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Meeting with senior Defence Ministry officials and defence industry CEOs

May 13, 2019, Sochi

Vladimir Putin opened another series of meetings on the defence industry’s development.

President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good evening, colleagues,

Today, we are launching another series of meetings on the development of the Armed Forces and on providing the Army and the Navy with new weapons and equipment.

We have made serious headway in this direction over the past few years. For example, modern weapons now account for 82 percent of our strategic nuclear forces’ weaponry. Their share has reached 74 percent for the Aerospace Forces, over 60 percent for the Navy and almost 50 percent for the Ground Forces.

I would like to note that the potential of armed services and service branches allows our Armed Forces to accomplish all their tasks.

At the same time, we should heed changes in the global military and political situation that negatively affect regional and global security. First of all, this implies the withdrawal of the United States from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, as well as a number of other factors.

All this requires that we consistently develop advanced weapons systems based on cutting-edge technology. These weapons allow us to reliably guarantee the strategic balance of power today, and they will certainly retain this capability in the long-term. Therefore, they will assuredly shield Russia from hypothetical threats.

As usual, we will hear reports from commanders-in-chief and commanders of services and branches of the Armed Forces, and also discuss the delivery of advanced weapons and military equipment to army units. In addition to this, beginning this year, as I have already informed some of our colleagues, I propose changing the format of these biannual meetings. The entire series of meetings will now be devoted to a specific service or branch of the Armed Forces.

Ahead of these working meetings, we, together with Defence Ministry leadership, will visit the corresponding military quarters and firing ranges as well as defence industry enterprises manufacturing military products for the services and branches in question. I believe that this would help us get a deeper insight into matters related to military supplies to specific branches and services of the Army and the Navy. These efforts will also be related to producing the needed military hardware and introducing it into service, personnel training and preparing the relevant infrastructure so that this hardware does not stand idle but is put to efficient use and benefits from maintenance and storage conditions that the advanced and high-technology products require.

As you know, we visited the Gorbunov Kazan Aviation Plant today, where the legendary strategic bomber Tu-160 and other long-range and strategic aviation systems are assembled and modernised. All in all, I think that we can be satisfied with how the enterprise is developing in terms of its equipment and personnel training, and most importantly in terms of the products it makes. I proceed from the premise that we will never let manufacturers of this kind fall apart and will prevent the tragedies that took place in the mid-1990s.

During the current series of meetings, we will focus on the state of the Aerospace Forces and their development prospects. The Aerospace Forces play a highly significant role in military operations and reliably control air space and outer space, and will retain this role in the future. I am sure that you also realise this, and that you proceed from this assumption. The significance of this component will continue to increase. Therefore, our task is to actively streamline the Aerospace Forces’ combat capability and to improve combat training standards.

On April 2, 2019, I approved the Concept for Developing the Russian Federation’s Aerospace Defence until 2030. The document heeds changes in the military political situation, the improvement of aerospace weapons systems and the transformation of opinions regarding their use.

I would like to note the following key aspects.

First of all, a study of contemporary military conflicts shows that the creation of advanced air defence systems is a high-priority aspect of the Aerospace Forces’ development.

Russian air defence systems have always been renowned for their efficiency and reliability. They fully confirmed their impressive specifications during real-life combat operations in Syria. Therefore it is necessary to consistently equip the Aerospace Forces with the most advanced air defence systems, including the long-range S-400 and the shorter-range Pantsir-S.

In 2018, military units received four S-400 regiments with long-range guided surface-to-air missiles and three Pantsir-S battalions under state defence contracts. This work must also continue throughout 2019.

I would also like to note that state tests of the up-to-date S-350 Vityaz air defence system were completed in March 2019. The system has enhanced firepower and additional missiles. This is of paramount importance during the hypothetical all-out use of highly accurate smart strike weapons. Today I would like to ask you to report on the results of this work, as well as on matters requiring special attention on our part.

The scientific and production potential of the Russian defence industry and the potential of our labour collectives, the personnel potential, should ensure the planned rates of rearmament so that forces get advanced equipment capable of effectively resisting the potential adversary’s air attack weapons, including hypersonic weapons.

We know that for the time being no one in the world except us, except Russia, has weapons of this kind. But we are also well aware that the leading countries will sooner or later acquire such weapons. As far as we are concerned, they should gain them later than sooner. What does this “later” mean? This means that we must provide ourselves with the means of protection against these types of weapons earlier than the armies I have mentioned put hypersonic weapons on alert duty.

And this will happen if we work according to plan and with the quality that has been achieved to date. Please pay attention to this. We know and the specialists know which systems I am talking about and what I have in mind. This requires a special focus and a highly professional approach both in planning and preparing for this work. But it must be done and done within the timeframe we have.

A key task, among other things, is raising the level of airspace surveillance. In December 2018, the Konteiner over-the-horizon detection radar was put on experimental alert duty. It makes it possible to monitor the air situation over most of Western Europe and the Middle East.

Please mention in your reports the plans for further development of Aerospace Forces’ weapons designed to ward off potential air and space threats.

Let us get down to work.


May 13, 2019, Sochi