Yury Borisov: Six Military Products That the West Has No Answer For

Translated by Ollie Richardson & Angelina Siard



Yury Borisov was appointed as the Deputy Prime Minister from the Deputy Minister of Defence position. He is very familiar with the mechanisms of interaction between the military-industrial complex and the Armed Forces, as well as problems with state defence orders and the state arms program. How does the Deputy Prime Minister see the development of the military-industrial complex and military-technical policy (MTP) in the conditions of Western sanctions?

He spoke about this with scientific-pedagogical staff and students of the Military Academy of the General Staff (MAGS). It is difficult to imagine a more attentive audience for the first public speech of the new curator of the national military-industrial complex. It is precisely in MAGS, the leading military-scientific institution of the country, that the importance of the MTP for defense is understood like nowhere else.

“The development strategy is aimed at reducing the existing types of armament, military, and special equipment by 6.5% and their modifications by 20.8%”

The main aim of the military-technical policy, according to Borisov, is to ensure that the defense and security tasks of the Russian Federation are solved. This is being achieved with the development of weapons systems, military-industrial and nuclear weapon systems, the implementation of State programs, and military-technical cooperation with foreign States.

The targets are defined by the national security strategy, military doctrine, the concept of building and developing the military organisation of the Russian Federation for the period up to 2030, the fundamentals of the MTP of the Russian Federation for the period up to 2025 and beyond, as well as the provision on military planning.

The contemporary international situation is reflected in the work, stipulating certain features, said Borisov. This is the creation of a self-sufficient group of troops in the Republic of Crimea, the strengthening of Russia’s military presence in the Arctic, taking into account the combat experience of using weapons in Syria, import substitution and the reduction of dependence on the supply of products (services) from NATO and the EU, and the creation of institutions of general designers of armaments, military, and special equipment and leaders of priority technological directions.

The Deputy Prime Minister paid special attention to the state of affairs with weapons and the prospects for their development. Currently, the proportion of modern samples of armament and military equipment is:

  • Strategic nuclear forces (SNF) – 79%;

  • Aerospace defenses (ASD) – 67%;

  • General purpose equipment (GPE) – 49.6%;

  • Comprehensive support facilities – 68.5%.

The solving of tasks facing the Armed Forces is unconditionally provided. According to presidential decree No. 603 (from May 7th, 2012), by 2020 the proportion of armament, military, and special equipment in the army should be 70%. The main amount of allocated funds is intended for this purpose, and the remaining funds will be used for the development of promising samples and the formation of scientific-technical groundwork.

The development potential

When solving the tasks of ensuring the military security the country, according to Borisov, is obliged to take into account the actions of the US – undermining global stability, aimed at creating and deploying strategic missile defense systems and implementing the concept of a prompt global strike. The priorities of the Russian MTP are determined by the impaired correlation of forces in the nuclear missile sphere.

In the strategic nuclear forces this is the maintenance and development of their structure and composition, which must ensure a guaranteed strategic nuclear deterrence. In 2018-2027, the main efforts will be focused on re-arming the strategic nuclear forces group with new and modernised samples, which should ensure the guaranteed delivery of a wide range of nuclear weapons towards targets at hypersonic flight speeds, an expanded capacity to overcome the missile defenses of the enemy, increased survivability of ballistic missile submarines, a wide range of controlled aircraft munitions, and the modernisation of on-board radio electronics of strategic bombers.

In the field of strategic non-nuclear weapons (SNNW) the main efforts are being focused on the possibility of using them in all forms by the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation in continental and marine theatres of military operations at any time of the year and day with the active countering of the enemy, high accuracy of target destruction across all ranges – including more than 4,000 kilometers, and a guaranteed overcoming of missile/air defense systems at hypersonic speeds.

The aim of developing aerospace defenses in the coming period is to provide strategic deterrence in the implementation of the concept of a enemy’s global strike, air and missile defense systems of the most important facilities, and maintaining the existing pace of research and development work. The priority directions in this domain are the deployment of advanced aerospace defense systems to defend the entire territory of Russia (including the Arctic and Crimea), the maximum use of the modernisation potential of existing samples, and building up reserves. The new facilities of aerospace defense systems will have increased efficiency due to unification and integration into a single loop of military control, the possibility of capacity-building due to the open architecture of air and missile defense system groups and the echelonment of anti-aircraft missile defense systems, influence over targets in the space zone, increased mobility, and all-day and all-weather application.

The development of space weapons (SW) provides for the restoration of the orbital group and independent activities in this sphere (launches from the territory of the Russian Federation in any military-political conditions). It is planned to complete the deployment of new-generation space means, creating promising environmentally friendly carrier rockets and upper stages, maintaining the necessary orbital groups and the technical readiness of the means of deployment, the transition to unified command and measurement and telemetric systems… SW will receive all-weather information support and the ability to manage the actions of the Russian Armed Forces with a guaranteed launch of all types of loads into orbit.

The Deputy Prime Minister named the front-line aviation system on-board the Su-57 multi-functional 5th generation aircraft, the MiG-31K interceptor with a hypersonic “Kinzhal”, the Mi-28NM all-weather combat helicopter, the Il-78-90A refueller, and the Mi-38 medium transport-landing helicopter as being among the promising samples of aircraft. This, as is expected, will allow our aircraft to be in parity with foreign analogues, and to surpass them in some parameters.

Borisov named the main directions of developing the marine component as the adoption of advanced samples of armament and military equipment, the maintenance of a given number in composition of the fleet, the completion of the construction of multi-functional ships – including the ice class, and equipping combat units with unified high-precision strike (including hypersonic) weapons and highly effective means of anti-torpedo, air, and missile defense. The equipping of fleets, operational commands, and areas of deployment with modern ships, advanced weapons systems, and means of support is planned until 2027.

“Instead of the Ukrainian D-136, Mi-26 helicopters will receive the domestic PD-12V, the prototype of which will appear in 2020”

The implementation of the planned activities will give new qualities and promising samples for the Land Forces, providing superiority over the best foreign analogues. The accommodation of “Armata” tank crews in an isolated armored capsule, an uninhabited automated combat bay, and the latest active defence system will allow to combat the armored vehicles of the enemy at long ranges with the least amount of losses. The concept of using an automated uninhabited combat bay in conjunction with various means of reconnaissance is also implemented in the “Koalitsiya-SV” self-propelled artillery gun, capable of opening “burst fire”. This greatly increases the likelihood of striking the enemy in counter-battery combat.

“Ratnik” military equipment combined with the high efficiency of close combat will ensure the high survivability of personnel.

The development of radio-electronic means of combat support (REMCS) involves the stable, operational, continuous, and covert control of troops in any situation, as well as effective combat against the information management systems of the enemy. This requires the gradual establishment, improvement, and equipping of intelligence control bodies, reconnaissance and military units, and sub-units of different types of armies with promising new technical means, the application of single interspecific basic systemic and software-hardware solutions in automated control systems and communication facilities, and the creation of radio-electronic means for air carriers of different types.

The increased capabilities of the advanced means of REMCS will ensure a reduction in the cycle of combat management for the actions of troops (forces) and weapons, effective information support for the use of the high-precision weapons of different basing, the recognition of new types of radio emissions and the suppression of the perspective radio-electronic means of the enemy, stable control on the basis of network-centric principles, and the possibility of influencing the headquarters of a probable enemy.

The development of general-purpose equipment involves the serial supply of modern samples (the vehicles “Tornado”, “Typhoon-K”” Typhoon-U”; transporter “Platforma-O”; flame-thrower system “TOS-2”; mine sapper “UR-77”; and others), multi-functional engineering systems and machines for radiochemical and biological exploration, and the introduction of robotic and remotely controlled samples for various purposes. This will ensure a high level of protection of personnel and armament and military equipment against small arms and shrapnel, the effective carrying out of operations in various climatic conditions, and increasing the efficiency of troops in any situation.

Giving life to groundwork

In 2018-2027, the troops should receive the latest models of weapons, superior to the best foreign analogues in terms of tactical and technical characteristics. Yury Borisov, in particular, named:

  • The stationary strategic missile system with liquid-propellant ICBM “Sarmat”;

  • Perspective front-line aviation system (PAK FA);

  • Highly-armoured T-14 tank on a unified combat platform “Armata”;

  • Mobile multi-channel long-range anti-aircraft missile system S-500;

  • Mobile shock anti-satellite system “Nudol”;

  • Ground-based mobile radio-electronic jamming system for satellite communications “Tirada-2S”.

The strategy for the development of weapons systems laid down in the 2027 state arms program, among other things, is aimed at reducing the existing types of armament, military, and special equipment and their modifications by an average of 6.5% and 20.8% respectively, which will increase seriality and will reduce production and operation costs through logistics and optimal service.

This equipment, noted Borisov, is already being supplied to the troops. But scientific and technical progress does not stand still, the enemy is developing promising weapons systems, including on new physical principles. In order to parry those threats in a timely manner in the 2027 state arms program, work is planned for the creation of scientific-technological groundwork.

Money for a new look

Now there is a lot of talk about the financing of priorities. Some people propose to drastically reduce the defense budget and, like in the 1990’s, to engage in conversion about military production. But should we step on an old rake?

Yury Borisov is well aware of those mistakes, and one of the priorities of the new state arms program takes into account increasing the efficiency of financing the defense industry. The Deputy Prime Minister outlined four priority directions for funding the development of experimental and prototype models. These are hypersonic means and military equipment, laser and ultra-high-frequency weapons, robotic systems for military use, and the creation of scientific-technical groundwork (STG) for fundamentally new products – including ammunition and armor defence, navigation and radar systems, and materials to reduce visibility.

Such a distribution of funds, Borisov is convinced, is due to the need for breakthroughs and the transition of weapons systems to an appearance orientated towards the emergence of fundamentally new models of promising and non-conventional weapons.

The Deputy Prime Minister explained that each horizon of planning for the development of armament, military, and special equipment requires advanced preparation of STG in key scientific areas and technologies. It is on this basis that fundamentally new types of equipment or subsequent generations of means of armed combat can be created. “We proceed from the fact that a transition to a new qualitative level of armament, military, and special equipment is possible only through the selection of those achievements that, on the one hand, meet the requirements of the military, and on the other hand, have a high level of readiness for the implementation in experimental work,” said Borisov.

This is due to the fact that the cost of every subsequent stage of the life cycle of armament, military, and special equipment increases by about an order of magnitude, and the earlier results of scientific-technical are accumulated, the less money is required to create a certain sample. Refusing to implement insufficiently effective developments in the early stages is always less costly.

Very often there are expectations of immediate results from the carried out scientific research, however after 5-10 years such an approach has a negative impact on the capabilities of the scientific-technological complex. Thus, the opening of research and development work with “immature” groundwork leads to an increase in the time of product creation and an increase in the cost of development and procurement by an average of 40% and 20%, respectively. And as a result there is an extra burden on the military budget of the country and long-term construction, as well as ultimately a loss of relevance.

Science is a part of the state arms program

The formation of scientific and technical groundwork for promising armament, military, and special equipment takes place in accordance with programs for the development of basic military technologies as a part of the state arms program. In order to achieve high research results and the effective expenditure of budget funds for the creation of the STR, the Ministry of Defense, together with the executive authorities, formed two lists: priority areas of fundamental, forecasting, and exploratory research; and basic and critical military technologies. The first document includes 11 scientific areas (optics, quantum electronics, geophysics, oceanology, atmospheric physics, etc.) with details on 56 sub-directions and 722 priority target studies. The second is the minimum necessary basis for the technological development of the entire weapons system and includes nine basic (destruction of manpower and armament, military, and special equipment; navigation and target designation; reconnaissance and highlighting the situation; etc.) and 48 critical and 330 military technologies.

Carrying out these studies and developments will ensure the development of the weapons system, will allow to widely introduce elements of intellectualization and the use of new physical principles in the creation of promising models, and will also help to reduce the weight and size characteristics and increase the mobility, manoeuvrability, and energy characteristics of armament, military, and special equipment.

The Deputy Prime Minister considers the work on a hypersonic controlled cruise missile with a direct-flow air-jet engine to be a positive example in this area. The formulation of experimental design work was preceded by research and development work, which determined the appearance and justified the technical-economic indicators of the design work for operational, tactical, and strategic purposes, and applied research on models of combat units and the creation of an experimental prototype-demonstrator of a direct-flow air-jet engine.

Strong sanctions

One of the problems of the chamber of commerce is sanctions: restriction of access to global financial markets, production technologies and components, the electronic component base, and foreign-made materials. “All of this can lead to a decrease in the dynamics of the development of weapons systems,” admitted the curator of the domestic defense industry.

Such threats can be neutralised by forcing import substitution, which will ensure the technological independence of the activities of the 2027 state arms program. As a positive example, Borisov noted the work to replace the most sensitive components of Ukrainian production, especially aircraft engines and gas turbine units for ships and vessels of the Navy. Thus, for the An-124-100 aircraft there is a sufficient repair fund for D-18T engines, and a test bay for its full technical evaluation was created. For the Be-200 work is underway to replace the Ukrainian D-436TP for the SaM-146 of Russian-French production. Instead of the D-136, Mi-26 helicopters will receive the domestic PD-12V (based on the PD-14), a prototype of which will appear in 2020. The question about the most massive helicopters of army aviation, where on most aircraft the domestic serial VK-2500 and TA-14 (TA-14-130-28) are being installed instead of the Ukrainian TV3-117 and AI-9V, was factually solved.

Work is continuing on the creation of main power facilities based on gas turbine units for ships and vessels. In particular, the testing of the М70FRU-2 engine for the small amphibious hovercraft project 12322 “Zubr” and the air-cushioned landing craft project 12061 “Murena” is completed.

Borisov admitted that a replacement for the reducing gear of the Ukrainian RО35 has not yet been found. The situation is similar for the ships of the projects 11356 (“Burevestnik”) and 20386 (“Derzky”) – for which the M90FRU gas turbine engine has already been created, but there is no reverse gear-combiner, the work on which has just begun.

Yury Borisov expressed confidence that the state program for the development of the defense industry until 2027 will allow defense companies to implement their planned activities and to form weapons systems taking into account the existing requirements. Russia’s military-technical policy is today aimed at creating an effective armaments system and ensuring the state’s security against external and internal threats. Ultimately, all of this prepares the conditions for a technological and scientific breakthrough, as well as the socio-economic development of Russia, the goals of which are formulated in presidential decree No. 204 from May 7th, 2018.

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