Russia continues to confidently take the second place in terms of arms exports in the world. Such data include, among other things, reputable western sources.
For example, according to the research group at the US Congress, in 2014, the revenue of Russian companies from foreign sales amounted to 10,2 billion dollars, keeping approximately the same level as in 2013 year. The first place remained for the United States, which could increase sales from 26,7 to 36,2 billion dollars. This increase is due to increased tensions in the Middle East and the Korean Peninsula: new purchases were made by South Korea, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia. The creation of the “Russian threat” myth has not been without results - even some European countries (especially the Baltic and Scandinavian) have increased their purchases of foreign weaponsincluding American. Now the United States controls up to 50% of the global arms market. Similar figures are given by the Stockholm Peace Research Institute (SIPRI).
A logical question arises: what are the prospects for Russian military exports and can we, like the Americans, significantly increase sales, taking advantage of the current instability in the world?
Let's start with the fact that the Russian export portfolio of arms orders has reached a record size - according to the Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation, it amounted to more than 55 billion dollars. Previously, this figure fluctuated within 45 – 50 billion dollars. In the engineering industry, the portfolio of export orders larger than the military industrial complex was able to “recruit” only Rosatom - it exceeded 110 billion dollars.
At the same time, most of the popular and exported equipment is the modernization of the well-known and well-proven Soviet weapons. In this, in general, there is nothing surprising or reprehensible - this practice also exists in the United States: successful products can be produced and upgraded for more than a dozen years. A good example is the F-16 lightweight fighter, which has been in operation since the 1979 of the year, and will be produced at least until the 2017 of the year (more than 4500 aircraft of various modifications are currently produced). However, sooner or later the time comes when the modernization potential of machines comes to an end and the development of a new basic model is required.
For a more detailed consideration of the issue, it is better to talk about certain categories of military equipment.
Su-35 will become the main export fighter before the mass production of the PAK FA?
In the post-Soviet period, the fighters created on the basis of Su-27 enjoyed the greatest success in the global arms market. That only is the Indian "contract of the century" for the supply of 272 double Su-30KI (the customer has already received more than 200 machines). Another example is the delivery of X-NUMX Su-130 and 27 Su-98 fighters to China (the X-NUMX Su-30 was also refused by the Chinese to copy, except for aircraft engines). However, the time of the generation of fighters 100-th generation goes - no matter how profound their modernization may be. One of the last to enter the market is the most modern version of the Su-27 - Su-4. The first export contract for these machines was signed with China 27 November 35 of the year - 19 Russian multifunctional fighter will go to the “Celestial Empire”. In December 2015, it became aware of the purchase of twelve Su-24 Indonesia.
Thus, there is still interest in this aircraft, and it will probably still be exported to the middle of the 2020's. As for the line of light fighters based on the MiG-29, things are getting worse here - the MiG-35 still does not justify hopes for him: he lost a major tender in India to the French fighter Rafale (the Russian machine was not even seriously considered at the tender), and the Ministry of Defense The Russian Federation every time delays the signing of a contract for the supply of these machines, as they do not yet meet the stated characteristics.
In any case, the priority for the Russian military-industrial complex should be the 5 generation fighter PAK FA (T-50) and its export version FGFA (Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft). Start of mass production of the aircraft is scheduled for 2017 year. For successful promotion in the global arms market, the key point should be a contract for the supply of a two-seater FGFA modification to the Indian Air Force. So far, the signing of the final agreement has been constantly postponed, despite the periodic occurrence of rumors about the proximity of the contract for the supply of 154 fighters in the amount of 35 billion dollars. At the same time, information about the military’s doubts about the aircraft’s compliance with the stated characteristics and dissatisfaction with its high price also appears in the Indian media. Nevertheless, it is imperative to promote the deal, because in the future for the new machine may open other large markets, for example, the same Chinese.
Multipurpose transport aircraft MTA - on the verge of failure
The development of a multi-purpose transport aircraft MTA (Multirole Transport Aircraft), which is conducted in conjunction with India, faces even greater challenges than FGFA. According to local media reports, the Indian military is almost on the verge of exiting the project, and even the meeting of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Russian President Vladimir Putin did not resolve the existing contradictions. They lie in the fact that the Russian side considers it necessary to install a new modification of the PS-90 engine on the aircraft (used on the Il-76 military transport aircraft), and the Indians want to see a car with a completely new engine. At the same time, the management of the United Aircraft Corporation (UAC) believes that the Indian side provided the engine requirements too late, and is going to develop the aircraft anyway - even if India leaves the project. However, 13 in January, the director of the company "IL" Sergey Velmozhkin and at all reported on the freezing of the project. In his words, the pause was taken to "adjust the program and clarify the reciprocal conditions."
The MTA must replace the obsolete An-12, An-26 and An-72 in the Russian army. Nevertheless, the refusal of India to purchase an aircraft may somewhat ruin its reputation and prevent the MTA from entering the international weapons market, or even bury the project - everything will depend on the decision of the Russian Defense Ministry to buy or not to purchase IL-214 (another MTA name ). Thus, the prospects for this project are very vague.
Interest in the Su-34 bomber - the result of a successful application in Syria
More recently, it became known that Algeria sent Rosoboronexport an application for the supply of X-NUMX front-line bombers Su-12 (this is not a mistake - this is the name of the export version of Su-32), local sources even reported on the already signed contract. According to rumors, the purchase amount will be about 34 million dollars, and up to 500 of the year can be ordered up to 2022 aircraft, including in the modification of the electronic warfare aircraft (EW). This transaction may be a landmark and be the first step towards popularity in the global arms market. In addition, it became known that Nigeria and, possibly, Uganda, are also interested in Su-40. In any case, the spectacular appearance and the baptism of a car in Syria was not in vain - the plane does not “leave” the pages of the world media and proves its high efficiency in carrying out high-precision strikes against ground targets. In addition, the Su-32 is attractive because it can perform the functions of a fighter (which is especially important for not the richest countries), because it is also based on the Su-34 fighter.
Thus, Su-34 can take a worthy place in the export portfolio in the coming years. The main markets are the countries of Africa, Asia and, possibly, our partners from the CSTO (for example, Kazakhstan, which has already purchased Su-30CM fighter jets).
Air Defense - the transition to a new generation is almost painless
Russian air defense systems have always enjoyed great success abroad. This is especially true of the C-300 anti-aircraft missile system (SAM), which has been purchased and is still being purchased in large quantities from various countries. For example, China, according to different sources, has acquired from 1993 to 24 (according to Chinese sources) divisions of this air defense system in various modifications - C-40PMU, C-300PMU-300 and C-1PMU-300. C-2 was even acquired by the country that is a member of NATO - Greece (the system was originally purchased by Cyprus, but after the diplomatic scandal with the participation of Turkey, the air defense system was transferred to Greece).
The popularity of the C-300 is due to its excellent tactical and technical characteristics. As for the last modification, it allows you to fire at the same time to 36 targets at a maximum distance of 200 km. The system can also be used as a means of anti-missile defense (against operational tactical missiles and short-range ballistic missiles).
Iran could be the last buyer of the C-300PMU-2 - the delivery of the systems began in January 2015, after an agreement was reached on an Iranian nuclear project. Initially, Iran, having acquired the Tor-M1 short-range air defense system, concluded a contract for the supply of C-2007 in 300, but the deal was frozen, and Iran filed a lawsuit against the Russian Federation in the Geneva Court of Arbitration for $ 4 billion. Now this claim is withdrawn.
In the future, more advanced C-400 Triumph and a cheaper, simplified C-350 Vityaz will be exported. The prospects of the first are especially good - C-400 is noticeably superior to all its competitors in most indicators. A contract has already been signed for the supply of at least six Triumph divisions to China (the amount of the transaction is more than 3 billion dollars). The leadership of India approved the purchase of the same C-400, and the signing of the contract can be expected in the foreseeable future. We can talk about the purchase of 10 divisions, worth about 6 billion dollars. Probably, others will soon appear - Concern EKR Almaz-Antey Concern has only recently reached sufficient production capacity to supply C-400 in parallel to Russian troops and abroad.
As for other air defense systems - small and medium-range, they are also in quite good demand - especially the Tor system and the Pantsir-S1 anti-aircraft gun and artillery complex. The results for the Buk medium-range air defense systems are slightly worse.
Ground equipment: Armata, Kurganets-25, Boomerang and Coalition-SV - future “stars”?
With regard to land technology, “generational change” is particularly relevant. For example, such a popular model abroad tanklike the T-90, it has practically exhausted its modernization potential - the tank is a deep modernization of the Soviet T-72, which has been produced since 1973, which means more than 40 years. For comparison, the American M1A1 Abrams went on the conveyor seven years later, and the German Leopard 2 - six years later. The British tank Challenger 2 and the French Leclerc were produced at all from 1983 and 1990, respectively. This is one of the reasons why Russia began to create a new generation of armored vehicles of the first. As for the T-90, then its latest modification, apparently, will be the T-90AM (SM in export modification).
Regarding the export prospects of the T-90 - they are coming to an end. It is possible to sign several more contracts for T-90CM with Middle Eastern countries, but this course of events is somewhat complicated by the current foreign policy situation (in Syria, Russia actually opposes the interests of the main buyers, Saudi Arabia and the UAE, which, oddly enough, does not prevent the parties to negotiate large shipments). On the other hand, the Iranian market is becoming open. T-90 itself turned out to be a “gold mine” for “Uralvagonzavod” - a licensed tank production was established in India, there are already more than 800 tanks of this model in service with the Indian army, their number should approach 2020 by the year of 2000. In any case, the beginning of 2020-x is likely to be the moment when T-90 will saturate the arms market and a new platform will be required. The same applies to such armored vehicles as the BMP-3 and the BTR-82, etc. New modifications of the above armored vehicles will still be able to be sold for several years, but great prospects after the 2020 year are unlikely to be waiting for them.
It is therefore very important, in spite of any difficulties, to bring the new generation equipment demonstrated at the Victory Parade 2015 in Moscow to mass production, while achieving the stated tactical and technical characteristics. Especially interesting proposals can be the T-14 tank and the heavy T-15 infantry fighting vehicles, built on the Armata heavy tracked platform. The main feature of the T-15 is an uninhabited tower, at the moment it is the only tank in the world that has such an arrangement, which should, along with an active defense system, protect the crew as much as possible. The concept of a heavy infantry fighting vehicle with protection practically equal to a tank should be in demand in modern urban battles, when opponents have enough anti-tank weapons that easily hit conventional armored personnel carriers and infantry fighting vehicles.
Medium infantry fighting vehicles and armored personnel carriers on the Kurganets-25 tracked platform, which are created on a modular principle, also have noticeably better security compared to the BMP-3 and BTR-82А. This also applies to the light wheeled armored personnel carrier "Boomerang". Self-propelled artillery installation (SAU) caliber 152 mm "Coalition-SV" should "press" is considered the best German 155-mm SAU PzH-2000.
It was repeatedly stated that all the above equipment would first go to the Russian troops, and only then for export (such as, for example, the C-400 air defense system). Thus, the first foreign contracts should be expected closer to 2025 year.
Conclusion: “generational change” is inevitable.
As we see, in the Russian arms export, and even in the military-industrial complex, the most important moment of the generational shift is coming: the move away from modernized Soviet models of equipment to newly created Russian ones. This process was easiest / easiest in the field of air defense, and hardest in aviation. As for armored vehicles, it is too early to speak about the success of the “generational change” - this process will begin closer to 2020, but it is inevitable, and we must be ready to approach it. If we talk about the export of marine equipment, this topic is very extensive, especially in connection with the problems that arose against the backdrop of anti-Russian Western sanctions, and its consideration requires a separate analysis.
Another problem is the rise in price of new equipment in comparison with the Soviet and modernized Soviet. Thus, competition with Western manufacturers becomes possible in the “quality” plane, and it will be more difficult to attract customers many times at a cheaper price tag.
Much depends on the success or failure in developing and successfully exporting new military equipment, including the combat capability of the Russian army, as the huge funds received from foreign buyers make it possible to actively develop the domestic military-industrial complex and create more sophisticated weapons.
Journal "New defense order. Strategies" №1 (38), 2016