Putin Vows to Pursue Enormous Military Rearmament Campaign

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has vowed if re-elected to the presidency to pursue the largest arms buildup the country has experienced since the end of the Cold War, the Christian Science Monitor reported on Monday (see GSN, Feb. 17).

Putin in the latest article laying out his presidential objectives said over the next 10 years he would allocate $772 billion to replenishing Russia's armed forces. That would include acquisition of 400 new ICBMs and eight strategic ballistic missile submarines.

The rearmament campaign would in part be a response to U.S. efforts to establish missile defense capabilities around the world, Putin said (see GSNFeb. 6).

"We are forced to take decisive steps to bolster our national aerospace defense system to counter the U. S. and NATO efforts in the deployment of missile defense. One cannot be 'too patriotic' about this issue," Putin wrote. "Russia’s military response to the global U.S. missile shield, including its European part, will be effective and asymmetrical, a match for U.S. missile defense policy."

Russia's presidential election is scheduled for March 4. Putin is widely expected to be elected to a new six-year term. He would replace President Dmitry Medvedev, who is not running for re-election and appears set to become prime minister (Fred Weir, Christian Science Monitor, Feb. 20).

Putin promised to acquire 28 new S-400 air-defense systems as part of the rearmament campaign, Agence France-Press reported. Moscow has warned it could deploy antimissile systems in the Kaliningrad region if an accord is not reached with NATO on its missile shield.

The Kremlin believes U.S. missile interceptors planned for deployment around Europe between now and 2020 are aimed at undermining Russia's strategic nuclear deterrent. The Western military alliance maintains its antimissile plans are aimed at protecting the continent from a feared ballistic missile attack from the Middle East (Anna Malpas, Agence France-Presse/Yahoo!News, Feb. 19).

While a number of the promised new weapons systems have been in the works for years, choke-points in the Russian weapons business sector have caused a number of program slowdowns and criticisms of malfunctioning weaponry, the Monitor reported.

Military analyst Alexander Golts was unimpressed with Putin's promises. "Unfortunately all that Putin says about making our military industry capable of delivering all these new weapons remains little more than slogans. While Putin has a lot of good things to say about the course of (structural) military reform, he has simply not taken on board the need for sweeping reform of Russian military industry," Golts wrote in the Yezhednevny Zhurnal. "Every year our military procurement program fails to meet its targets, and there is no sign this is going to change anytime soon" (Weir, Christian Science Monitor).

The Russian strategic missile forces last week announced that another regiment this year would receive a full allotment of ground-transportable Yars ballistic missile units, RIA Novosti reported (see GSN, Sept. 27, 2011).

The Teikovo Missile Division, based in central Russia, now fields two regiments outfitted with the Yars system, which is equipped with RS-24 ICBMs.

The first two battalions of the second Yars regiment were switched to combat readiness in late December. Once the third battalion of the second regiment is ready for fielding, the Teikovo Missile Division will have received its full allotment of 18 Yars systems, strategic missile forces spokesman Col. Vadim Koval said.

Another two missile divisions will begin taking receipt of Yars units this year. The Kozelsk Missile Division is to be equipped with silo-launched Yars systems and the Novosibirsk Missile Division is to be armed with mobile versions of the system.

The RS-24 represents a substantial improvement over the older Topol-M missile, according to RIA Novosti.

The multiple-warhead RS-24 and the single-warhead Topol-M missiles are to form the backbone of Russia's land-based nuclear deterrent. Within four years the missiles are to comprise a minimum of four-fifths of the strategic missile forces (RIA Novosti, Feb. 16).

February 21, 2012

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has vowed if re-elected to the presidency to pursue the largest arms buildup the country has experienced since the end of the Cold War, the Christian Science Monitor reported on Monday.