The top commander of Russia’s ground forces claimed that domestically produced weapons are inferior to those used by Chinese and NATO troops.
General Colonel Aleksandr Postnikov expressed his opinion on March 15 during a defense and security meeting.
“Take Russia’s armored force, its artillery or small arms – they all fail to comply with modern NATO and even Japan’s arms,” Postnikov said.
As an example, he cited the new Russian battle tank T-90, which has been widely marketed all over the world.
“This tank is nothing more than a 17th modification of the Soviet T-72,” Postnikov declared. “And it costs a whopping $4 million per unit to manufacture! We could have bought three German ‘Leopards’ for the same amount of money.”
The reproach comes alongside the government’s attempts to improve the country’s weaponry. Over $650 billion is to be spent in the next nine years on modernizing Russia’s military, with plans to buy 1,000 new helicopters, 600 aircraft and 100 ships.
With modern arms now comprising only 12 percent of Russian weaponry, the country’s military hopes to increase the figure to 70 percent by 2020.
As a result, the government has evidently allocated more money for purchasing arms than for research and development in the area.
At the same time, military experts note that Russia registered a record $10 billion in profit from arms exports last year.
Russian military officers say they are proud of the T-90 tank. As tests in the Middle East showed, the T-90 is indeed a die-hard. It turned out to be much tougher than its foreign colleagues: in 10 days, it drove 1,300 kilometers through the harshest conditions and did not have a single oil leak at the end. In addition, even when its maximum shooting range was exceeded by three kilometers, the tank hit 60 percent of its targets.
Neither German Leopards, nor French Leclerc, nor US Abrams tanks managed to pass such tests, Russian military experts say.
At the same time, they agree that in some terms, the T-90 is outdated. For example, it will not be able to hit brand-new third-generation rockets and to resist some kinds of armor-piercing shots. Most importantly, the T-90’s top is too vulnerable for today’s attacks.
The military also say that the US and China spend up to 10 times more on defense than Russia.
“The Russian army is undergoing significant modernization,” security expert Igor Khokhlov told RT. “The military challenges that Russia faces have changed – it means Russia needs a totally different kind of army compared to what it had in the Soviet Union. You can’t have all the equipment perfectly updated at once – every year something changes.”