1 march, 2010 22:14  

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin visits the Sukhoi Corporation and chairs a meeting on the defence sector


“Our prime objective is to boost their (defence plants’) effectiveness, and to formulate and realise plans for their technical upgrade, output of competitive products, and increased energy efficiency and labour productivity”.

Vladimir Putin At a meeting on the defence sector

Opening remarks by Vladimir Putin:

Good afternoon, colleagues. We are continuing our series of conferences on the development of Russia's defence industry complex.

Symbolically, we have gathered today at one of our cutting-edge enterprises: the Sukhoi Corporation. We inspected the fifth-generation aircraft and the work in progress on it. I would like once again to congratulate the developers, engineers, workers and airmen who made the plane airworthy. It has already done three test flights.

But before the aircraft can go into mass production, it has to complete more than two thousand flights: that is a lot of work. A great deal of work. But, judging by how it is proceeding, and the way it is being organised, there is no reason to doubt that we will complete the programme, and do so within the specified timeframe.

Our armed forces and our air force will take delivery of this modern and unmatched plane on time.

But before continuing through the agenda, I would like to inform you of a decision taken concerning an issue we have discussed repeatedly. I am referring to a reduction in the number of strategic companies, in what we call federally owned strategic companies.

The government has drafted a presidential decree on this issue. Something like 240 joint stock companies and unitary enterprises will be axed from among those strategic enterprises. I hope we will decide their future quickly by attracting investment and investors, including them in other holdings or transferring ownership of them to the the constituent entities of the Russian Federation.

Following the proposed cuts, the strategic list will still contain as many as 200 enterprises, including all the fundamental corporations within the defence industry and largest infrastructure companies. These are the state's key assets.

Our prime objectives are to boost their efficiency, to formulate and realise plans for their technological upgrade, to ensure their products are competitive and to increase their energy efficiency and labour productivity.

Today, we will discuss all these issues by taking the enterprises producing military aviation and air defence equipment as examples.

I will say straightaway that we are in strong positions in those areas, have good technological reserves, and enjoy a strong competitive edge, including our good reputation, which is a highly prized asset. It is a reputation built up over many, many years.

Our warplanes and air defence systems are in steady demand on the global defence market. Suffice it to say that in 2009 they accounted for over 60% of all Russian arms exports. To be more exact, 51% was military equipment; and 12%, air defence equipment and systems.

Fundamental changes are taking place in terms of our armed forces' equipment. During 2008-2009, long-term contracts were concluded for the supply of 130 warplanes. In the current year 2010, 27 aircraft, more than 50 helicopters and five battalions of S-400 surface-to-air missile systems will be purchased by the army.

As you see, we are talking about high-volume supplies. Altogether, as laid down in the state armaments programme for the next 10 years, troops are to take delivery of over 1,500 new fixed- and rotary-wing aircraft and something like 200 surface-to-air missile systems.

As a result, no less than 80% of the air force's aviation equipment will be up-to-date and no less than 75% of its air defence systems will be new, which means a several-fold rise in our armed forces' combat capabilities.

I am confident that Russia's aircraft industry and the defence sector in general will be able to meet the targets set, be they technological, personnel related or organisational. As I have said before, the fifth generation fighter's recent successful flights are proof of this.

We have already discussed the work in progress on it and I hope this pace will be maintained.

Of course, we will not restrict ourselves to one model alone. After the fifth-generation fighter, we should consider and begin work on our future strategic aviation programme, or, our new strategic missile carrier aircraft.

Regarding air defence, we will develop a single system combining anti-aircraft and anti-missile capabilities. It was to meet such wide-ranging goals that we extensively restructured the whole sector and established large holdings such as the United Aircraft Corporation, Oboronprom, Almaz Antei and Tactical Missile Weapons.

I may add that during the crisis the industry received unprecedented state aid amounting to more than 93 billion roubles.

Specifically, the United Spacecraft Corporation was allocated 34.6 billion roubles; MiG 30 billion roubles, Oboronprom 11 billion roubles, engine-building companies over 10 billion roubles, Almaz Antei Air Defence Corporation 5.4 billion roubles, and Sukhoi Company was allocated 3.2 billion roubles.

In addition, it was decided that 45.5 billion roubles should be provided in state guarantees for loans.

As a result, military aviation production in 2009, rather than falling as the economy and industry in general did, increased by 7%.

Here are the issues I would like you to focus on today.

First is sticking to the schedule both in design and experimental work and in quantity deliveries of finished products.

Observing the prices specified in the contracts is just as much of a requirement. State funds should be spent with utmost efficiency. Defence Ministry spokesmen flag this up at all our meetings.

Second, the unification of systems currently used remains a pressing task. At the same time, further efforts should be made to improve their combat performance.

Third. Careful attention must be paid to the development and mass production of aircraft engines, and to improving the quality of structural materials and electronic chips.

Today we saw how all this is used in the fifth-generation aircraft, how it is used extensively and widely. Tests of new materials are going well; we have just returned from one of the test facilities. I hope this will be the case everywhere.

Any delays (and we do see some in certain sectors and sectors) should be overcome, and overcome as soon as possible.

Now let us move on to the discussion.