We are no longer making rockets

We are no longer making rocketsThe question of whether our army will have a modern weaponToday, thanks to a series of scandals, it finally began to be discussed not only in the offices of officials, but also by society. Passions are seething with serious ones: the Minister of Defense accuses the industry of over-pricing, she, in turn, speaks about the minister’s lack of professionalism, the prime minister and the president take turns in the duel, and the whole country follows who of them will support. And only numerous analysts, realizing that each of the parties is right in its own way, prefer to remain above the fray.

The journalist “MK”, on the contrary, decided to be under it and went to one of the defense enterprises - the Avangard plant, where they make rockets for the C-300 and C-400 air defense complexes, in order to understand how the upper ranks conflict came around for them. And also what is the situation fraught for the country when the tops cannot sign the state defense order, and the lower classes are no longer able to fulfill it?


In Soviet times, there were three factories where air defense missiles were made: in Kiev, Leningrad and Moscow. Kiev after the collapse of the Union dropped by itself. The St. Petersburg plant was looted and sold during the years of privatization. Only Moscow Avangard remained. Today he is a member of the Almaz-Antey Air Defense Concern, which sounded in the list of enterprises with which the Defense Ministry failed to conclude contracts on state defense orders.

Once Avangard worked in two or three shifts, making 200 rockets a month. But by 2003, he was a pitiful sight: broken glass, broken sewers, fires in workshops, near which workers were warming themselves in winter. In addition to all the billion-dollar debt - his factory acquired, while 15 years stood without state defense orders. Avangard tried to bankrupt. On 27 hectares of its territory in the center of Moscow there were a lot of hunters. At the same time the saying was born: "The more expensive the land under the plant, the more difficult the working people."

But then help came, from where it was not expected - from China. Russia signed a contract with China for the supply of C-300. Naturally, the rockets for them were entrusted with making the Avant-garde - there was no one else anyway. Revival has gone, experts have returned. True, skeptics doubted that the dying Avangard would cope with the Chinese order. But people could. The order was completed 1,5 days before the due date.

“We paid just enough to pay for salaries and taxes,” say the plant's specialists. “And they also allowed us to restructure debts and production so that we, by freeing up some areas and renting them out, could raise the infrastructure of the enterprise.”

Indeed, passing through the factory territory, I did not find signs of decline. Everything, as they say, is poor, but clean: the sewage system works, the roofs do not leak, the factory canteen has a delicious smell of lunch, in the shops - radiant heaters, at which the temperature does not fall below + 19 even in winter.

“For 8 years, we haven’t thrown a single order either through the Ministry of Defense or Rosoboronexport,” experts say. - Last year's defense order was completed ahead of time, by October 31. In November and December, we could have embarked on this year’s program, but we are still standing - contracts with the Ministry of Defense have not been concluded. The technological time of product execution is 9 months, so the 2011 defense order of the year has already been disrupted.

We go into the shop, where the piles of containers are rockets. Under the ceiling is a huge tricolor flag with a double-headed eagle.

“This was what we prepared for Putin’s arrival,” the accompanying person explained, having seen the question in my view, “he came to us in July of 2008.” Before this, the chiefs from the concern rushed in: urgently make normal floors in the workshop, give money. We have a lot of money ugrohali. Made. Nobody gave the money. Putin stayed with us at that time exactly 28 minutes, and in the evening he said in the news: Behold, they say, what fine fellows, managed to raise the plant without budget funds. True, of course. But why should we raise it without a budget? Where then these funds go? After all, our production will never be super profitable. This is not a brothel or hemp trade. For us to develop, there must be a direct interest of the state. And it is not.

- Well, no, no? The Prime Minister promised that they would soon adopt a new federal target program for the development of the military-industrial complex, and it may also concern you.

- Already it concerns ... Someone smelled these "attendants" long ago. Already a year and a half, as at all meetings, it suddenly began to sound: Avangard, they say, cannot cope with the tasks set (although we fulfilled all the contracts on time), and therefore the Almaz-Antey concern is heading for the construction of two new plants in Nizhny Novgorod and Kirov. This requires 15 billion rubles. And then by the year 2015, at best, only the assembly hall will remain, then it will not be.

“It’s like a joke about a gypsy: parents look at their dirty children and say:“ We’re doing this or washing new ones? ”It’s probably more pleasant to make new ones.

- ... Just like mastering 15 of billions, instead of modernizing an enterprise that has been working steadily for many years, experts who have been working for 70 for years, where there was a school, dynasties ...


* * *

It is unlikely that anyone would ever think to argue with the fact that the country needs new factories and jobs. Another question: how to create them?

When in the years of the first Soviet five-year plans new industrial giants were built, the slogan boomed: cadres decide everything. The state sent specialists to these enterprises to organize the production, young people were traveling along Komsomol vouchers, entire cities were built nearby, and the enterprise rose to its feet with the titanic efforts of the whole country.

Now, as we know, it is no longer frames, but money decides everything. They must, by all means, have time to master (and appropriate), and therefore there are specialists, where it is decided to use these funds, or not - the question is secondary.

“Without specialists, it won't work, what modern machines would you use,” they say at Avangard.

- So why not put these machines here?

- Here the land is expensive - the main argument. Our 27 ha for the average market price of land in Moscow is 270 million rubles. If you pull up a firm with an investment project here, it will be much more expensive. Those who make these decisions in our concern think least of all about air defense. It is clear that they would like to sell our areas here and master 15 billion there. And then, you see, or the donkey will die, or the padish ...

- And if these 15 billions went to Avangard?

- Yes, here in a hundred times you need less money to create a normal production. And why should there be full offices in Moscow? Let us then expel all scientific institutions from the capital.

- And expelled. The military won already kicked out. In Moscow, now there are only managers and white-collar workers. There are almost no engineers and workers left.

- Right. Specialists from MIAT, the Moscow Institute of Aviation Technologies, sent us to the plant here. Learn from. They were told: guys, we give you money, make us two new plants. They ask: what plants are needed under what? They say: under the rocket. Those: under what rockets? Give a technical task. And in the concern, no one can give it away - there are no specialists, only managers. Now they are going one after the other: how, what - no one knows, the project cannot be done. Therefore, talk about the factories - this is still zilch. But talking about money is a reality. So through 6 – 8 years in new places will build boxes with machines, nothing more, but there will be no plants. The plant is first of all people. We collected them bit by bit. Now you see, we all have gray heads. Five years from now and there will be no one left. Young people need continuity. And what is the continuity, if during the time we have been standing without state defense order since October, the 90 man has already quit - a whole workshop!

- Maybe the Chinese will help again?

- Do not help. They have already made their own C-300 - we have drawn it, now they are waiting for C-400. They rush all the time to us, they say: show the equipment on which you make the best complexes in the world. We do not allow, we answer: the secret. But in fact, it’s just a shame: they will laugh because they see what they are working on. We have 90% 40-year-old machines.

- Buy new at the expense of profits can not?

- Of the profits of the plant are only funds for taxes and salaries. We are administratively tied: 99% of our shares belong to the Almaz-Antey concern and 1% to the Federal Property Management Agency. We are led by people who hardly imagine what those rockets look like, what we are doing. Therefore, apparently, they do not realize that it is simply impossible to make them for C-400 on old equipment. On the preparation of production "chetyrehsotki" said one and a half years. But there is no money for it, and everything costs. In other enterprises, the situation is no better. With the composition of the officials who lead our direction and in the concern, and above, it will take at least another three years for the C-400 complex to take place.

- By that time, the generals promise C-500.

- С-500 is pure desa, thoughts like “what I would like to have”, nothing more. Actually, no work, at least in our company, is not conducted. There is no hint.

- Should it be?

- In principle, yes, missiles for air defense because no one else does. Yes, what about C-500, "four-hundredths", in fact, also not yet!

My interlocutor led me through the workshop, showing rockets:

- Here is a short-range missile for the C-400, the 150 km range is the only one that has been more or less developed. Here is the average - with a range of 250 km. She has troubles - she doesn’t always fly the distance. But it is tolerable. We still started its mass production. But with a long-range rocket - solid problems. There is no necessary equipment - nothing has been done properly on the new element base. Those two missiles, which put a new "head", both - in December and March of this year - worked unsuccessfully: marked in one direction, and flew in the other. The same Impulse plant, which makes a radio-fuse for a rocket, didn’t really start it, since less than half of it was paid for from the 10 production stages.


Experts say that at the parade instead of those announced by the C-400 announcer all over the country, they showed mock-ups of transport and launch containers (the same 4 “pipes”) from ancient modifications of the C-300 complex. Photo: ITAR-TASS.


* * *

Listening to these people, I was once again convinced: after all, the military keep us, journalists, as idiots. After all, it was originally like? We were told: С-400 will take place when they make three rockets - near, middle, and far. Then suddenly the C-400 with a big delay and two missiles were put into service, saying that they would finish the long-haul later. But instead, they later started talking about C-500.

And when, three years ago, this abbreviation was first heard from the mouth of the Air Force Commander Mikhailov, I asked the developers: when will the novelty appear? The reaction was unexpected: someone laughed, someone grunted and cursed, someone just left to answer.

Last winter I asked a similar question to the Minister of Defense for Armaments: what is C-500? Fantasy or reality? What is the stage of this project?

To this, the deputy minister replied that, say, C-400 is a complex with two missiles, and when we make the long-range, it will be C-500.

Op-pa! So who are they cheating here? Only us, journalists, or the state too? It turns out that C-400 was not done, although it was solemnly put into service and paraded across Red Square.

- With the parade - this is generally a joke! - do not stand my interlocutors. “We laughed when we saw what we were carrying: old junk — transport and launch containers from the very first C-300 modifications. Shame on you They can’t even arrange a show for the skilled, where they can build new plants.

- No, I think they will be built. I just do not understand what: five years, or even more, will be spent on the construction and commissioning of a new production. By the time the territory of "Avangard" will be sold. And then who will these 5 – 6 years make missiles for air defense? Well, let's say our army lived without C-400 and still live, but what is Rosoboronexport trading about? The Chinese are waiting, and not only they.

- Nobody miscalculated. If there were at least one sane person and figured this chain, perhaps at the top someone would understand: there is a hole in front. But now nobody is looking ahead, just under our feet. Grab what is bad there, you need now. Tomorrow nobody cares.

Here I would argue with that. On the contrary, they tell us all the time how wonderful our tomorrow will be. Not today, but tomorrow we will have advanced science, education, medicine, powerful military-industrial complex, enterprises of which, again, not yesterday, but tomorrow, finally, they will sign contracts with the Ministry of Defense, then in a single burst will immediately execute the state defense order, and the army will receive thousands of units new weapons. And all this is tomorrow.

And from the endless rumors about “tomorrow”, it starts to seem to some that it has already arrived. Not long ago, at the Academy of the General Staff, I listened to the report of a military specialist from the 4 Central Research Institute of the Ministry of Defense. He spoke of possible plans for Russia's participation in the deployment of a European missile defense system. Against the background of a map of Europe, thickly studded with Russian flags, the scientist explained that here European values ​​could well cover, as he put it, “our newest missile defense systems of 5 generation”.

I had imagined something super-modern, but at that moment a picture of an old “300” appeared suddenly on the screen - just like on a parade. After the speech, I approached the speaker and asked: what did he mean when he said “5 generation missile defense system”, and showed C-300?

The scientist began to explain at length that both here and the Americans have similar complexes similar to each other. But I interrupted him: "Just say the name." He immediately blurted out: "This, of course, C-500." I immediately realized that this scientist had long been living in that most beautiful “tomorrow”, where I and the Avangard plant had been ordered the way.

Soon, Anatoly Antonov, Deputy Minister of Defense for International Military Cooperation, talked with journalists about the same European missile defense issue. The conversation was really interesting, and the C-500 complex was also mentioned. I asked the official if he knew that C-500 is, to put it mildly, only a distant prospect? He immediately retorted: if you wish, we can always easily deploy its production.

Whose desire for this is needed, could not be found out.

* * *

It so happened that just a couple of days after the Avangard excursion, I had to visit another factory, Motor Sich, a Zaporizhya-based enterprise, where they make engines for Russian planes and our military helicopters.

The head of the company, Vyacheslav Boguslaev, also led us to the shops where everything was spinning, spinning around, telling about productivity, motivation to work and that it was meaningless to talk about innovations without having new equipment:

“We have examined almost all 100% of former machine tool factories in Ukraine and in Russia,” he said. - In 95% of cases they are collapsed, the tool industry is completely ruined. Therefore, today the Voronezh plant cannot make more than five aircraft a year, and the Kiev one more than two. No technology. We can buy only a dozen new machines for the pennies they earn, and we need millions to re-equip enterprises. Today it is necessary to invest not in the production of an aircraft or an engine, but in the production of technology. After all, modern composite materials can not be processed by old methods. Only one way out - to buy equipment in the West. But there, too, no one sells the latest developments to us. Therefore, we now have to master the production of fundamentally new machines right in our workshops.

- And if you do this: do not invest in obsolete production, and build state-of-the-art factories right away at a new place?

- The main thing in this issue is the availability of labor reserves. At the old enterprise they are. And where to get them on the new? Only fanatics, illiterate people or those who want to “drank” the state budget can offer similar options. For example, we received money and said: we will build a plant in St. Petersburg for the production of helicopter engines. And in Samara, there is already a finished plant, with personnel - there is no price for it, but it costs! In Kazan, too, and there are also zero orders. But no, we will build a new one. What for? To cut the money? Look at what the Americans are doing when they start a new project. After all, they are not buying equipment in the first place, but they are gathering people all over the world: Hindus, Russians — buying up “brains”!

... That's right. We also need brains. It is in their absence that, as a rule, everything rests on us. The only pity is that in the Russian budget there is no such article as the purchase of “brains” and conscience for those who are engaged in state defense order in our country.
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