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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Russia to produce most arms domestically - deputy min.

RIA Novosti


MOSCOW, February 20 (RIA Novosti) - Russia's Army will mostly use domestically-built arms, Russian Deputy Defense Minister Vladimir Popovkin told Ekho Moskvy radio on Saturday.

"The national defense sector will shoulder [the production of] most arms. The purchase of military equipment abroad will be made only in those fields where there are flaws," Vladimir Popovkin said.

He said "flaws" were reported in the production of sophisticated arms, including unmanned aircraft.

"Work is underway to develop drones and train people," the deputy defense minister said.

He confirmed Russia's Defense Ministry would import drones in 2010.

Popovkin admitted that the Army had bought little over the past 15 years and that the Defense Ministry had funds to maintain strategic nuclear forces and repair operating arms only. He said the Army currently had a large fleet of outdated equipment.

"We have some 20,000 tanks, while we need 5,000 to 6,000, and there are over 200,000 combat vehicles and several thousands aircraft, but the quality of hardware leaves much to be desired," Popovkin said.

He pledged the ministry would scrap unneeded hardware or put it to international auctions through the country's state arms exporter, Rosoboronexport.

Popovkin also said arms producers would soon handle servicing and warranty maintenance of hardware, and that the Defense Ministry was considering leasing arms.

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