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In The News
   
 
 

 

In The News

 

February 25 - Russia unveils huge rearmament drive

Article: Wars And Rumors Of Wars
 

The ambitious overhaul will cost the equivalent of 406 billion and comes at a time when other countries around the world such as Britain are cutting their defence spending to try to balance their national budgets. But with oil prices rising, Russia, the world's biggest energy exporter, feels confident it can afford to upgrade its dilapidated Soviet-era military and believes it urgently needs to do so in order to confirm its self-proclaimed status as a major world power.
Vladimir Popovkin, Russia's deputy defence minister, said the rearmament programme would be sweeping.  "The main task is the modernisation of the armed forces," he said. "Nineteen trillion roubles (406 billion) will be allocated for this. We are not interested in purchasing any foreign weapons or military equipment."
Deputy defence minister Vladimir Popovkin boasted that the shopping spree would reshape the Russian navy, giving it 35 new corvettes, 15 new frigates and 20 new submarines, eight of which would be nuclear-powered and armed. In total, he estimated, the navy, which is currently badly trailing the US navy in terms of modern ships, would take delivery of 100 new vessels before 2020.

Russia's air force, which performed inconsistently during the country's brief and victorious war against Georgia in 2008, will also be refitted and be given 600 new planes and 1,000 new helicopters before 2020.

The planes will mostly be modern Sukhoi 34 and 35 fighters, while the helicopters will include Mi-8 helicopter gunships and the bigger Mi-26 heavy lift cargo helicopters. The country's fearsome TU-160 strategic nuclear bombers, the same planes that have begun to probe the limits of the UK's airspace in recent years, will also be completely modernised.

Much of the enormous spend will be channelled into Russia's strategic missile forces with several hundred mobile S-400 and S-500 defence missile systems on order and a new intercontinental ballistic missile in development capable of carrying ten nuclear warheads.

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