prerequisite to maintaining their positions and priviledge.

    • Jesus

      How is NATO “arming” or shall we say, deploying some multi national battalions near Russian borders decrease the relevance of the Russian military?
      As far as your understanding of the Russian economy and its resilience, in view of all sanctions, Russia is self sufficient and less dependent on the G7 dangling carrot.

      • Peter Magnus

        As NATO have been disarming non-stop from ca. 1990 until the present untpleasantness in the Ukraine, and with large defence projects first stating to go ahead today it does not take a genius to see how the balance of power, currently heavily in Russian favor in Eastern europe could shift. The German state have access to threetimes the ammount the Russian state can draw upon, increasing this is also harder for Russia with its systemic corruption and nepotism inate with the Putin regime.

        As Such Germany can massively outspend Russia in the short term and use 1/3 more in the long term. But that is a worst case scenario, what will happen first is an increase in the German military budget by almost twice its current size. And as whitepapers have consitently showed over the past 70 years in every society open about their defence spending every 10% increase in the military budget over the acceptable minimum delivers an increase in the military potential of 100%. As such the german Army facing off against Putin in 5 years time will be many times as powerful as the current force. This implemented across the continent will of course reduce the geopolitical power of the russian army. Where it today can win easy and fast victories against NATO countries in a limited conflict, this ability might have evaporated by the middle of the next decade.

        In short, Russia is italy playing the role of the USA….

        • Jesus

          Germany agreed to increase its budget to 2% of GDP, forget your hypothetical assumption that Germany can outspend Russia in the short and long term; it is not going to happen within the framework of the EU. Germany has been enjoying the peace dividend for over two decades, I do not see that changing much.

          In case of open conflict Germany and NATO are ill suited to continue a protracted war of attrition against the Russians, as WW2 has shown us.
          As far as the Italy anology, get your facts straight, Russia with a much smaller defense budget is outperforming US armament developments and procurements.
          Russia is significantly ahead in developing hypersonic weapons, air defenses, new armor, heavy ICBMs, EW.
          This lead is not going to dissipate if US and Germany increase their defense budgets, it is not about money, it is about the brain power and moral fiber of that society.

        • goingbrokes

          Oh yeah? And the world will applaud Germany’s massive military spending yet again…

        • Tudor Miron

          Russia is Italy playing the role of USA? And what is the role of USA exactly?

          I wonder why I often see people of Norway disliking Russia – not as much as Poles but…. I wander if those are grand kids of those fighting in the ranks of Hitler’s SS divisions “Viking”, “Norldland” and in “Norway” legion? Heared of those?
          “As NATO has been disarming non stop ca. 1990” (c)

          – is that what you are fed with by MSM or is it something that you try to make us believe? How about looking at f$$king map? NATO territory in 1990 and 2017, do you see any difference? Is it Russia bringing it’s territory towards NATO or is it the other way around? NATO was expanding from 1990 and thats a hard fact. Now NATO is right on our boarder.

          “it does not take a genius to see how the balance of power, currently heavily in Russian favor in Eastern europe could shift. The German state have access to threetimes the ammount the Russian state can draw upon, increasing this is also harder for Russia with its systemic corruption and nepotism inate with the Putin regime.

          As Such Germany can massively outspend Russia in the short term and use 1/3 more in the long term.” (c)

          It seems that you guys never learn :) History is something to look at in order to avoid common and costly mistakes.

          In 1941 it was clear to Hitler that he has all the means to easily and rapidly occupy Russia. He had resources of most of Europe and Russia seemed much less advanced than the Western military (yes that was the same story those days as it is now). Hitler learned the hard way.
          Peter, defending Motherland is not about spending. I can understand why you can not comprehand it. After all it took Germany about a month to occupy your country and sinse than it had never been truely independent. I don’t blame you but I do feel your pain.

        • lifeattheendofempire

          Norway is playing the part of Norway, an insignificant nation of pickled fish eating cowards. Have you matched Germany’s NATO spending commitments? Only Estonia has to my knowledge?

          There is no chance that Germany can gain the experience, or match the sheer numbers of armoured vehicles, or cruise and ballistic missiles which would rain down on it before it could exercise any of its over priced high tech hardware. Russian EC technology is also superior to anything the Germans have, who basically depend on the US to be its air force, as does the whole of NATO including Norway.

          Russia is only interested in its borders, if we don’t p*ss on them they wont fk with us, but that agreement made way back in 1990 has been ignored and any doctrine of strategy, putting aside politics, demands that they respond, and they have transformed their army in less than a decade, while norway can probably field 4 jets in Syria on a good day.

          • Peter Magnus

            No NATO country except the US have sunk significant resources into their armed forces these last 25 odd years. This means the military potential of the European NATO members have been left unexploited. What we are seeing today is a slow realization among the european elite that Russian imperialism can only be contained by force or the threat of force, the result of this is the reestablishment of the european armed forces wich were all dusbanded totally by the earle 2000s. As Germanys industrial output is the second largest in the world and her tech-industry is among the best, it makes the most sense to use her as an example. She would today have no problem outbuilding Rusdia 100 to 1 in any known or unknown arena. As Germany do not have an army to speak of today, it will be interesting to see what a doubling of budgets will achive. From common knowledge Germany will from that budget increase get an armed forces vastly superior to the Bundeswehr of today, a magnitude of 40 would not be too high. And as Russia benefits from this european power vaccum, it only stands to readon she will be severely weakened by a european normalization of military capacity. Make no mistake, europe is wastly stronger than the corrupt fascist regime in moscow.

    • Gary Sellars

      Near collapse of the Russian economy? Are you joking?

      Fucking idiot…

      • Tudor Miron

        “Russian economy is in shatters”(c) Obama :) Do those guys practice “positive thinking” or what?

    • lifeattheendofempire

      You dick hea… uh irrelevant middle aged cold warrior, do you even know what century it is? The plan is well on track and since a large part of the deficiencies have been addressed, there is no need to sustain high levels of spending as the US does, since it can print its worthless currency at will. What is the Norwegian navy worth, other than target practice for 62 russian submarines? You are scared, its on your doorstep and if you blink you know that in the event of war, you will be raped before NATO can do anything to respond.

      • Peter Magnus

        I think you might be right about the Current state of the Norwegian armed forces, as they like all other western european armed forces bar Uk/France/Finland have been disbanded. But with thr return of military spending to Europe the adversary Rusdia would have to face will grow by at least a factor of 2 for each 10% increase in nato budgets, quite significant.

  • Hrky75

    Russia is opting for the upgrade of it’s Soviet era land equipment and investing in new AA/AD land base systems and 4++ planes. Also it continues to professionalize the force and takes much more care about individual soldiers quality of life and safety – first time in Russian history if I may add. With minimum expenses Russian army will became a force that’ll be able to defend against aby threat from it’s neighbors and be able to suppress any jihadi type insurgency and help it’s allies. But this force will not be capable to conduct any anti-NATO aggression western sources keep trumpeting about – and it obviously doesn’t plan to.

    • Nigel Maund

      Good commentary! Russia is following a sensible strategy.

  • Jesus

    Modernizing Soviet era land equipment takes you only so far, how are the manufacturers of the Armata platform going to stay viable if they only produce 20-30 tanks a year? This seems to be the similar practice when T-90 was procured at similar levels for a number of years.
    How can a remodernized BMP2 IFV compare to a T-15 IFV?
    Who cares if the rearmament program scares the daylights out of NATO?
    The finance minister is not responsible for the defense of the country, forget his bean counting mind set.

    • Gary Sellars

      UralVagonZavod is a state enterprise and will have zero issues “staying viable”. Russian MIC exists only to serve the states defense needs. They are not really profit making ventures, as any profit they make would only be due to excessive charges against the state, and the profit would return to the state, so its zero sum. UVZ executives probably acheive KPIs based on meeting state weapons requirements and successful test results, not simply profit and stock value as is the benchmark in the West.

      “How can a remodernized BMP2 IFV compare to a T-15 IFV?”

      It can’t, but so what? The T-15 is still undergoing state tests, and BMP-2 upgrades are cheap and enhance warfighting capabilities in large scale scenarios. Once T-15 are available, modern BMPs can become 2nd echelon or reserve units.

      • Jesus

        From what I understand it is a political battle between the finance and defense minister in negotiating a defense budget. In a large scale scenario ( which I do not see) large numbers of remodernizd T72B3 and the BMP could have a shock value, however they will sustain heavy casualties, similar to WW2 scenario on the eastern front.

        Since the introduction of new platforms are essential to national security, I do not understand why testing of the Armata platform takes so long, following a western curve of bringing a new platform to full production.

  • SnowCatzor

    I really wish Russia would stop wasting time with so many legacy upgrades, it’s ok to a degree but they keep pushing the deployment-date of everything back a few years and then offering only upgrades of (sometimes) obsolete platforms instead. The BMP series is garbage frankly, they should be phased-out not increased in number.

    T-72B3 is ok, but I question the ‘immediate’ need for more of them with the Armata being only a few years away. Also why not just build more T-90M & T-90MS as a stop-gap instead?

    Having said that, the new super-carrier concept would be an unnecessary waste and will never be built (fortunately). Russia has land & air access to the entire Eurasian continent (more or less) and doesn’t really ‘need’ carriers in my opinion. Carriers are a luxury, not a necessity. Even in Syria, they weren’t necessary, just a training exercise.

    • Arthur Smith

      We are not actually going to antagonize anyone, except maybe a few scares in the Arctic =D
      Always had enough to withstand conventional assault and noone can survive thermonuclear war. But we don’t have any need for cutting-edge military beyond persuasive bluff, since our best hope is pushing for cultural/diplomatic/scientific “victory”. What you see with GPV is russian bluff slipping a little, but in time it takes to figure out whether we bluffed or double-bluffed we will already cash in.

      P.S. Yeah, carriers are inefficient, it’s not hard to figure out, but there could be some benefits even if this one was an experiment – like if we can find some idiots to commission a few from us or maybe we just need to give our electronics/ingeneering a stretch.

    • lifeattheendofempire

      A large number of cruise and ballistic missile surface vessels and subs are a better option that a vanity project like a massive carrier, which will just attract everything in the US arsenal. You dont outspend the biggest military in the world, you look for weaknesses in their tech and exploit. a swarm of missile corvettes would easily sink carriers designed for the cold war, provided they stay in range of coastal and air defences. Nobody can say that the Russian army has global force projection capabilities, but it can, and should, as any nation should, defend its back yard.

      the US does not recognise any backyard except the entire planet, over which it claims a monopoly of force

  • Pavel Pavlovich

    It is simple: if the Russian people decide to get rid of their position as colony respective to the Angloamerican Empire, the budget for military affairs – and all others – will surge, double, triple quadruple. This GVP is a joke.

  • Tudor Miron

    Mr. J Howk – may we ask for some links to your sources so we can double check your numbers? Some (not many) pieces of your article seem off to what I know them to be so I would like to expand my view and learn something new.

  • Sean Glennie

    I think the Armata and other newer platforms (Kurganets & Bumerang) will be procured at a higher rate than only 20-30 per year. Southfront either forgot to add in two additional zeroes, or they are taking into consideration the small batches of 20-70+ or so vehicles procured by the Russian MoD for field testing.

    • Ilies Bekhtaoui

      It s the rate if this year . If the russian economie get back in track the Will be able to spent more on the army . For exemple the russian china gas deal is about 500 billion dollars imagine the huge boist to the economie ans its going ahead of time . We don t knox what may happen in the future but russia can only do better

  • Alex

    Hurry up then, we have a wat to fight, just expel or jail those rats that have a fortune hidden in the west and are threatening the development of the country…