Appendix G: Defense Industry and Modernization Programs

Russia’s huge defense industrial complex focuses predominantly on weapons production, though the goal is to move toward a combination of military and non-military products.527 President Vladimir Putin and Deputy Premier Dmitriy Rogozin, whose government portfolio covers the defense industry, have said that high levels of spending on the military and defense industrial complex will benefit the entire economy.528,529 In April 2016, Putin announced Russia’s arms sales from the last year had been higher than planned, totaling $14.5 billion, with additional orders for $56 billion, the highest since 1992.530,531 However, while Moscow’s pursuit of arms trade deals abroad may help partially offset challenging financial conditions and support continued military modernization goals, significant problems remain.

Challenges, partly due to Western sanctions, have slowed production for some weapons and equipment. Russian industry’s dependence on weapons production, the depreciation of the ruble, and grow ing interest rates on industrial loans, which are used to finance facility modernization and production expenses, have increased business costs for Russian defense firms.532 Russian economists have warned that the resulting imbalance between civilian and military spending could be problematic.533,534,535,536

Russia’s 2011-2020 State Armaments Program reflects President Putin’s ambitious mandate that 70% of Russia’s weapons inventory consist of new or upgraded equipment by 2020.537,538 In pursuit of that goal, Putin personally makes decisions about the defense industry’s weapons modernization, production, and financing. Putin reestablished the Military Industrial Commission (VPK) in 2007 to better manage state control of defense production and acquisition.539,540

Since May 2013, Putin has chaired week-long working groups with the Defense Ministry and defense industry leadership twice a year to monitor program implementation and oversee adjustments.541,542,543 By 2014, Putin decreed himself Chairman of the VPK, probably to ensure that defense modernization efforts were fulfilled within economic constraints.544,545 At the same time, Defense Minister Shoygu set up a half dozen new Defense Ministry scientific and technical organizations, headed by military scientists, to place priority on defense orders that were cutting-edge, Russian-made, and technologically feasible.546,547

The following are examples of weapons systems in active production, testing, or assimilation into military use, indicating current Russian leadership priorities for defense industry.

Ballistic Missile Sector

A key area of development detailed in Russia’s 2011—2020 State Armament Program are the ballistic missile forces, which form the backbone of Moscow’s nuclear triad.548,549 Russia has three competent bureaus that specialize in the design and development of ballistic missiles.550 Russia’s modernization efforts are driven by an aging missile inventory, the need to maintain a credible launch capability, and concern with the deployment of anti-missile defense systems by the United States.551 As of 2015, modernized systems only made up 56% of the missile force; they are scheduled to reach 100% by 2022.552

Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBM)

Russia has several legacy ICBMs in its active inventory, including the SS-18, SS-19, and SS-25 that are being replaced by the SS-27, Sarmat, and SS-27 Mod 2; replacements should be completed by 2022.553,554,555

The SS-27 is a solid-propellant ICBM (silo and mobile variants), which uses a delivery vehicle made by the Minsk Heavy Wheeled Vehicle Factory in Belarus with launch equipment added by TsKb Titan in Volgograd. The SS-27 missile was designed by several institutes: the Moscow Institute of Thermal Technology for the overall design, NPO Soyuz in Lubertsy for the three sohd rocket motors, the All-Union Scientific Research Institute of Experimental Physics in Sarov for the nuclear warhead, and GPO Votkinskiy Mekhanicheskiy Zavod in Votkinsk for final assembly.556,557,558

SS-27 Mod 2 ICBM.

The Sarmat heavy ICBM is still in testing with the State Missile Center Makeyev and is scheduled to complete development around 2018.559 The missile will be manufactured by the Krasnoyarsk Machine Budding Plant, while the NPO Energomash-designed motor will be produced by Proton-PM based in Perm.560

A new solid-propellant ICBM, the RS-26 (Rubezh), was developed as a lighter version of the SS-27 and will only be deployed as a mobile variant sometime in 2017.561 The missile’s lower weight increases mobility and survivability, and the RS-26 will make use of various countermeasures to penetrate anti-missile defense systems.562

In addition, Russian officials claim a new class of hypersonic vehicle is being developed to allow Russian strategic missiles to penetrate missile defense systems. Hypersonic glide vehicles are maneuverable vehicles that travel at hypersonic (typically greater than Mach 5) speed and spend most of their flight at much lower altitudes than a typical ballistic missile. Press reporting claimed a successful test of this system from an SS-19 booster occurred in April 2016.563

Submarine-Launched Ballistic Missiles (SLBM)

The SS-N-18 SLBM, first deployed in 1978, is a two-stage liquid-propellant system designed to be launched from a DELTA III submarine. The latest version, the SS-N-18 Mod 3, can carry up to three warheads to a maximum range of over 5,500 kilometers.564

The SS-N-23, initially deployed in 1989, is a three-stage, liquid-propellant missile designed by the State Missile Center Makeyev. It can carry four warheads to a range of over 8,000-km and is launched from Delta IV submarines.565 An upgrade of the SS-N-23, known as SINEVA, was completed in 2007 by the Krasnoyarsk Machine Building Plant.566

The SS-N-32 BULAVA is a solid-propellant, sea-launched ballistic missile that underwent a 19-year development cycle at the Moscow Institute of Thermal Technology.567 The BULAVA can carry up to six independent nuclear warheads to a range of around 8,000 kilometers, is in service on the DOLGORUKIY-class submarines, and is replacing older SLBMs in the Russian inventory.568,569

Short-Range Ballistic Missiles (SRBM)

The SS-21 TOCHKA is a mobile, single-stage, solid-propellant missile; it originally entered service around 1976. The latest TOCHKA-U version entered service in 1990 and is the most capable system (maximum range of 120 kilometers, inertial navigation with GLONASS updates, and radar or optical terminal guidance).570 571

SS-26 ISKANDER-M is a mobile, single-stage, solid-propellant missile that is replacing the SS-21. The ISKANDER is equipped with an inertial/GLONASS guidance system and either radar, electro-optical, or infrared image matching terminal guidance system, enabling it to strike moving targets.572

Russian ISKANDER-M missile system.

Cruise Missile Sector

Russia’s 2011-2020 State Armament Program also places a priority focus on the development and production of highly capable cruise missile systems.573 Russia has invested heavily in the development of air-, ground-, and sea-launched cruise missiles, and the development or refurbishment of associated launch platforms.574 In addition to developing domestic variants, Russia is focused on producing export variants of several cruise missile systems to remain competitive in the international arms market.575

Russia’s Tactical Missile Corporation

Russia’s Federal Target Program for “Restructuring and Development of [the] Defense Industry (2002-2006)” and a Presidential decree in January 2002 prompted the establishment of the Tactical Missile Corporation (KRTV). The corporation, which has oversight of 30 weapon manufacturing enterprises, is Russia’s largest developer and producer of anti-ship, anti-radar, and multipurpose missiles for tactical airborne, ship borne, and coastal cruise missile systems.576,577

In 2014, the General Director of KRTV reported that the corporation received about $1 billion from the Federally Targeted Program for the Development of the Defense Industry (OPK) through 2020 to help modernize and re-equip production facilities.578,579 To increase production capacity, Russia focused on improving production facilities in anticipation of the high production demands under the State Armament Program 2020.580

Air-Launched Cruise Missiles (ALCM)

Russia is in the process of refurbishing its long-range strategic bombers to carry the newest air-launched cruise missiles, the Kh-101 (conventional) and the Kh-102 (nuclear-variant). These missiles were developed by the Raduga Science and Production Association [Machine-Building Design Bureau], a Tactical Missile Corporation subsidiary located in Dubna.581 The missiles are the follow-on system to the Kh-55, the main armament of Russia’s Tu-95 and Tu-160 bombers.582,583

Sea-Launched Cruise Missiles (SLCM)

The KALIBR-family of cruise missiles are some of Russia’s most capable systems. Designed by the Novator Design Bureau, a subsidiary of Almaz-Antey, the KALIBR-class missiles are the more capable domestic versions of the CLUB-family, which Russia has exported for several years.584The KALIBR class of missiles reportedly has an operational range up to 2,500 kilometers and has a lower flight profile than other Russian cruise missile systems.585,586 The 3M-14 (SS-N-30A) is a long-range, land-attack cruise missile capable of carrying conventional or nuclear warheads.587The 3M-54 (SS-N-27A) is an antiship missile, capable of being launched from submarine and surface ships.588

The ONIKS (SS-N-26) anti-ship cruise missile is another capable weapon system produced in Russia that also has a land-based variant, the BASTION mobile shore-based missile complex.589

Russia is also developing and testing the TSIRKON, its first hypersonic anti-ship cruise missile. This missile, which is expected to enter service in 2018, will have a 500 to 1,000-km range.590 Once operational, the nuclear-powered guided missile cruiser ADMIRAL NAKHIMOV will be one of the first naval vessels to carry these cruise missiles.591

Russia demonstrated some of its newest capabilities in military technology in its Syria campaign. Russia’s use of the KALIBR sea-launched cruise missile, including launches from a submerged submarine, and of the Kh-101 air-launched cruise missile for the first time in a combat situation demonstrated its advancements in precision-guided munitions.592

Surface-to-Air Missiles (SAM)

Russia’s surface-to-air missile (SAM) systems remain among the best in the world, and Russia maintains a robust production capacity to satisfy both domestic and export requirements. In recent years, Russia has also developed several highly-capable SAM systems and has invested in new infrastructure to support aggressive SAM production schedules.593 Many countries, including China, are interested in acquiring some of Russia’s longer-range systems.594

Almaz-Antey is Russia’s primary company responsible for development and product ion of air defense systems, including land-based and naval short, medium, and long-range air defense missile; systems, ground surveillance radar stations, and automated control systems. Almaz-Antey formed in 2002 as a result of a merger between Antey Corporation and NPO Almaz.595,596

Long-Range SAMs

Russia is adding new defense infrastructure to increase production of its newest long-range SAM system, the S-400; S-400 (SA-21) regiments are operational throughout Russia.597,598

S-400 long-range SAM system.

The ANTEY-2500 is a long-range air defense system that reportedly can engage short-and intermediate-range ballistic missiles, cruise missiles, precision-guided weapons, strategic and tactical aircraft, as well as early warning and electronic warfare aircraft.599

ANTEY-2500 long-range SAM system.

Short-to-Medium Range Priority SAMs

The PANTSIR-S/S1 is a short-range air defense system developed by the KBP (Instrument Design Bureau) Tula. It is armed with 12 missiles and two 30-mm anti-aircraft guns; for target acquisition and tracking it uses two radars and an electro-optical system. It was designed to defend ground installations and longer-range SAM systems against a variety of weapon systems, including fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters, precision guided missiles and cruise missiles, and unmanned air vehicles.600 It is usually deployed as a battery of 4-6 combat vehicles per site and each combat vehicle can engage up to four targets simultaneously. Russian air force plans to acquire 100-120 PANTSIR-S/S1 combat vehicles by 2020.601

Developmental Systems

The S-500 is a developmental system expected to have the capability to simultaneously engage 10 targets at a maximum range of 600 kilometers: it is expected to be operational around 2020.602

The Vityaz is a short-to-medium-range SAM system; Russia hopes to produce up to 30 systems by 2020.603 The Vityaz system reportedly can carry two types of missiles, the 9M96E missiles or the 9M100.

Air Sector

In 2006, Russia’s United Aircraft Corporation (UAC) was created to consolidate aircraft design and production companies under one state controlled corporation. UAC controls 18 companies responsible for the design and production of most military and civilian aircraft.604,605 UAC will have to deliver over 1,000 new airplanes and helicopters to Russia’s military forces by 2020 to meet modernization goals established in the 2011-2020 State Armament Program.606


Russia plans to upgrade and operate its fleet of Tu-160/BLACKJACK, Tu-95MS BEAR H, and Tu-22M/BACKFIRE bombers beyond 2030.607,608 The upgrades are intended to keep older aircraft operational until the fifth-generation PAK-DA bomber reaches production. The PAK-DA will have new navigation systems and the capability to deploy Kh-101/Kh-102 air-launched cruise missiles (ALCMs).609,610,611,612,613

Russia has restarted Tu-160M2/BLACKJACK initial production to fill a critical gap in aircraft availability. Serial production of new Tu-160M2/BLACKJACK bombers is scheduled to begin no earlier than 2023 at the Kazan Aircraft Plant. The new bombers will have NK-32 engines, which will be produced at the Samara-based enterprise Kuznetsov, currently being modernized to start production by 2020.614

PAK-FA (T-50) fighter.


Russian fighter production occurs at several plants, including the Sukhoi Aircraft-Manufacturing Plants in Komsomolsk, Irkutsk and Novosibirsk, which produce the Su-30SM, Su-34, and Su-35; the MiG plants in Lukhovitsy and Nizhniy Novgorod produce the MiG-29.615

The fifth-generation fighter (PAK-FA) program began in 2008 and is a high-priority item for the Russian air force. Six flying prototype aircraft were completed through 2016, with additional prototype aircraft in testing by the end of 2016. The Ministry of Defense plans to start serial production this year with the goal of producing 12 for the air force by 2020.616,617


The state corporation Russian Helicopters operates five primary helicopter plants that produce the Ka 52 and Mi-28 attack variants, Mi-8/17, Mi-35, Mi-26, and ANSAT for the armed forces and for export.618,619 Moscow’s previous reliance on helicopter engines produced in Ukraine has not adversely affected Russia’s ability to meet the needs of its military.620

Transport Aircraft

The UAC is responsible for operating two large aircraft production plants at Kazan and Ulyanovsk. Russia is producing its new transport, the I1-76MD-90A, which is a redesign of the Il-76/CANDID transport, and plans to produce 39 Il-76MD-90A planes by 2020.621 The Ilyushin Design Bureau has begun development of the I1-78MD-90A refueler and the Il-112 light military transport, based on Il-76 airframe design.622,623

Naval Sector

In an effort to streamline the design and construction of surface ships and submarines, President Putin established the United Shipbuilding Corporation in 2007 to provide oversight of all major domestic military and civilian shipbuilding. The corporation includes approximately 40 companies, including design bureaus and shipyards. Russia is currently upgrading and modernizing its naval fleet, constructing multi-role platforms with modular designs.624 However, some new platforms have taken up to, or over, a decade to complete construction and to enter into service as Russia’s shipbuilding industry is besieged by sanctions. Moscow is working to overcome the negative effects of international sanctions by becoming more self-reliant, indigenously producing components formerly purchased from foreign suppliers.625

Russia currently has eight operational shipyards dedicated to surface ship and submarine construction. While construction of patrol boats and corvettes has continued at a steady pace, major combatants and amphibious ships have encountered significant delays. For example, the Yantar Shipyard has faced difficulties meeting production deadlines during construction of the GRIGOROVICH FFG and IVAN GREN LST.

Surface Combatants

Construction of the ADMIRAL GRIGOROVICH and GORSHKOV-class frigates, along with the STEREGUSHCHIY-class corvette, was to mark Russia’s return as a shipbuilding power and are intended to become the backbone of the fleet. A total of 17 of the ships (6 GRIGOROVICH, 4 GORSHKOV, and 8 STEREGUSHCHIY) were ordered to be built. Final delivery of over half of these ships was disrupted due to the lack of gas turbine and diesel engines from Ukraine’s Zorya-Mashproyekt State Gas-Turbine Manufacturing Enterprise.626

Delivery of three GRIGOROVICH and two GORSHKOV frigates were eventually cancelled because domestically-produced gas-turbine engines would not be ready before 2020. The imported engines for the STEREGUSHCHIY corvettes have been replaced by domestic diesel engines produced by the Kolomna Engine Plant in Moscow, allowing for the production of corvettes and patrol boats to continue at a steady pace in spite of construction delays to the larger ships.627

GORSHKOV-class Frigate.

The Russian Navy has one operational aircraft carrier in its inventory, the 26-year-old ADMIRAL KUZNETSOV, which is expected to enter a 2- to 3-year overhaul period beginning in 2018. This overhaul is not scheduled to consist of any major modernization or modifications and will keep the KUZNETSOV in the fleet until a new aircraft carrier becomes operational.628 The Murmansk Shipyard is planning to convert and enlarge its drydock to overhaul the KUZNETSOV and to provide maintenance/repair service for large commercial ships. When complete, the result will be the country’s largest drydock (400 x 80 meters).629

Russia is planning to start the design of a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier (the Shtorm) in 2020, with completion by 2030. Based on a model mock-up and initial information, the carrier will have a beam of 40 meters and draft of 11 meters. Shtorm will be 330 meters in length, shorter than the U.S. Navy’s newest carrier but 10% longer and wider than the KUZNETSOV. The Shtorm will have RITM-200 nuclear reactors, a catapult, and two ski-jump ramps for launching aircraft and will be able to carry up to 90 aircraft and helicopters.630


Historically the backbone of the Russian Navy, 75% of the 61 operational submarines are over 20 years old and are slowly being replaced. Russia will continue production of its fourth-generation DOLGORUKIY-class submarines through 2020. There are currently three in service, with an additional eight scheduled to enter service in the coming years. Russia is also planning to construct a fifth-generation strategic missile SSBN between 2031 and 2050.631,632

The YASEN-class SSGN (Project 855, aka SEVERODVINSK) will replace aging VICTOR III SSNs. The YASEN is produced at the Sevmash shipyard; the first of up to 10 hulls was delivered to the Navy in 2014, but the program has encountered delays. The flagship of the class (hull 1) required 16 years to complete; hull 2 should soon be completed after 7 years.633 Modernization and upgrade efforts are occurring on the OSCAR II SSGN and SIERRA II SSNs. The improved KILO SSK class (Project 636.3) is being produced without significant delays. The initial order of 6 was expanded to 12 in early 2016. The first three KILOS were delivered to the Black Sea Fleet in 2014-2015.634


Ground Arms

Since 2010, there have been significant improvements in the condition of Russian ground arms, including the modernization and upgrade of the main battle tank (MBT) inventory. The active inventory includes the T-72, T-80U, and T-90 MBTs.635 The T-72 is one of Russia’s oldest active MBTs and has been upgraded to include substantial enhancements in explosive reactive armor, electronic components, and enhanced navigation systems.636 Russia’s newest in-service MBT, the T-90, features the new Sonsa-U sighting systems and Shtora soft-kill active protection system.637 While Russia’s Ministry of Defense planned to phase out the T-80, the Omsk Transport Machine Building Plant, one of Russia’s two MBT production and modernization facilities, is planning to upgrade the T-80U with Sosna-U, Relikt third-generation dynamic protection complex, and advanced radio and C2 systems.638

New Technology

The Uralvagonzavod (UVZ) Corporation is Russia’s primary MBT production and modernization center and is responsible for the production of Russia’s newest MBT (the Armata) to fulfill part of the 2020 and 2025 State Armament Program.639,640 The new-generation T-14 Armata MBT is being used as a common chassis for the Army’s heavy armored vehicles, including the T-15 Armata heavy infantry fighting vehicle (IFV) and the Koalitsiya-SV 2S35 self-propelled howitzer.641 This universal platform offers the Russian defense industry a more streamlined means of armored vehicle production and will reduce maintenance and modernization costs in the future.

T-14 Armata Tank.

Like the Armata, the Kurganets-25—slated to begin production in 2018—will provide a lighter, universal tracked platform for new IFVs and armored personnel carriers.642 The Bumerang wheeled armored personnel carrier has completed preliminary testing as of June 2016.643,644 Russia will continue to field the BMP-3 (-700 units), BMP-2 (-1,800 units), and BMP-1 (-500 units) while new systems are designed and produced.645 The BMP-3 is Russia’s most modem IFV in service.646

Russian artillery modernization efforts include the Koalitsiya-SV 2S35 152-mm self-propelled howitzer, which is intended to be the future of Russian self-propelled artillery units and will ultimately phase out the 2S19 Msta-S.647 Several of Russia’s multiple rocket launchers (MRLs) have also been improved: the URAGAN 220mm MRL, the SMERCH 300mm MRL, and the new TORNADO-2 300 MRL, which is a modernized version of the SMERCH.648 Russian MRLs are produced in large quantities for the Russian Army and export customers worldwide.649

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