Interview of FSMTC of Russian First Deputy Director
A.V. Fomin to VVP Journal
- Alexander Vasilievich, what are the 2009 results for military-technical cooperation: volume of export of our arms, and total profits? Any forecasts for 2010?
- 2009 was noted for rather positive results. The volume of export of military goods exceeded USD8.8 bln. Enterprises of the military-industrial complex participating in export contracts earned more than USD8.8 bln.
By our estimates, 2010 will be no less successful. Deliveries of Russian arms, military and special equipment to foreign customers are expected to exceed USD9 bln.
- With what of world powers does the Russian Federation maintain most dynamic business contacts in the area of military-technical cooperation?
- The term "world power" is not quite clear. We do not divide our MTC related partners into major and minor. Currently, the Russian Federation maintains military-technical cooperation with more than 80 states worldwide. Last year, military goods were delivered to 62 states. The largest importers of the Russian military vehicles are Algeria, Venezuela, India, and China. Over 70 % of the total amount of Russian export of military goods falls to their share. We have been pursuing a consistent Russian policy towards those countries with taking into account their needs and requirements. Today, we have departed from traditional "seller-buyer" relations, and we are at the stage of setting up licensed manufacture of Russian vehicles in the partner countries.
Such MTC area, as setting joint ventures to develop and manufacture new military vehicles, is on the go, too. Russian R&D works covering dozens of projects are undertaken in interests of foreign customers. We believe that in the long term perspective, we will succeed in maintaining stable mutually beneficial relations with our leading MTC partners.
- After launch of the fifth generation Russian fighter, there was information that Russia will kick off negotiations on exchange of technologies and creation of a platform for manufacturing domestic "Stealth" with the Brazilian company Embraer and Indian partners. At what stage is this process now?
- Indeed, the Russian Federation participated in the tender announced by the Brazilian party for delivery of Su-35 4 ++ generation fighters for needs of the National Air Forces. If we won the tender it would be possible to carry on dialogue on participation of Brazilian companies in joint development and manufacture of a 5th generation aircraft. However, by results of the tender, our country was not included into the short list announced by Brazilians. So, there are no negotiations on the subject.
- Alexander Vasilievich, you have just returned from India where negotiations were carried on for joint design of a fifth generation fighter. What possible timeframe for such fighter design, when do you expect signing of a contract, whether its price has been determined, and what about schedule of first deliveries?
- India is a major strategic partner of the Russian Federation during almost half a century. Unless my memory fails me, 47 years ago we delivered the first MiG to India. We have long-standing historical and partner relations. India is one of few countries with which Russia shares its technologies.
As to current projects, and we have a number of them, the project to develop and manufacture a fifth generation fighter is worth highlighting. We have signed an underlying intergovernmental agreement. At present, we are keen to shortly conclude a contract. The first stage is to sign a R&D contract, I hope, it will be signed soon.
- According to Indian mass-media, both parties should invest USD8-10 bln to develop an advanced frontline aviation system?
- As to monies, I won’t comment. Today, nobody can comment on any final figures – neither in terms of financing nor timeframe.
To develop any aircraft concerned is effort, money, and time consuming business. Let’s say that not less than six-ten years will pass before we approach development of a prototype model of a fifth generation fighter and its batch production. So, by the end of this decade, we can speak about development of the first model, and then preparation and transition to a batch production.
- Treaty on development of military-technical cooperation between the Russian Federation and Belarus was signed at the end of the last year. How strong is military-technical cooperation between Russia and its Belarus partner?
- Military-technical cooperation between Russia and Belarus has been maintained since 1993 and has a strategic nature focused on creating the Union State. We have a close interaction between defense industry enterprises of the Russian Federation and those of Belarus based on arms of Russian, to be exact, Soviet manufacture, with which the Armed Forces of Belarus are equipped, and the command staff trained in universities both of the former USSR, and the Russian Federation.
Development of the Russian-Belarus relations leads to improvement of legal framework, enabling bilateral mutually advantageous military-technical cooperation. As an example, I can quote the concluded Treaty mentioned by you. The document allows us to generate a new procedure for mutual deliveries of military goods in interests of both of the states, and promote establishment of a favorable environment for collaboration between our defense enterprises in the field of development, manufacture, operation, repair, upgrading, prolongation of life service and recycling of arms.
- What are prospects of military-technical cooperation with China?
- Among the most significant events relating to MTC between our countries in the last two years, I would like to highlight the main thing. In 2008, we signed the Intergovernmental Agreement on mutual protection of intellectual rights within the framework of bilateral military technical cooperation. In Beijing, in September 2009, an official of the Federal Service for military-technical cooperation of the Russian Federation was appointed to promptly address issues of bilateral cooperation in the People’s Republic of China.
However, as to cooperation prospects, despite positive dynamics in a number of areas, it is necessary to point out that volumes of bilateral cooperation are still insignificant. Since 2006, we have not signed any large-scale contracts.
We are much concerned about this because such state of affairs does not correspond to a reached level of confidential relations. We cannot agree with approaches of the Chinese party based on a principle of selective purchases of arms from Russia. We consider that cooperation should be really mutually advantageous when work is conducted on themes which meet interests of not only the Chinese, but also the Russian side.
In our opinion, high potential for cooperation are such areas as combat and military transport aircraft, naval vehicles, air defense systems and after-sale service of listed equipment. Upgrading during repairs of a different level of complexity could become an important cooperation area.
Besides, we hope for continuation of the dialogue with the Chinese party on Zubr hovercrafts. I would like to underline that a considerable part of components is made for such ships only in Russia. Therefore, cooperation on any themes with the states which are not manufacturers of the Russian equipment can cause risks not justified for China, including financial ones.
- Armed forces of a number of countries are 80 - 90 % equipped with Soviet manufacture weapons. Does the Federal Service for military-technical cooperation intend to continue such "tradition"?
- One year ago, President of the Russian Federation Dmitry Medvedev outlined an objective for us «to more closely monitor markets», that is, «look in different directions», diversify deliveries, enter those markets where we are traditionally not present or where we are present, but not in adequate volume. We have been taking efforts to meet such objective, and we have made certain successes in relations with Venezuela, Algeria, Libya, and Vietnam. There are quite good prospects to strengthen our positions in a number of other states.
At the same time, we are perfectly aware that monopolization of an arms market by any country is unrealistic in present conditions. Russian exporters of military-purpose products (MPP) could conclude favorable contracts with a number of countries of Latin America which is considered as traditional region of the USA influence.
At the same time, we face a tough competition of exporters from the USA, Israel, China, and West European states in the markets of our traditional partners in MTC, for example, India. Such is a reality of the modern world arms market.
As to those countries, which armed forces are still 80 - 90 % equipped with Soviet manufacture weapons, basically, these are the states of Asia and Africa which are cash strapped and cannot afford purchase of advanced military vehicles. We render them upgrading and repair service for supplied MPP.
- Are there any prospects of military and technical relationships between the Russian Federation and NATO? In one of the interviews you mentioned possible import by Russia of arms, and defensive technologies to the Alliance. What in particular is Russia ready to supply to the Alliance? Are there any other areas of military-technical cooperation with the Alliance?
- The world economic crisis has also affected NATO countries: defense budgets have been sharply reduced; a majority of projects for development of advanced versions of arms "is frozen", there are critical difficulties with equipping the coalition forces involved in current NATO operations. Only because of high expenditures on the operation in Afghanistan, the NATO budget is short of more than EURO720 million, by estimates of Western mass-media.
In this situation, the Alliance Leadership has decided to request assistance of partner countries, including Russia. Prospects of cooperation between the Russian Federation and NATO were discussed at the top-level. In last December, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen had a meeting with President Dmitry Medvedev and Chairman of the Government Vladimir Putin.
First of all, it is a matter of Afghanistan where the international forces and the Afghani national army experience an acute shortage of helicopters. Helicopters of the Soviet and Russian manufacture have proved to be very effective in dire conditions of Afghanistan and continue to be in demand.
On the other hand, there is a problem of delivery of troops and cargoes from Europe and the USA to the area of operations. 3 C-17 Globеmaster III planes available with the Alliance are not capable of handling volumes of cargo traffic. Counting of NATO on purchasing 180 A-400M transport planes has not been justified. Their batch production is expected not earlier than 2014. Now, NATO heavily relies on AN-124 Ruslan planes of the Company Ruslan SALIS GmbH. For last three years, their flying hours exceeded 11.6 thousand with 67.8 thousand tons of cargoes. However, the Alliance requirements are much higher. Considering that Russia possesses a large fleet of vehicles of this class, cooperation prospects in this area are quite realistic.
Unique capabilities of a Mi-26 heavy transport helicopter also draw a great deal of attention, which does not have competition on the European arms market. At the end of 2009, US President Barack Obama personally thanked the Russian Mi-26T crew for rendering assistance to the American troops in Afghanistan.
However, as to multilateral cooperation, there are no big hopes. Not in the context of criticism, but in my opinion, in whole, Russia, maybe, shows more flexibility than NATO. Both of the parties say that they are keen on cooperation, but so far, there are no practical steps taken. Speaking about development of military-technical cooperation with Russia, our Western partners consider only short-term prospect, expecting to completely switch over to own developments of military vehicles within 10-20 years.
- What equipment will be displayed at the International Defense Exhibition IDELF 2010 within the framework of the International Forum «Engineering Technologies 2010»? What can participants of the Forum and the Exhibition expect?
- The International Forum «Engineering Technologies 2010» is due from 30 June to 4 July. The event will be held in pursuance of a number of the President’s Decrees. The Federal Service for Military-technical cooperation and Rostekhnologii State Corporation are nominated as organizers of the Forum.
The Forum will address a number of global challenges, first, to develop the domestic machine building sector; second, attract investments providing support and strengthening of its research and engineering potential, first of all, defense enterprises; third, expand a range and improve quality of export orientated products, manufacture its competitive hi-tech versions, demonstrate capabilities of other Russian manufacturers, strengthen cooperation ties between domestic developers and manufacturers of machine building products.
The event format includes the International Defense Exhibition IDELF 2010, the International Exhibition of Technologies in Machine Building INTERMASH 2010, the International Show «Aerospace 2010» and the International Forum and the Exhibition «Unmanned multi-purpose vehicle systems 2010».
During the Forum, more than 60 full-scale versions both of the advanced, and museum equipment will be displayed. An eventful business program, including a Plenary Session «Engineering and technological upgrading of the machine-building complex as backbone of national economy development», conferences and topical Round Tables, and discussions will be offered to participants.
Within the CSTO framework, the International Show IDELF 2010 will present a joint exhibition of military, double, and special purpose products and technologies of CSTO member states.
Along with equipment demonstration, a military and sports show involving members of DOSSAF, and special divisions of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the Emergencies Ministry, FSB and the Defense Ministry of Russia aimed to promote objectives of military and patriotic education of citizens will be presented to general public visiting the Exhibition.
- Thanks a lot, Alexander Vasilievich, for in-depth conversation!
Date of publication: 10.08.2010