Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Russia To Import 'Outdated' Arms: Minister

Russia will import arms rather than buy outdated Russian models, the defense minister said Oct. 4, slamming the failure of the domestic defense industry to meet modern standards.

In an interview with the weekly Russian Newsweek, Defence Minster Anatoly Serdyukov said Russia would look abroad as it plans to spend over $600 billion on modernizing the armed forces in the next years.

"Our weapons often do not meet the required standards," Serdyukov said.

"We are acting as consumers in this situation... Our producers want to issue outdated models, but we don't want to buy them."

Russia, the world's the second largest arms supplier, has been in talks with France to possibly buy its Mistral-class warships - in its first ever purchase of military hardware from a member of NATO.

However, the talks have stalled amid disputes over the technology transfer.

"There are the same issues with the Mistral. The Russian military-industrial complex does not meet our standards. Therefore, we are talking about buying imported ships," Serdyukov said.

He added that Russia was even interested in buying technology from its former Cold War foe and the world's top weapons producer the U.S. but did not elaborate further.

Russia last month announced plans to triple its defense spending to $613 billion over the next decade as part of a drive to modernize its Soviet-era army.

Last month, President Dmitry Medvedev witheringly described the state of Russia's weapons sector as "quite bad, quite difficult."

"The Russian military-industrial complex is not yet capable of reacting to an increase in orders or of financing an adequate level of output of high-quality technical production," he argued.

Only about 10 percent of Russia's armaments meet modern military standards, with much of the remaining hardware dating back to Soviet times, military expert Pavel Felgenhauer wrote in the Novaya Gazeta newspaper.

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