9 september 2011

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, currently in the Urals Federal District, visits the 8th International Exhibition of Arms and Military Equipment (REA 2011) in Nizhny Tagil


Vladimir Putin began his tour of the exhibition, timed to coincide with the 75th anniversary of the formation of Uralvagonzavod, a leading Russian defence enterprise, with an inspection of the latest Russian main battle tank, the T-90S. Following a video presentation of the upgraded tank, Andrei Terlikov, acting chief designer of the plant, told the prime minister about the specifications of the third-generation tank, which boasts a more powerful engine than its predecessor along with reinforced protection, which includes armour as well as an optronic suppression system.

Putin was so impressed by what he saw that he took off his jacket, climbed into the tank and took the commander's seat in order to test the control systems. "We can see and shoot from the tank at least as well as with its Western analogues, and the tank is unmatched in terms of its amour," Terlikov said.

Putin was shown a comparison table of specifications for the Abrams (US), the Leopard (Germany), the T-90S and its latest upgraded model. Terlikov pointed out that unlike its predecessor and its Western analogues, the upgraded T-90S is armed with missiles that have a range of up to 5 kilometres, whereas ordinary shells can hit targets at a distance of only 2 km. "We call this a 'long arm,' " the designer said. "It means that they can see us but cannot reach us, while we can."

"This is a very important component, which the Defence Ministry has always complained about," Putin said referring to the range of fire of Russian tanks.

Putin was also shown an M-309 artillery gun, the Khrizantema-5 anti-tank missile system and the new BMD-4M airborne combat vehicle.

Apart from military equipment, the prime minister also inspected dual-use technology, such as the Forpost drone, which is produced at the Urals Civil Aviation Plant and the LMV M65 Rys armoured vehicle, made jointly with the Italian automaker Iveco in Voronezh. He was also shown the latest modifications to the Tigr (GAZ-233014) armoured vehicle, as well as vehicles that mount onto the Urals truck chassis. Putin was especially drawn to the latter; he climbed inside to check out its controls and capabilities.

At the pavilion of the Voronezh-based concern Sozvezdie, Putin was shown the R-175 universal portable complex for automated and manual communication between units. The designers said that the fifth-generation systems that make up the set allow for the creation of a common information space on the battlefield.

Upon inspecting the set, the prime minister concluded that it was too heavy. He recommended using lighter modern materials, adding that the set "is part of a larger system and therefore difficult to carry."

Putin concluded his visit to the REA 2011 exhibition at the stand of the Sverdlovsk regional public fund for the revival of Nevyansk icon painting and folk crafts. The fund's representatives told the prime minister that their artists paint icons in the traditional style and also create 3D copper images of saints with gold leaf and mineral paints. They presented one of these icons, "Angel of the Desert," to Putin.