Report: Russian Weapons Systems Competitive with NATO Counterparts, Also Cheaper

S-300 air defense system

From Charles Clover, Financial Times:  “Ever since Soviet days we have been lagging behind the US in military aviation,” says Mr [director of the Moscow-based Centre for Analysis of Strategies and Technologies Ruslan] Pukhov.

As a result, he adds, Russian air defence systems such as the S-300 and S-400 are the best in the world because Soviet strategic planners invested heavily in air defence, perceiving a gap in aviation.

“It’s like boxing, if you have a weak right arm, you need to compensate by a strong left arm. Soviet strategists made up for a weakness in aviation by investing heavily in air defence systems.”

The S-300 and the more advanced S-400 are judged to be “game changers” by US analysts for their 200km range and ability to engage multiple targets at the same time. Because of US and Israeli objections, Russia was forced to cancel a contract to sell an S-300 system to Iran in 2010. The Kremlin faces mounting pressure to scratch a similar contract to sell to Syria, though Russian officials have said the sale will go ahead.

The concern generated by the S-300 shows that many Russian weapons systems are competitive with Nato systems, while being a good deal cheaper than their US counterparts. Sukhois and MiGs are about 30 per cent cheaper than their US counterparts, which has helped pump up sales.

Last year, according to President Vladimir Putin, Russia’s military exports topped $15bn, a 12 per cent increase from the year before, while Russia has stubbornly held on to its second place behind the US in weapons exports since the end of the cold war.  (photo: Dmitriy Korobeinikov/RIA Novosti)

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