Russian Military-Industrial Complex Finds New Customers – Part I

Dear Readers:

One unintended consequence of the Syria War (unintended, that is, from the point of view of the aggressors) is that Russian military hardware has found new fans, and new customers, around the world.  Customers who are impressed with the performance of the Russian equipment in actual war-time conditions.  Russian hardware has proved to be durable, easy to use, and relatively cheap, especially when compared with American behemoth systems.   Americans are innovators, there is no doubt about that; and yet it is a familiar story that American inventiveness, in modern times, tends to focus on ornamentation and fiddly details, allegedly “smart” systems with lots of gadgets, widgets and optional “features”; but sometimes SIMPLER IS BETTER, especially in war.  As is OLD SCHOOL vs new school.  Also highly important for anybody producing a product, whether it’s an Espresso maker or anti-air defense systems, is good customer service.   And that means respecting your customer and being there for them.  Almost anything you buy nowadays at any level, you have to trust your supplier that he will be there for you any time you need parts, training, or service.

So, I have a series of stories here, all from the Ria Novosti outlet, and containing good news for the Russian Military-Industrial Complex and its bottom line.  After watching the Syria shenanigans, customers are lining up to buy Russian systems.  With the great prices and the proven track record, they would be crazy not to!

Let us start with this piece which, like all of today’s links, comprises various Leitmotifs within an aria sung by Mr. Alexander Mikheev, General Director of the Russian state entity known as Ros-Oboron-Export (Russian Defense Export).  Reporters found Mr. Mikheev in Kuala-Lumpur, Malaysia, where he was demo-ing Russian goodies at a weapons show called DSA-2018, while busy concluding contracts for sales and delivery.  Quoting Mikheev:  “Our work nowadays happens in complicated economic, political, and competitive circumstances.  In order to preserve our position on the international arms market, Ros-Oboron-Export is working out innovative and unique propositions to our partners, including the transmission of technology.  Special attention is being paid to the localization of production, and also to the post-sale servicing requirements.”

Alexander Mikheev

In this related soundbite, Mikheev stated that Ros-Oboron-Export signed almost 1,100 contracts in the year 2017, with 53 different nations, comprising around $15 billion dollars.  Russia started to become more popular as a weapons provider partly because of the Syria War:  “We are experiencing a heightened interest of our international partners, since our military technology has proved its tactical and technical characteristics in actual combat conditions, namely the Anti-Terrorist Operation in Syria.  This is true of our military jets, our tanks, and our engineering-Sapper technology, not to mention our naval, air, and land systems.  Yes, one could say that there is interest for all of Russian military production.  Are there concrete proposals and a growth in our portfolio of orders?  Yes, of course, but we can’t rush too far ahead of ourselves.”

Mikheev went on to specify that 30% of Ros-Oboron-Export’s $45 billion portfolio consists of customer orders for the air-defense and electronic radio systems.  One can only imagine that interest in these systems will increase after they proved their worth in Damascus just this past weekend.

In this related piece, Mikheev gives a detailed interview, which is fairly long, and I will translate/summarize in a separate post, hopefully tomorrow.

[to be continued]

This entry was posted in Military and War, The Great Game and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Russian Military-Industrial Complex Finds New Customers – Part I

  1. Mark Chapman says:

    An excellent and interesting post, I will look forward to Part II. Russian equipment, generally speaking (with some obvious exceptions such as fighter aircraft) is designed to be operated by conscripts with limited training time, and to function in a field environment where you might not have access to many tools except what you brought with you. Just about every consequence of neglect and indifferent maintenance is allowed for; not, of course, to encourage such practices, but to increase the probability the system will still work even if it is dirty, freezing and has not been kept in showroom condition. It is designed to be operated simply, by people who might not have an electronics degree or an inborn genius for tactics, without much advice from Command who might be already dead. Consequently it has gotten a bit of a reputation in the west for being clunky, slow and not very technologically advanced, like the west’s ‘smart’ missiles and bombs. But Russian military equipment was never going to find much market share in the west, anyway – they’re the enemy. It is, however, attracting a good deal of interest in non-aligned countries who don’t necessarily like being told what to do by the west. And who cannot have failed to remark the recent western cruise-missile strike against Syria, and its not-very-effective outcome. I daresay more information will come out in the next weeks on actual destruction figures, but at the moment it does not look like a very good advertisement for western technology. As in any situation which has only two sides, it therefore looks disproportionately like a good advertisement for whatever the defenders used to minimize their own vulnerability.

    It’s beginning to shape up like “Own-Goal” might become a future Olympic sport. From which the Russians will be disqualified, of course, because they’re drug cheats. But it looks like they would never be able to match the western prowess at shooting oneself in the foot anyway.


    • yalensis says:

      Famous quote from “The Caine Mutiny”, one of my favorite American novels:
      “The Navy is a system designed by geniuses to be executed by idiots.”

      What Wouk was actually talking about was the “operations manuals” stored on each naval vessel. Supposedly, the operations system was fool-proof, in that if followed, even by complete moron draftees, then everything would work out okay, because the system itself was designed by geniuses.

      In the software world, this is considered the Holy Grail: an application so brilliant that even idiots cannot break it!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s