Interview with FSMTC of Russia Deputy Director K.N.Biryulin for ITAR-TASS
Deputy Director of the Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation Konstantin Biryulin spoke on forward looking military-technical cooperation between Russia and the NATO countries and potential for export of Russian arms with an ITAR-TASS correspondent.
- Konstantin Nikolaevich, does Russia promote its military products on the NATO market, and what opportunities in this area are implemented now?
- We promote our products on the NATO market in every possible way. Rearview TV cameras mounted at the back of military vehicles are an example of the use of a product of a St.-Petersburg enterprise by the Bundeswehr and the UK Armed Forces. Besides TV cameras, the NATO is also interested in other products of Russian MIC, in particular, bullet-proof vests and various protective devices for the personnel. Our bullet-proof vests generated interest at the International Exhibition of defence systems and equipment held in London in September. The UK military experts, having studied them, highly appreciated them and other protective devices. I think this is not a full list of capabilities of our sector. There are also other offers. For example, we are ready to promote our aircraft on the NATO market. Our objective is to show ourselves in the best possible light.
- What are prospects of Russian small arms for NATO ammo on the market of the NATO countries?
- Prospects of promoting our weapons on the NATO market are favourable. Interest to them in the West is not limited only by small arms. To some extent, our positions are shaken by mass media publications about refusal of the Ministry of Defence to buy Kalashnikov assault rifles. But here we speak about phasing out assault rifles dated back to 1947 or the 1970s. New rifles will be bought. It is natural that manufacture of old assault rifles stops. It is a normal process. Whether rifles will be manufactured for NATO ammo is a matter of the future.
- What are the trends for military-technical cooperation with the NATO countries in respect of Afghan operations?
- The Contract for delivery of Russian helicopters for the NATO Coalition Forces in Afghanistan is known for all. I remind that it has been signed. Further cooperation will depend on our dialogue with the NATO under program documents signed one week ago relating to participation of Russia in the codification system. For example, they cover service of Soviet and Russian origin hardware in Afghanistan. All this is very important for the Armed Forces of Afghanistan. Maintenance of engineering availability of military vehicles is an objective for us and the Coalition Forces.
- What is the dynamics of cooperation between Russia and the NATO countries in this new area?
- Signing of cooperation documents with the NATO has been a lengthy period, especially, on the codification system of items of supply. The first underlying Cooperation Protocol was signed almost a decade ago. It means that we as the country accept some elements connected with the unification in the codification system of items of supply used for maintenance of engineering availability of not only weapons, but also other materiel. For example, in manufacturing of our vehicles.
It has been a long way to go, enabling to build a certain vertical to manage this process and set up the National Codification Centre for Defense Export Products. It operates exclusively on the principles accepted by the NATO countries. These principles are supported not only by the NATO countries, but also other countries. These are 64 states. Actually, it is one third of all countries. Today, works are carried out to harmonise the system with a similar system of the Russian Ministry of Defence.
- What has preceded such changes in relations between Russia and the NATO?
- We experienced problems of interaction of these codification systems. We carried out consultations and havebuilt these relations over the lengthy period. Our objective was to create the system working for the Russian army, and export of indigenous products. Now, we have found the solution, and the recent consultations evidence certain shifts on a number of positions.
It is likely that soon, we will reach the understanding, a certain balance suitable for the Russian army, and export. We focus on this issue because one of the components of export of any products is, of course, related to effective after-sales service. It is impossible to do this job without introducing the internationally accepted codification system of items of supply.
- This area, as seen from outside, has been initially embedded in the activity of the Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation. What are the results of your efforts?
- Now, we can eligibly enter into the NATO database Russian manufacturers with their stocks of products. It testifies that Russia is recognised as the country that is fully qualified for participation in the after-sales service system. And second, counterfeit delivery of components of the Russian origin is excluded. This is how we try to exclude middlemen between Russian manufacturers and our consumers. Finally, it guarantees purchase of original components.
According to our laws, in most cases, our enterprises are entitled to independently deliver components. In certain cases, Rosoboronexport performs this role. All these components will be bought not from middlemen, but in Russia with acknowledgement of all licence rights to their manufacture. A number of decisions in this respect has been made by the NATO countries, specifying that components for helicopters shall be purchased only from the enterprises having relevant licences for manufacture.
- What is potential for such cooperation between Russia and the NATO in the codification of items of supply?
- During the USSR time, there was such area as unification of components and systems used in developing, and manufacturing of weapons and military vehicles. This area was covered by the production development program, GOSTs and resolutions confirming necessity to apply certain design, or certain component.
If the codification system of items of supply works effectively, and all of our enterprises, developers and designers have access to it, it will substantially raise their performance. It will not require separate development and manufacture of components enlisted in the catalogue. They can be effectively applied and used in manufacturing new versions of weapons and military vehicles. It will raise quality of products.
As far as is known, failure of components is the main reason for failure of any equipment. If we speak in terms of quality of delivered items, we limit a number of manufacturers, increase volumes, and raise liability of manufacturers. Accordingly, we raise quality and reliability of components. And, above all, the codification system is the foundation for logistics system of after-sales service, and management of all production processes, because electronic, digital codes will be assigned to all items, enabling to process all information not manually, but electronically. Naturally, it will raise performance of any enterprise. Certainly, there is an objective to introduce this system in the manufacturing industry, and national security agencies, especially in the Ministry of Defence. It will give a huge economic benefit.
Date of publication: 20.12.2011