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Meeting on developing an orbital satellite group

November 29, 2013, Sochi

Vladimir Putin held a meeting on developing a military and dual-purpose orbital satellite group. Taking part in the meeting were Commander of the Air and Space Defence Forces Alexander Golovko, Head of Roscosmos Oleg Ostapenko, and the heads of a number of companies in the sector.

President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon colleagues.

This meeting brings to a close the series of meetings on developing Russia’s Armed Forces and supplying them with the latest arms and equipment. In other words, this is a detailed examination of all the issues concerning defence procurement orders through to 2020.

We have always said and repeated – and rightly so – that Russia’s modern Armed Forces must have advanced technology that meets today’s needs and tomorrow’s warfare methods.

It is absolutely clear that we cannot fulfil this task unless we reinforce our orbital satellite group. It is obvious that anything the Armed Forces do will be of little effect without support from space. This concerns above all communications, navigation, intelligence, and target-setting.

Only a balanced group of military and dual-purpose satellites can help us to achieve the results we need. We have already done the necessary groundwork for development in this area.

The orbital satellite group has increased noticeably over the recent years. Five more satellites were added this year under the state armament programme. It is planned to launch another five before the end of this year. Next year, we will put six new satellites into orbit and will also begin tests of the new Angara launch vehicle.

Let me say a few words separately about developing the orbital satellite group used by GLONASS – the Global Satellite Navigation System. The satellite cluster in orbit now has 28 satellites. This is four more than planned, which gives us an additional reserve of reliability and makes the whole system more solid.

The system was designed to ensure our national security and keep us independent in the satellite navigation sector. Furthermore, the GLONASS system makes an effective contribution to transport management, carrying out geographical surveys and cadastre work, and so on. It has a lot of importance for the economy too. We must continue doing everything necessary to keep enhancing the system.

At the same time, let’s be frank, there are a number of sectors in which we must make up lost ground and restore our technological capability. As you know, problems in the space sector and the sector’s operation have been discussed at the highest political level. These issues have been the subject of discussion at government level and among the general public.

Regrettably, discussions have centred not on new achievements, but on a whole series of mishaps and failures that have cost Russia a lot in financial terms, but even more in terms of morale. Even though they receive stable financing, a number of key projects are in a drifting state when it comes to deadlines, and this includes projects related to our defence capability.

We have here the commander of the Air and Space Defence Forces, the head of Roscosmos, and the general directors and designers from leading enterprises. Let’s start work and take a closer look at these issues, which are important for the sector, and which we must resolve.


I would like to report on the activities of the TsSKB-Progress Samara Space Centre, with regard to creating the means to engage in electro-optical reconnaissance. In line with the contracts we’ve signed, we’re developing…

Vladimir Putin: Mr Kirilin, please report on the general situation first, and afterwards we will talk in more detail.

Alexander Kirilin: Mr President, in general today the resources, as you rightly said, are in place: both intellectual and human resources. We’ve done some restructuring within the company, and now 30% of our employees are under 30, and in the design department they number 40%. This represents major potential, which allows us to look to the future with confidence, and implement both projects that have been contracted and the ones we are planning. For that reason all plans will certainly be implemented, all the groups you mentioned earlier will be established, and all tasks accomplished.

CEO of Berg Central Research Radiotechnical Institute Boris Lobanov: I would like to second Mr Kirilin in that since stable funding resources through a system of state guarantees have been established, we no longer feel a shortage of funds. We are doing a lot of work to attract recent graduates. For this departments within two higher education institutes – Moscow State Institute of Radioengineering, Electronics and Automation and Moscow Aviation Institute – are active in our enterprise. Young people are staying with us, and are happy to participate in our work.

Vladimir Putin: Do the institutes have offices at your plants?

Boris Lobanov: Yes, right at our plants. And young people remain with us because they start to work on our projects already by the third or fourth year of their studies. We involve them, and naturally we pay them extra for this work. But then they stay where they are because they are happy with the work. About 80% remain. The percentage of young personnel we have is 28%.

Vladimir Putin: Very good.

Boris Lobanov: We have a little less than TsSKB-Progress, but similar. This is due to the special measures we take to attract young people.

Vladimir Putin: How is the modernisation of production itself proceeding?

Alexander Kirilin: This year the process has been very rigorous; the government is investing about one billion rubles [over $30 million] in refitting, and as a company we are investing 500 million rubles [over $15 million] in reequipping the production and design teams.

Vladimir Putin: Are these figures for this year alone?

Alexander Kirilin: Yes, that will be invested in the course of one year.

Vladimir Putin: And how about you?

Boris Lobanov: The same goes for us: funds are being invested via the programme for developing the defence industry, in addition to programmes designed to launch the serial production of individual products. Funds are also being invested into improving production efficiency.

Vladimir Putin: Have you concluded all the contracts?

Boris Lobanov: Yes, all of them.

Alexander Kirilin: Yes.

Vladimir Putin: Good.


November 29, 2013, Sochi