‘Russia urgently needs to modernize armed forces’

October 2nd, 2008 - 5:52 pm ICT by IANS  

Moscow, Oct 2 (RIA Novosti) Russia’s armed forces urgently need new weaponry to replace the obsolete armament inherited from the Soviet regime, the deputy defence minister for armaments has said. “We have completely exhausted the Soviet arsenals and military equipment,” Col. Gen. Vladimir Popovkin said in an interview published Thursday in the Red Star military daily.

The current 2007-2015 state armament programme envisages the development of sophisticated new weaponry by 2011.

“This includes weapons for the strategic nuclear triad and conventional forces - aircraft, warships, space and air defence, communications, electronics - the whole range of weaponry,” the general said.

He added that the recent military conflict with Georgia clearly showed that Russia had to speed up the rearmament of its armed forces and revise its approach to the future development of its defence capability.

“We originally planned to start the modernization of Russia’s military arsenals in 2011-2012, but the circumstances force us to accelerate this process, so that our armed forces are equipped with modern weaponry as soon as possible,” Popovkin said.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said last week that Russia would make the modernization of its nuclear deterrent and armed forces a priority in the decade up to 2020.

“We must ensure air superiority, precision strikes at land and sea targets, and timely deployment of troops,” Medvedev said. “We are planning to launch large-scale production of warships, primarily, nuclear submarines with cruise missiles, and multi-purpose attack submarines.”

Russia, with a current defence budget of $40 billion, is reportedly planning to increase its spending on defence by 50 percent in the next three years.

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