Visits within Russia

18 december, 2009 16:09

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin held a meeting on providing the Navy with new weapons and military hardware at the Admiralty Shipyards

Vladimir Putin's opening address:

Good afternoon,

We continue a series of meetings on the development of the Russian defence industry. In principle, all of these meetings pursue the same goal - to understand what else has to be done to upgrade plants and adjust the purchase schedule for arms and military hardware in order to create a new image for the Russian Armed Forces.

We often say that the Russian Armed Forces must become more compact, mobile and combat-effective and that the proportion of modern hardware in the equipment mix should be brought to 70% by 2020. This fully applies to the Navy, whose provision with new equipment we will discuss today.

Our civilian ship-building industry faces many problems but it is now producing modern ships and marine technology which conform to world standards. One example is the ice-class twin-control tanker with a deadweight of 70,000 tons, which was launched today. It will move through the ice using an Azipod diesel-electric power plant and can operate in the most adverse conditions of the Arctic.

In other words, we are capable of resolving any complicated task using state of the art technology. Now we must make similar breakthroughs in military shipbuilding. It is absolutely necessary to develop a long-term programme as soon as possible. It should meet the Navy's requirements and include current objectives based on 30-year forecasts. This is our minimum programme.

It goes without saying that we should consider our realistic funding potential. This means that we should set clear priorities. We should not limit ourselves to designing or even launching a ship. We must plan in advance all stages of its life cycle: current uses, maintenance and even eventual reclamation.

The Unified Shipbuilding Corporation (USC), our main producer of marine equipment, must develop a consistent technological chain for the construction and subsequent service of warships.

We must make decisions together with the Ministry of Industry and Trade and the Defence Ministry on the most rational distribution of military and civilian projects for USC shipyards and plants and re-equip them on the basis of specific orders. In so doing we must emphasise the commercial manufacture of equipment. Only in this way can we make efficient use of budget funds rather than let them dissipate into numerous and often ineffective projects.

We must also analyze the legal foundation governing the construction of warships and naval hardware and eliminate the existing contradictions and anachronisms.

One more priority is to upgrade domestically sourced production. There is nothing fundamentally wrong with our shipbuilders using foreign technology and components. But we realize full well that in perspective we must develop a modern domestic industry to develop components, which would allow us to fill orders for related industries.

In pursuing strategic goals, we should not forget about current problems. Despite the crisis, the domestic shipbuilding industry is finishing the year with good results. From January through September it grew 74%.

Nonetheless, a number of plants face serious difficulties, and they should be dealt with on a case-by-case basis. In this context I would like to say that literally the other day we fulfilled our promise and transferred 1.9 billion roubles to the Amur Ship-Building Plant allowing them to complete an export contract.

In addition, the Defence Ministry will place contracts totaling up to 3 billion roubles at the same plant.

USC is doing much to enable the Kaliningrad-based Yantar (Amber) Plant to work at a normal capacity. Needless to say, it will be easier to make decisions on new contracts if USC incorporates this plant into its framework.

However, this is only general review of the current problems. Let's get down to the topic of our meeting.