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Main Directorate of Armaments [GAU]
Office of the Chief of Armaments

The ordering of arms was in the hands of countless ordering agencies of the various branches of the services, often narrowly specialised, with little overall coordination. In 1997 there were 57 such agencies, by 2004 there were 20. A central role was played by the Directorate of the Chief of Armaments of the MOD. In November 2008 this was transformed into a Main Directorate of Armaments of the Russian Armed Forces, but at the end of 2010 this was abolished. Responsibility for all procurement became the central duty of a new First Deputy MOD post, occupied by Vladimir Popovkin until April 2011, since then by Aleksandr Sukhorukov.

The Main Directorate of Arms of the the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation was responsible for organizing and coordinating the activities of the military administration, carrying out orders of research and development (R & D), testing, procurement, refurbishment, recycling and elimination of weapons and military equipment (AME) military technical equipment and other materiel, including the provision of activities of international treaties on disarmament, as part of the state defense order.

Main goals:

  • development and implementation of the main directions of the military-technical policy of the Russian Federation;
  • organization of development and formation of the draft state program of armaments;
  • organization of development and formation of the draft state defense order;
  • mobilization planning the implementation of activities in the field of economy and control of mobilization readiness of industrial enterprises;
  • organization of planning and coordination of R & D and production of purchases carried out in the framework of the state program of armaments.
  • Carries out other powers in accordance with the Regulations of the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation.

The main and central armament directorates of the Ministry of Defense were the primary weapons procurement organizations of the MO. Their mission is to create contemporary models of arms and equipment and to equip the troops with them. They are responsible for formally documenting requirements for new weapon systems, monitoring the R&D of these systems, performing acceptance testing, and conducting quality control.

Some of the armament directorates, such as the Main Artillery Directorate (GNU), later the Main Rocket and Artillery Directorate (GRAU - Glavnoye Raketno-Artilleriyskoye Upravleniye), and the Main Tank Directorate (GBTU - Glavnoye Bronetankovoye Upravleniye), report to the service for which they acquire weapons. The armament directorates oversee, in conjunction with their subordinate NIIs and test ranges, the entire weapons life cycle, from conception to withdrawal from the inventory.

A portion of State Reserves were assigned in wartime or crisis to the central rear services, as are various economic enterprises with military support potential. In peacetime, most of these central stockpiles and units are under the control of the various main and central directorates of the MoD. For example, depots of the Main Tank Directorate (Glavnoe Bronetankovoe Upravlenie--GBTU) held centrally-subordinated stocks of tanks, armored personnel carriers, and spare parts, while arsenals and depots of the Main Rocket and Artillery Directorate (Glavnoe Raketno- Artilleriiskoe Upravlenie--GRAU) maintained central stocks of ammunition, small arms, artillery, and associated equipment and components.

The Soviet system was not the result of theoretical military philosophy but rather of Soviet military experience in two world wars. In World War I, the Russian empire of the czar experienced huge equipment shortages. The -Russians, even though they had 20 million men, found that they could not wage war effectively because they could not equip and arm such a large number. This lesson was reinforced by the huge losses in World War II: Soviet equipment losses in battle amounted to about seven times the Soviet weapons inventory at the end of the War.

As a result of these experiences, the Soviet Union developed a firm belief in the "quantity theory of armaments," which was quite different from the technology-based quality armament philosophy of the West. The Soviets believed in a war of attrition in which quantity of military equipment counted more than quality. This philosophy was often summarized in Soviet military literature by Lenin's quote: "Quantity has a quality all its own."

What the Soviet military leadership wanted in the way of equipment was a lot of it. To get it, the leaders and their design personnel were prepared to sacrifice technical sophistication, quality, overall capability, and even some performance and reliability.

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Page last modified: 10-04-2019 12:06:06 ZULU