9 june 2012

Dmitry Medvedev holds a meeting on strategic aviation in Kazan

“We need to rearm practically the entire army and navy, as well as other defence and security forces. In three years, at least 30 % of materiel in the army must be new and in five years it must reach levels of 70 %.”

Opening remarks by Dmitry Medvedev:

Good afternoon, colleagues. Please be seated. Let’s get to work.

We are holding our meeting at one of the country’s oldest aircraft factories – Kazan S.P.Gorbunov Aviation Production Association. It has great traditions indeed; we saw some of them just now. Currently, the enterprise builds civil aircraft, such as the Tu-214 (I flew here in one of these), as well as carries out repairs and maintenance of combat aircraft, including the Tu-22 and the Tu-160. Over its 85-year history, the factory has released several generations of aircraft; they are the well-known reconnaissance aircraft, the Tu-4 heavy bombers, the Тu-22 supersonic long-range bombers and the Tu-160 strategic bombers, which have really become a symbol of our military power.

This year we will celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Air Force. I signed an order for the celebration back on 12 March. However, while keeping in mind the history of our aviation, we should still think about its future. At this meeting, we will discuss plans for improving the technical equipment of this branch of the Armed Forces and will focus in greater detail on matters related to long-range and military cargo aviation.

We need to rearm practically the entire army and navy, as well as other defence and security forces. In three years, at least 30% of materiel in the army must be new and in five years it must reach levels of 70%. There is one key requirement for the defence industry enterprises: our Armed Forces must have up-to-date, reliable and high-quality military equipment. In concurrence with the state armament programme, we will launch a programme for the modernisation of the military-industrial complex. As you know, unprecedented funds have been allocated from the federal budget for these common objectives. We must spend this money competently.

There is no doubt that our planes and helicopters continue to be in high demand abroad. This is an excellent thing. It allows us to retain our position and it means that we should do our best to keep hold of our leadership in our entire line of military aircraft production. One has to fight for one’s place in the sun: it is always a struggle and it is always a race, with both economic and political dimensions, if I may say. Let me remind you that last year, Russia’s air force took receipt of 15 modern Su combat aircraft. Work is underway to design and build an innovative combat plane for front-line operations, which with its redesigned fourth-generation units will determine the combat potential of the Russian air force for the immediate future. But we should definitely not limit ourselves to developing just the one model. Along with a fifth-generation fighter, there are plans to design a new strategic bomber. We have just undertaken a review of the repair process; without doubt we have illustrious traditions here, but even given the opportunities for modernising our aeroplanes, we still need to develop a new strategic aircraft.

At the same time, problems have accumulated in the sector, which we are addressing with varying degrees of  success. These are to do with the condition of the production facilities and the work of the cooperation chains that exist in this sector.

Today I would like to hear reports on how well prepared this company is to fulfil the state defence order, and on its financial, economic and technological capabilities. Therefore, alongside the agency responsible for this industry, the Defence Ministry, we also have the Finance Minister present here, and other colleagues who are responsible for economic and financial issues rather than purely technological ones. Since the Defence Ministry is our main customer, they should be the ones to determine the type and number of strategic aircraft to be built. They can then discuss commercial production issues with the Ministry of Industry and Trade and the United Aircraft Corporation.

We need to know the available production capacity of the plants. We have discussed this, and now we need to decide what to do next. I am asking Mr Rogozin now to hold the necessary meetings on the development prospects. We need to work out how well the timeframe for the technical re-equipment of the enterprise coordinates with that of the approved State Armament Programme, which to a large extent depends on industrial cooperation with our CIS partners, by which I mean above all Ukraine as far as aircraft building is concerned. So what joint opportunities do we have and what sort of problems do we face in cooperating with our Ukrainian partners? By the way, we will shortly be holding a large intergovernmental commission meeting. We need to draft proposals about future cooperation and take a final decision on the locations of the new industrial facilities, including those for the manufacture of the innovative An-70 aircraft.

We need to be specific, so let’s get to work.