MOSCOW --- The defense budget of the Russian Federation had reached USD54 billion, the country`s Defense Minister, General of the Army Sergei Shoigu said during a ‘government hour’ at the State Duma on February 22.
He mentioned that the United States spent USD635 billion on defense, while China allocated USD190 billion to this end. "These figures are disparate. The United Kingdom spends USD443,000 per servicemen, the United States - USD416,000, Japan - USD197,000, while we spend USD54,000," the Minister pointed out. However, the combat capabilities of Russia`s Armed Forces had grown by 14% last year at the established level of financing, the Minister emphasized.
The Ministry of Defense was planning to finish the formation of four new divisions including one to protect the Kuril Islands in 2017. "We hope that the stationing of three divisions along the Western borders [of Russia] and in south-west [of Russia] will be finished this year. The active work to protect the Kuril Islands is being done. A division is to be stationed there; we are to finish [its stationing] this year," Shoigu said.
The troops of information operations had been established within Russia`s Armed Forces, Shoigu pointed out. "During this time, the troops of information operations have been established. It is more effective and stronger than all that we previously created in so-called counter-propaganda area," he said. "Propaganda should be smart, masterly, and effective", the Minister added.
Shoigu said that the level of the Land Forces` equipping with modern weapons had reached 42%. "Nine units including four motorized rifle and one tank divisions were established within the Land Forces during the last year. Five units and 17 military detachments were re-equipped owing to the delivery of 2,930 new and upgraded systems," the official pointed out.
The share of modern weapons in service with the Aerospace Forces (VKS) was increased to 66%, according to the Minister. "The Aerospace Forces received 139 modern aircraft last year. Four surface-to-air missile regiments were re-equipped with S-400 Triumf air defense systems," Shoigu said.
According to him, three new Voronezh radar stations of high prefabrication in Orsk, Barnaul, and Eniseysk, respectively, successfully passed state trials last year. Three functional radar stations (in Baranovichi, Murmansk, and Pechora) were refined with the usage of high prefabrication technologies. Therefore, a complete radar field of missile warning system in all strategic aerospace areas and on all ballistic missiles flight trajectories had been created around the perimeter of Russia`s borders, Shoigu emphasized.
He added that 38 units of unmanned aviation had been established within the Armed Forces. Over 600 unmanned aerial systems with 2,000 unmanned aerial vehicles were in service, according to the Minister.
The share of modern systems in service with the Navy (VMF) had reached 47%, Shoigu said. "Last year, the Navy received 24 ships and support vessels, including two multirole submarines," he pointed out.
The level of the Airborne troops` (VDV) equipping with modern systems was increased to 47%, according to the Minister. "Three reconnaissance battalions and six tank companies, as well as electronic warfare and unmanned aviation companies in twos were established within the Airborne Forces. The troops received 188 new and upgraded armoured combat vehicles," Shoigu said.
The total level of the Armed Forces` instant readiness units` equipping with modern weapons and platforms had reached 58.3%, while the equipment integrity - 94%, the Minister concluded.
According to Shoigu, the strategic nuclear forces are being maintained at the level that allows the reliable accomplishing of nuclear deterrence missions. "99% of launchers in service with the Strategic Missile Forces (RVSN) are operationally ready including over 96% instantly ready to be launched immediately," Shoigu said.
The aviation strategic nuclear forces received four upgraded aircraft, namely two Tu-160 and two Tu-95MS, last year, while the naval strategic nuclear forces of the Pacific Navy had been reinforced with the ‘Vladimir Monomakh’ missile-carrying strategic submarine. The Armed Forces took the delivery of 41 new ballistic missiles. As a result, the nuclear triad had reached the 60-percent level of equipping with modern weapons, Shoigu pointed out.
The Minister also defined a number of tasks to be solved in future:
-- to put three missile regiments armed with modern missile systems on combat duty in the Strategic Missile Forces,
-- to get into line five upgraded aviation systems, including one Tu-160 and four Tu-95MS,
-- to deliver two brigade sets of Iskander-M missile systems to the Land Forces and
-- to rearm three air defense batteries with Tor-M2 surface-to-air missile systems,
-- to deliver 905 modern tanks and armoured combat vehicles,
-- to accept 170 new and upgraded aircraft in service with the Aerospace Forces and the Naval Aviation,
-- to rearm four surface-to-air missile regiments with S-400 air defense systems,
-- to accept in service three radar stations of high prefabrication in Eniseysk, Orsk, and Barnaul and to put them on combat duty,
-- to launch the second space vehicle of the Unified space system,
-- to accept eight surface ships and nine combat boats in service with the Navy,
-- to deliver four Bal and Bastion missile systems to the coastal defense troops.
Thus, Russia`s Armed Forces are continuing the implementation of modernization programs, despite harsh economic conditions. According to Shoigu, the gained rates will allow accomplishing of the task set by Russia`s President, Vladimir Putin - to reach the 70% level of the Armed Forces` equipping with modern systems by end-2020.