Russia spending $700 billion on arms


MOSCOW – President Dmitry Medvedev said Friday that Russia will spend the equivalent of $700 billion by 2020 to modernize the military’s aging arsenals, but sternly warned arms industries against jacking up prices.

Medvedev said the new plan should re-equip the armed forces, which have mostly relied on Soviet-built weapons, but some analysts say that the ambitious program that envisages procurement of 600 new warplanes, 100 ships and 1,000 helicopters is unfeasible because of a steady decline of the nation’s once-proud arms industry.

Medvedev, speaking at a meeting with the top military brass, harshly criticized domestic arms makers for failing to meet Russia’s weapons orders last year and said that the culprits will be punished.

Medvedev didn’t give details, but Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov said last month that arms companies produced only five of 11 military satellites that were supposed to be delivered last year.

Medvedev said that some arms makers offer a low price and then swell it after winning the tender. “We have the money, all we need is to establish order,” he said.

Russian military officials long have complained that the nation’s arms makers are offering slightly remodeled versions of Soviet-built weapons at artificially high prices.


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