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Russia Could Fall Behind on Ballistic Missile Sub Construction: Official

A Russian official on Monday said his country has little chance of meeting its Borei-class ballistic missile submarine construction goal for this decade, Interfax reported (see GSN, June 29).

Russia in May finalized arrangements for assembling five additional Borei-class submarines (see GSN, May 29). Each of the planned craft would carry 20 Bulava ballistic missiles; three ships authorized under a prior deal would hold 16 of the nuclear-weapon delivery systems.

"The story of contracts on the construction of the two groups of fourth-generation nuclear submarines, Borei and Yasen, is well known," said Vladimir Pospelov, a member of the Russian governmental Military-Industrial Commission. "The government of the country was forced to control this process practically manually. The signature of those contracts was put back by about a year, which already at this point means there is every reason to expect that this extremely important work will be ruined."

Preparation of the submarines would take place under a national defense initiative set to remain in effect until the end of the decade (Interfax, July 3).

“In the framework of the state defense order, the financing of [research and development] has been reduced from 38 percent in 2005 to 18 percent in 2012,” Pospelov added on Tuesday in comments reported by RIA Novosti.

The official said the reduction has "delayed" the full execution of related efforts, "which negatively affected the technology cycle for the development of new weaponry."

“As a result, the developers of weaponry run up debts and spend the funds allocated under state defense orders on paying them back,” he said, noting $86 million in Defense Ministry expenditures would be required to that end.

Separately, the Russian State Duma was slated on Wednesday to receive draft legislation from Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin for establishing a Russian Foundation for Advanced Research Projects (see GSN, June 21; RIA Novosti, July 3).

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