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Russian Conventional Weapons Agency

The Russian Conventional Weapons Agency supervised the production of armor, artillery systems, missile systems, fire arms and munitions, and production optics for both the defense and national economy. It possessed a labor force of 334,000 by the end of 1998, and in the first 8 months of 1999 the sector increased employment by 2,800. Subordinate entities included 74 research institutes and design bureaus, and 63 batch-producing enterprises. Some were quite famous, including Izhmash, the Kirov Works, the famous LOMO, and the instrument-making design bureau in Tula.

The Russian Conventional Armaments Agency incorporated 136 enterprices, research institutes and design bureaus of the military-industrial complex. The agency was established for executing the defence and civil orders. To advance the productsof RCAA enterprises to the domestic market there are 14 regional marketing centers. The international Telecommunicational Marketing Center was used for advancing the products of the RCAA enterprises to the foreign market.

The sector increased output in the first 8 months of 1999 by 42 percent, reduced wage errors, and improved payments into the budgets and off-budgetary funds. Purchases of armaments and equipment by the Russian army declined, however, as arms exports soared. In the second quarter of 1999 the sector exported 52 percent of its output. In the first 8 months of the 1999 it exported 84 percent of all the armaments and military equipment manufactured. The government owed the sector more than 5 billion rubles. Another 1.3 million were owed by the Defense Ministry and other government clients that failed to claim output ordered by them.

In Russian industry this sector's share of the output was determinant with respect to opticoelectronic equipment, railway cars and tank cars, sporting and hunting guns and the threaded ammunition for them. In 2001 the government defense contracts were all fulfilled. The output of military products rose by 1.1 times; 35,840 million rubles' worth of civilian goods was made, accounting for about 67 percent of the total production.

The enterprises and organizations of the agency had mastered the production of approximately 100 new competitive and import-substitution items for machine-building, transportation, medicine and other industries. For example, the Rubtsovsky Machinery Plant started the output of tracked snow- and swamp-going vehicles of high cross-country capacity, as commissioned by the oil industry. The Nizhni Novgorod Machinery Plant mastered the production of the Kuzbass-500 coal combine, developed at the level of the best foreign analogues and designed for work in coal mines with explosive layers in Far Northern areas and with a tropical climate. Uraltransmash has embarked on the serial production of a new tram car, and the Zagorsky Optico-Mechanical Works, a household all-purpose shuttleless sewing machine with no analogues; the Azovsky Optico-Mechanical Works is mastering the production of a portable thermovisor with microprocessor data handling for heat, oil and gas leak checks, and the study of technological processes in various branches of industry.

The agencies' foreign economic activity also intensified. In 2001 its enterprises delivered 92.3 million dollars' worth of civilian goods to 84 countries. Fourteen regional marketing centers had been established using the facilities of leading firms. Along with the dealer and distributor structures available in the enterprises, they form a well-branched-out system from Leningrad to Khabarovsk.

In accordance with the Federal Target Program "Reformation and Development of the Defense-Industrial Sector (2002-2006)" provision was made for the creation in the agency of nine large Scientific-Production Association [NPO] in the main areas of production of specialized equipment: optics, high precision weapons, armored equipment, artillery, missile complexes, small arms and cartridges. This will help to run the enterprises at fuller capacity, enhance state control, raise the investment attractiveness of the enterprises, and create conditions for their greater competitiveness in world arms markets.

Carried out under the National Technological Base federal target program, a comparative analysis of basic critical technologies in the United States and other countries has confirmed that Russia currently tends to be lagging behind. Even though in optoelectronic, laser and infrared technologies a parity exists so far, and superiority in individual components, it will be very difficult to keep these frontiers over the long run. Government support is necessary for the development of critical technologies. That's exactly what our system of program measures is aimed at.

The agency's enterprises participate in the organization of the production of micropowders for the creation of new materials, solid-state diode lasers used in information technologies, energy and metal working, and semiconductor heterostructures; for systems of photon data processing with an efficiency exceeding electronic devices by many times, and for new brands of optical glass and fiber. National interests demand the preservation and development of the science-intensive technological base of the country. For its renewal there is a need for government support in the first place, as investment credits, state guarantees, and easy-term credits at reduced Central Bank interest rates.

During the extended meeting of the Board of Russian Agency for Conventional Armaments the supplied sums of work for the Ministry for Industry, Science and Technologies (RAV) during 2003 were announced, and the basic trends of activity in 2004 were determined. The meeting included representatives from various agencies within the apparatus of the government, the Ministry of Defense, Minpromnauki, Minekonomrazvitiya, and the leaders of the enterprises in the RAV.

As noted in a report presented by the General Director of the RAV, Aleksandr Nozdrachev, output of defense production by enterprises of the RAV increased in 2003 by approximately 110 percent. The economic situation in the branch improved considerably over the course of the year. The volumes of output of military and civil production substantially increased as well. When compared with the analogous period of 2002, volumes increased by 15.3%, and productivity of labor almost 1.5%. As a whole the volume of output within the entire framework of defense production during the year was 109.7%. The total volume of deliveries in 2003 (when compared with previous years) increased by 8.5 percent. Of the total number that comprised production rates 76 percent were of military design.

In his presentation Aleksandr Nozdrachev emphasized the successful fulfillment of the state defense order (GOZ) in 2003. 20 new specific armaments and pieces of military equipment were introduced. Successful tests were also completed on mobile anti-tank installations (Khrizantema), and on a second generation thermal imaging system, which was planned to equip all Russian systems of night combat.

Following the termination of the Mikhail Kasyanov government on February 24, 2004, President Putin restructured the country's defense agencies. The Conventional Weapons Agency, Shipbuilding Agency (Rossudostroyenie), and Control Systems Agency were all disbanded. Their functions and responsibilities were transferred to the Ministry of Industry and Energy under the authority of the Federal Industry Agency (FAP).



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