Russian Defense Minister Discusses Military Programs

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu detailed expected delivery dates of advanced Russian military programs on May 24, 2017.

Speaking to the upper house of Russia’s Parliament, Defense Minister Shoigu stated, “The deliveries of T-50 perspective frontline aviation platforms from 2019 and S-500 air defense missile systems in 2020 will raise the efficiency of fighting modern aerospace attack means.” The T-50, also referred to as the PAK FA, is a fifth-generation stealth fighter jet.

Russian officials have previously indicated that the PAK FA would go into serial production starting in 2019, with an expectation that it would enter operational service in 2021 at the earliest. The S-500, meanwhile, is not expected to go into serial production until after 2020.

Both the S-500 and the PAK FA are expected to be included in the state armaments program for 2018-2025.

“As a whole, the pace that has been gained will allow accomplishing the task set by the president of the Russian Federation and reaching the level of the Armed Forces’ armament with modern weaponry at no less than 70% by late 2020. This will allow Russia to keep its positions as the most developed state in military terms,” he said.

The Defense Minister also spoke about the Tu-160M2, a strategic bomber currently under development. Russia announced several years ago that it would restart production of the Tu-160 in a modernized form.

“After 2021, we plan to begin the serial production of the modernized Tu-160M2 strategic missile carrier, which is capable of striking hostile ground objectives in remote strategic areas without entering the zones of operation of anti-ballistic missile and air defense systems,” said Defense Minister Shoigu.

A Tupolev official said earlier this month that he expected an initial prototype of the Tu-160M2 to be built by 2019. Serial production, according to Tass News Agency, may begin the following year.

Once serial production of the Tu-160M2 begins, Russia could produce two or three bombers per year, with an expectation that between 30 and 50 will be produced over the life of the program.

About Derek Bisaccio

Military markets analyst, covering Eurasia, Middle East, and Africa.

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