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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Putin reiterates need for military reform to ensure security

RIA Novosti

17:19 03/12/2009 MOSCOW, December 3 (RIA Novosti) -The Russian Armed Forces must keep up with modern challenges to reliably ensure national security, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said Thursday.

In a televised phone-in, he said military reform was crucial to making the military leaner and meaner, enabling it to deal with any conflicts that could arise.

"New types of arms, new equipment and new methods of waging war are necessary for that," he said.

He stressed the importance of making military units more mobile to be able to cope with their missions.

Putin said a key element to military reform was the reorganization of the command and control system.

Command and control optimization aims to eliminate superfluous elements, in particular by moving away from a four-tier (military district - army - division - regiment) to a three-tier system (military district - operation command - brigade).

In accordance with the reform concept, the division is considered to be too large for local armed conflicts in the modern world.

Putin also said Russia would continue to rely on its own defense industry to develop and produce new weaponry, adding, however, that domestic arms manufacturers should be aware of competition, including foreign competition.

He said Moscow was yet to decide whether to buy a Mistral-class helicopter carrier from France but would keep its options open.

If the deal is signed, the Mistral will be the largest vessel Russia has ever bought. The Mistral, worth 400-500 million euros (around $600-$750 mln), is capable of transporting and deploying 16 helicopters, four landing barges, up to 70 vehicles, including 13 battle tanks, as well as 450 military personnel. The vessel is equipped with a 69-bed hospital and can be used as an amphibious command ship.

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