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#1 (19), 2010

Defense Industry
Russia Joins the Fifth-Gen Game

2

PUBLISHER

Centre for
Analysis of
Strategies and
Technologies
CAST Director & Publisher
Ruslan Pukhov
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Mikhail Barabanov
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Energy Security
Russia’s Efforts to Secure EU Gas Market
Iran Breakthrough for Russian Nuclear Industry

3
6

Arms Trade
Russian Arms Trade in 2009: Figures, Trends and Projections
Naval Build-up and New Submarines in Asia-Pacific:
Growing Security Risks

9
17

Armed Forces
Interview with Admiral Vladimir Vysotskiy,
Commander of the Russian Navy

21

Facts & Figures
Non-combat Losses of Russian Military Aviation in 2000-2010 25

Our Authors

32

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Translated by: Ivan Khokhotva
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Cover Photo: Russia’s fifth-generation fighter, the T-50, developed under
the Sukhoi corporation’s PAK FA project and first flown on January 29, 2010.
Photo taken on February 12, 2010, at the Komsomolsk-upon-Amur airfield,
during the T-50’s second test flight.
Photo by: Sukhoi Corporation
© Centre for Analysis of Strategies and Technologies, 2010
Printed in Russia

# 1, 2010 Moscow Defense Brief

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Defense Industry

Russia Joins the Fifth-Gen Game
Konstantin Makienko

R

ussia flew a prototype of its fifth-generation fighter on
January 29, 2010, in what analysts agree was a major
milestone for the national aerospace industry. The Sukhoi
corporation’s T-50 jet, developed under the PAK FA (Future
Front Line Aircraft System) program, took off from a
Komsomolsk-upon-Amur airfield for a 47-minute maiden
flight. The aircraft is the first radically new Russian design
that looks likely to enter commercial production since the
first MiG-29 and Su-27 prototypes of the previous fourth
generation took to the air back in 1977.
The maiden flight of the PAK FA has broken America’s
complete monopoly on the development and production of
fifth-generation fighter jets. It has also demonstrated that
while not America’s equal militarily, Russia is still a solid
second in terms of defense technology, outranking both
Western Europe and China and punching well above its
economic weight.
But while the maiden flight itself was a major coup for
Russia, the success of the PAK FA program is not a foregone
conclusion. Serious financial, technical and even political
hurdles still remain. They have the potential to cause major
delays or even stall the program completely.
•• In terms of technology, the biggest worry is the remaining
uncertainty over the so-called “next engine”. The existing
T-50-01 prototype is equipped with deeply upgraded
fourth-generation engines. And while they provide
the necessary amount of thrust (even for supersonic
cruising), they are not up to the fifth-generation spec in
terms of the thrust-to-weight ratio and fuel economy.
Many observers are skeptical about Russia’s chances
of creating a proper fifth-generation engine that could
compete with America’s Pratt & Whitney F119. Problems
also remain with the new radar and other onboard
equipment, but recent progress suggests that the risks
here are moderate.
•• The financial risks stem from uncertainty over Russia’s
economic prospects, which are too dependent on exports
of oil, gas and other natural resources. The PAK FA project
could well grind to a halt if the country suffers another
economic shock like the one it went through in 2009, when
the economy shrank by 8 per cent and the budget deficit
spiraled to 5.9 per cent.

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# 1, 2010 Moscow Defense Brief
Russia Joins the Fifth-Gen Game

•• The political risk is that cumbersome Russian bureaucracy
could well stymie Indian participation in the program.
And without the Indians, mass production becomes
commercially unviable because the Russian Defense
Ministry’s order for the new jets will be very modest.
But although it would take at least another decade
to turn PAK FA into a proper combat system, the maiden
flight of the T-50 has been a major boost for the Russian
aerospace industry. Its existing customers can now see a clear
way forward for their national air forces, and their choice of
Russia as a supplier has been vindicated. Russia can now
negotiate with potential foreign customers from a much
stronger position, and that includes civilian contracts as well
as military. Several countries, including Libya and Vietnam,
have already expressed their interest in the future Russian
fifth-generation fighter.
Of course, any serious military, political or commercial
dividends of the PAK FA program hinge on Russia’s ability
to take it from the prototype stage to mass production. If
that happens, America’s F-35 and the Russian T-50 will
be the only two players on the world market for combat
aircraft after 2020. The European offerings, which are all
based on essentially fourth-generation technology, will be
marginalized, and Europe itself will most likely be eliminated
as a serious competitor. That opens up very alluring and
hitherto inconceivable prospects of cooperation between the
Russian aerospace industry and some European aerospace
powers which still retain a large degree of sovereignty and
independence from the United States.
At present, very little is known about the T-50’s onboard
equipment, and even less about its future missile systems, so
there is no point trying to compare the Russian and American
fifth-generation fighters in terms of their combat capability.
But it would not be much of a stretch to say that regardless of
the T-50’s actual strengths and weaknesses, it is guaranteed
to seize up to 30 per cent of the market simply by virtue of not
being American. The new Russian-Indian fighter clearly has
excellent prospects on the Asia-Pacific markets, especially
those which Russia has already staked. What is more, when
paired with the Su-35, the T-50 could be an even more
enticing offering that America’s much-vaunted bestseller of
the future, the F-35.

Energy Security

Russia’s Efforts to Secure EU Gas
Market
Natalia Grib, Kommersant publishing house special energy correspondent

R

ussia is pursuing a number of strategies to secure its
presence on the European Union’s gas market. The most
obvious one is to build new pipelines bypassing the existing
short overland routes. These include the Nord Stream
pipeline in the Baltics and the South Stream in the Black Sea
region.A closer look at Russia’s energy policy also reveals that
Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin is trying to help his
Turkish counterpart to keep his hand firmly on the tap of the
proposed Nabucco pipeline from the Middle East to Europe.
Finally, there are signs that Moscow is trying to secure a role
for itself in future Iranian energy projects, so as to make sure
that cheap Iranian gas does not knock down prices on the
European market. The results of these efforts should become
obvious some time after 2015.

Strategy One: the gas “pincers”
The idea of building offshore gas pipelines that would
bypass transit countries came to Vladimir Putin in 20042005. Russia’s Yamal-Europe pipeline, which was aiming to
bring 33bn cubic meters (bcm) of gas annually from Siberian
gas fields to consumers in Germany, was facing political
obstacles in Belarus and Poland. Belarusian leader Aleksandr
Lukashenko was refusing to grant Gazprom a long-term lease
of the land plots for the new pipeline’s pumping stations.
And the Polish authorities said the Russian gas giant should
seek individual settlement with each Polish farmer whose
lands the pipeline would cross - on top of demanding much
higher transit fees. That is when the decision was made in
Moscow to seek a direct route to Germany, bypassing the
transit nations.
Russia’s then president and now prime minister,
Vladimir Putin, said Germany would be taken into “gas
pincers”. That is what the two proposed new gas pipelines,
Nord Stream and South Stream, looked like on the map.
The former would follow the route along the bottom of the
Baltic Sea from Vyborg in Leningrad Region to the German
town of Greifswald. The latter would take Russian gas along
the bottom of the Black Sea from the pumping station of
Beregovaya to the Bulgarian port of Varna.
The Nord Stream project, with annual capacity of 55
bcm and projected cost of 7.4bn euros, is much closer to
fruition than South Stream. The first leg of the pipeline,

with a total length of 1,220 km and annual capacity of
27.5 bcm, is expected to become operational in 2011. The
second leg should follow in 2012. But the project is facing
financial hurdles. A new law that came into force in Germany
on October 2009 limits the margin of profit for gas transit
projects to 5 per cent. But shareholders of Nord Stream
AG are determined to solve that problem. Among them is
Gazprom itself, which owns a 51-per-cent stake, as well as
BASF/Wintershall and E.ON Ruhrgas (20 per cent each),
and Gasunie (9 per cent). If France’s GDF SUEZ accepts the
invitation to join the project, it will own a 9-per-cent stake,
while the shares of the two German partners will be reduced
to 15.5 per cent each.
Gazprom has already signed new contracts to supply 21
bcm of gas annually via Nord Stream. The remaining 33 bcm
of the pipeline’s capacity will be filled with gas rerouted from
the existing pipelines that cross Belarusian and Ukrainian
territory. As for South Stream, so far Russia has not even
bothered to look for potential new customers. The new
pipeline’s projected capacity is over 60 bcm. That makes
it a viable alternative to the Ukrainian gas transit system
(total transit capacity 120 bcm), on which 75 to 80 per cent
of Russian gas exports to Europe now depend.
South Stream should take the route along the Turkish
shelf of the Black Sea from Russia to Bulgaria, and then on to
Italy and the south of Germany, with spurs from Bulgaria to
Serbia and Hungary, and then on to Austria and north Italy.
The total cost of the project is 8.4bn euros; annual capacity
63 bcm. The projected launch date is 2015. So far, the list of
shareholders includes only Gazprom and Italy’s ENI (50 per
cent each). But it is very likely that they will be joined by
France’s EDF and possibly Turkey’s Botas.
Nord Stream has by now become a near certainty. The EU
has even granted this project trans-European status, which
means that it can use state guarantees to attract investment.
South Stream, however, is still in the realm of discussion
and speculation. For example, Turkish experts argue that
Ukraine’s president-elect Viktor Yanukovich could improve
relations with Russia in the area of gas transit so much
that there would no longer be any need for a new pipeline
bypassing Ukraine. But the Russian Energy Ministry and
Gazprom have already expended so much effort on getting
the EU countries along the proposed route of South Stream
to join the project that the whole thing is now unlikely to
# 1, 2010 Moscow Defense Brief
Russia’s Efforts to Secure EU Gas Market

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Energy Security
be simply called off – ­though the project can of course be
reshaped yet again.

Strategy Two: the Turkish Gambit
Turkey, meanwhile, has found itself at the very epicenter
of many nations’ energy policy interests. Europe, the Middle
East, Russia and Central Asia are all now wooing Ankara for
political and economic cooperation. So far, only the EU has
been successful. Five European energy companies (Germany’s
RWE,Austria’s OMV, Romania’s Transgaz, Bulgaria’s Bulgargaz
and Hungary’s MOL) signed a memorandum with Turkey’s
Botas in June 2009 on building the Nabucco pipeline, using
Turkey’s system of gas pipelines as a component of the transit
route. Starting from 2015, the EU will begin to receive an
additional annual 30 bcm of gas via Turkey.
The Nabucco project hoped to secure gas supplies from
Iran, Iraq, Egypt, Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan. But Russia
has now signed a contract to buy all Azeri gas exports in the
near and medium term. The Trans-Caspian pipeline project,
which would connect Turkmen gas fields with Georgia and
Turkey, has also been shelved. Supplies from Egypt (1bn
cu.m.) and Iraq (6-10bn) are clearly not enough to keep
Nabucco in business. And Iran cannot be used as a supplier
for political reasons, at least for now. Against this backdrop,
the Turkish government has invited Russia to use Nabucco as
an export route. For Turkey, it does not matter where the gas
comes from - Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan or Russia – so long
as there’s enough of it for the pipeline to operate.
But Russia has other plans for cooperation with Turkey.
In January 2010, Gazprom said that it now considers Turkey
a strategic partner, along with Germany and Italy. What is
more, Moscow has decided to waive the 1bn dollar fine owed
to it by Turkey for buying less Russian gas in 2009 than it had
originally contracted. In return, Vladimir Putin has secured
a promise by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan
that Ankara would give a formal consent to the proposed route
of South Stream by November 10, 2010. Russia also expects
favors from Turkey during the upcoming privatizations of
the gas pipeline networks of Istanbul (worth an estimated
2bn USD) and Ankara (500m-800m USD). Gazprom has also
shown interest in the new Turkish underground gas storage
facility now under construction in Tuz.
Work to secure Russian involvement in the SamsunCeyhan oil pipeline, which is designed to reduce the volume
of oil shipments via the Bosporus, is proceeding very slowly.
Turkey wants to speed it up, but it refuses to allow Rosneft
and Transneft to take a controlling 50-per-cent stake in the
pipeline. This is why it has been decided to invite ENI to join
the project. It is hoped that the Italians will help the Russians
and the Turks reach an agreement. Italy played a key role in
the project to build another pipeline from Russia to Turkey,

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# 1, 2010 Moscow Defense Brief
Russia’s Efforts to Secure EU Gas Market

the Blue Stream, with annual capacity of 16 bcm. Gazrpom,
ENI and Botas each own a 33.33-per-cent stake in the venture.
But when Russia tried in 2005 to secure Turkish consent for
building a pipeline to carry Russian gas to Israel via Turkish
territory, Ankara said no.
Discussions are now under way on the Blue Stream-2
project to supply gas to Israel and Cyprus. It is not quite clear
though which part of Cyrpus would benefit from this project
- the north, which is under Turkish control, or the rest of the
island, which is part of the EU. Moscow’s main goal in its
dealings with Ankara is to secure as much clout in the region
on energy policy issues as only Washington has wielded, until
very recently. The United States still has a lot of influence
on Turkey, but Ankara has been increasingly keen to make
independent decisions. Whether or not Moscow’s ambitions
will succeed depends on which of the two pipelines comes
first to the finish line, South Stream or Nabucco. Whoever
is the first to reach the consumer will secure guaranteed
profits.

Strategy Three: Iran as a gas Klondike
The world is changing. Every nation watching Iran now
has one thing on its mind. Everyone is waiting to see who will
succeed in bringing Iranian gas to the EU market, and when. In
late 2009, Russia and Iran announced an agreement between
the two countries’ energy ministries to develop a joint energy
action plan for the next 30 years. For Iran, this represents a
chance to attract some of the 20bn dollars the country has
been promised by foreign energy companies to develop the
South Pars gas field (the world’s largest, containing 14 trillion
cubic meters of high-quality methane, which is also cheap to
produce). For Russia, which is lining up to take part in Iranian
projects, the true objective is to have a say in steering Middle
Eastern energy flows to the consumer markets.
Tehran has lately been busy developing cooperation
with foreign partners in an effort to avoid UN sanctions
and especially any military action by Washington, which
experts say is becoming increasingly likely. Over the past
year Iran has signed a memorandum with Turkey, which
will invest 4bn dollars over the period of 2010-2013, as well
as several other agreements with India, the Anglo-Dutch
energy giant Shell, and Gazprom. Meanwhile, Moscow and
Delhi are trying to win Tehran’s support for the proposal
to build the Peace gas pipeline connecting the South Pars
field with India via Pakistan, with annual capacity of 60
bcm. And while India’s only concern is to secure another
energy source for its growing economy, Russia’s goals here
are more ambitions.
Moscow wants to make sure that new gas production
in the Middle East and Central Asia is channelled to the
Asia-Pacific markets rather than Europe. That is why the top

Energy Security
managers of Gazprom were not too distraught by the launch
of the Turkmenistan-China gas pipeline (annual capacity 40
bcm). China is not prepared to pay too much for its gas anyway,
so the new pipeline helps Russia by removing a potential
competitor from the European market and diverting new
gas production to the developing Asian markets. Meanwhile,
continuing economic growth in China and India gives Russia
hope that in time, it will find a buyer there for its more costly
gas from the Siberian and Yamal fields.
The Iranian gas fields lie just below the surface, and
most of the gas they hold is recoverable. Russia, meanwhile,

ranks first in terms of its total gas reserves, but only about 20
per cent of this gas is economical to produce at the current
prices. This is why Russia is trying to orchestrate careful
coordination of energy flows to the export markets with
Iran and other members of the Gas Exporting Countries
Forum (GECF). It hopes to prevent a price war with Iran on
the European markets. These considerations are also part
of the reason why Moscow supports sanctions against Iran
in the IAEA framework. It seems that political backing for
international sanctions never comes without some energy
or military project in mind.

# 1, 2010 Moscow Defense Brief
Russia’s Efforts to Secure EU Gas Market

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Energy Security

Iran Breakthrough for Russian Nuclear
Industry
Anton Khlopkov

T

he long-awaited launch of the Bushehr nuclear power
plant in Iran may finally come this spring. If that happens,
commercial power generation could start before the year’s
end – it usually commences about six months after a reactor
goes live. However, in the case of Bushehr it could well take
longer – the reactor there is not a standard run-of-the-mill
unit, but rather a hybrid of Russian and German technology
(more on that later). The political situation over the Iranian
nuclear program could also bring further delays - although
the UN Security Council sanctions now in effect against
Iran (Resolutions 1696, 1737, 1747 and 1803) do not restrict
cooperation with Tehran on building nuclear power plants.
Be that as it may, Russia made a strategic decision on
whether or not to finish the construction of the first reactor
at Bushehr back in 2007, and that decision is unlikely to be
reversed now. Once the decision was made, first shipments
of nuclear fuel to Bushehr began in December 2007. The last
deliveries were made in January 2008. By February 2009,
construction and installation works at the Bushehr plant were
nearing completion . In January 2010, the reactor’s secondary
coolant circuit passed hydraulic tests . As the date of the
launch draws near, a closer look at the project’s turbulent
history and unusual nature might well be in order.
Whichever way you look at Bushehr – the technology
involved, the political environment, the financial complexity
or the challenging physical climate – the project is quite
simply unique. This nuclear plant is unlike anything else the
Soviet specialists have ever built abroad – or indeed anything
their foreign counterparts have built, either.

Background
Work on the project was launched by German specialists
in August 1975. The original plan was to build two 1,240 MW
energy reactors based on the Convoy design. The first was to
be finished by 1980, the second was to follow in 1981. But the
project was suspended due to lack of funding in 1979, when
Iran was facing a large budget deficit, and then completely
shelved after the Islamic revolution.
The first time Russian specialists visited the Bushehr
site was in 1994. Their job was to assess the damage done to
what the Germans had built by the passage of time and air
raids during the eight-year war with Iraq.

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# 1, 2010 Moscow Defense Brief
Iran Breakthrough for Russian Nuclear Industry

The general contractor of the project, Russia’s
Atomstroyexport, undertook to deliver the first power
generation block at Bushehr in a fully operational state under
a contract signed on January 8, 1995, and Addendum One of
August 29, 1998. The contract itself was based on a RussianIranian intergovernmental agreement on cooperation in
building a nuclear power plant on Iranian territory, signed
on August 25, 1992 .
It was 15 years on January 8, 2010 since the signing
of the Russian-Iranian contract on the completion of the
Bushehr NPP. Another big date is coming this August – it will
be 35 years since works began at the Bushehr site.

Problems with subcontractors
In January 1991 the government in Moscow ended its
subsidies to Soviet contractors building nuclear power plants
for foreign customers. Officials recognized the importance
of high-tech exports, and offered the exporters all kinds of
support - except financial.That forced many companies to look
for greener pastures. One such contractor,Atomenergoexport
(which later became Atomstroyexport after a merger) had
to diversify away from its core activity of building Sovietdesigned nuclear energy reactors abroad.
The company ended up making a living off exports
and imports of scrap metal, nonferrous metals and rareearth elements, consumer electronics, clothes and shoes. It
spent some of the proceeds on looking for new custom for
its core nuclear business - mostly just business trips and
consultations with potential clients who might want a Soviet/
Russian-designed nuclear power plant. In later years it also
did some pre-contract work on nuclear projects.
Another obstacle faced by potential new projects to build
nuclear reactors for foreign customers was the shortage of
Russian engineers and technicians with suitable experience.
Back at the time, the last nuclear energy reactor built in
the former Soviet Union itself was the No 6 reactor at the
Zaporizhzhya NPP, Ukraine. That is why Ukrainian specialists
were invited to work in Iran after they had completed their stints
at Zaporizhzhya.At some point Ukrainians made up 80 per cent
of all non-Iranian personnel working at the Bushehr site.
Meanwhile, the qualification and skills of the Iranian
subcontractors working at Bushehr had proved inadequate.

Energy Security
The Iranians had only minimal involvement in the project
when the Germans were in charge. But under the January
1995 agreement between the Russian Ministry of Atomic
Energy (Minatom) and the Atomic Energy Organization
of Iran (AEOI), Iranian subcontractors secured a share of
construction and installation jobs.
It took these subcontractors three years (from 1995 to
1997) to do the work that should have been done in 12 months.
In order to keep the project on track, a Minatom delegation
sent to Tehran in 1998 pushed through the decision that the
Russian general contractor would finish the first reactor on
its own. An agreement to that effect was signed on August 29,
1998 as an addendum to the main contract.

Climate
The climate in the Bushehr area is very harsh. It is
extremely hot and humid, and there is lots of brine in the
air due to the proximity of the ocean. That puts additional
requirements on the equipment, because in a climate like
that, even stainless steel goes to rust. A special painting
technology had to be developed to protect the station’s
structural elements.
The high temperatures pose further problems. The
summer highs at the Bushehr site can reach +50C . When
Russian specialists arrived in the late 1990s, air conditioning
was not working yet, so temperatures within the containment
area would sometimes hit 60C . The Germans who worked at the
site in the 1970s had a special clause in their contract allowing
them to put all work on hold during the summer heat waves.

Integration of German and Russian technology
at Bushehr
By the middle of 1979, when the Germans departed, a
lot of equipment at the two reactor sites had already been
installed. It was then left mothballed for 20 years, so much
of it was damaged, and some components were lost. When
the Russian specialists arrived at Bushehr in 1994, all they
saw was heaps of machinery that had gone to rust, and no
manuals .
At the insistence of the Iranians, the Russian contractors
had to integrate most of the German hardware already in
place with the Russian VVER-1000 reactor design. The
German engineers had left behind a total of 80,000 pieces of
equipment and structural elements. Much of the technical
documentation was lost, damaged or incomplete . Russia
turned to Germany for help - but was rebuffed, primarily
for political reasons, by the government in Berlin, which
also imposed an embargo on exports to Iran of parts and
components for the nuclear power plant.

A decision was made to take stock of the existing
equipment using only Russian expertise. That took several
years, but in the end tens of thousands of pieces of hardware
were deemed fit for use with the Russian design. All of them
are now part of the nuclear power plant.
Another important detail which is now mostly forgotten
is that the initial German project would have allowed the
Bushehr NPP to double as a water desalination plant. But
that idea was abandoned in the later Russian iteration of the
Bushehr design.

Financial hurdles
During the negotiations on the Bushehr contract,
Tehran agreed to pay in several installments upon completion
of individual project milestones (as opposed to financing
the project by means of a Russian loan). What is more, the
Iranians agreed to pay 80 per cent in cash, and only 20 per cent
in kind . That was one of the major incentives for Minatom
to undertake the whole complicated project of finishing a
nuclear power plant started by the Germans . The total value
of the contract, as agreed in the 1998 protocol, was set at just
over 1bn dollars.
Ever since the signing of the addendum to the contract
in 1998, this figure has not been adjusted for inflation. A
serious strengthening of the euro against the dollar posed
a further problem, since some of equipment and material
suppliers come from the Euro area.
In February 2007, work at the Bushehr site started to
grind to a halt due to funding shortages. By the summer of
that year, the Russian contractor had reduced the number
of staff there from 3,000 to just 800 people . After some hard
bargaining, during which the Russian general contractor
even contemplated pulling out of the project, an agreement
was reached with the Iranians that the growing cost of
equipment and engineering works would be compensated
once the reactor goes live. The size of that compensation will
also be finalized once Bushehr becomes operational. This
resolution of the financial problems enabled Russia to make
first deliveries of nuclear fuel to Bushehr in December 2007,
thus ruling out the possibility that the project would once
again be abandoned.
Another difficulty the Russian contractor had to contend
with was that it was impossible to obtain a state loan in Russia
itself for getting the project rolling and for signing contracts
with equipment manufacturers.

US pressure
In the period from mid-1990s to mid-2000s, Russia’s
cooperation with Iran, especially on nuclear energy, was
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Iran Breakthrough for Russian Nuclear Industry

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Energy Security
the biggest thorn in the relations between Washington and
Moscow. After 1995, the “Iranian issue” informed America’s
stance on almost every single aspect of its dealings with
Russia, and especially cooperation in high-tech areas, such
as the International Space Station, peaceful use of nuclear
energy, launches of American satellites by Russian carriers,
etc . For nearly a decade the successive US administrations
viewed Russian-Iranian cooperation on Bushehr as evidence
of Moscow’s indirect support for the Iranian nuclear arms
program.
Washington spared no diplomatic effort to persuade
Russia to walk away from the Bushehr project, and to
get several other countries to ban their companies from
taking part. As already mentioned, Germany refused to
cooperate with Russia for political motives and under US
pressure. Ukraine and the Czech Republic soon followed
suit. Ukraine’s Turboatom was due to supply the turbine for
the nuclear plant. But those plans were cancelled during US
Secretary of State Madeleine Albright’s visit to Kiev on March
6, 1998. Kiev pulled out of the Iranian project in return for
Washington’s pledge to support Ukrainian membership
of the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) and
a (broken) promise of greater support for the country’s
energy sector, especially in Kharkiv Region (as part of the
so called Kharkiv Initiative). The Czech Republic’s ZVVZ
Milevsko was due to supply ventilation and air conditioning
equipment. But in March 2000, shortly before Madeleine
Albright’s visit to Prague, the Czech government passed a
law through parliament which effectively vetoed the deal.
Russia’s Atomstroyexport therefore suddenly faced the
problem of looking for alternative suppliers.
It also has to be said that apart from American (and
also Israeli) criticism, Minatom had to fend off domestic
opponents (although they represented a minority point of
view). They argued that the Bushehr project would further
sour the already tense relations with the West, and help Iran
develop military uses for nuclear energy.
Not before 2005 did George W Bush recognize that
the Bushehr nuclear plant poses no threat to the nuclear
nonproliferation regime.And in December 2007 he welcomed
the Russian decision to supply nuclear fuel to Bushehr,
arguing that this would remove the need for Iran to build its
own uranium enrichment facility or develop an independent
nuclear fuel cycle capability. Part of the reason for US support
was the deal signed by Moscow and Tehran on February 28,
2005, under which spent nuclear fuel from the Bushehr plant
would be shipped back to Russia.

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# 1, 2010 Moscow Defense Brief
Iran Breakthrough for Russian Nuclear Industry

Conclusion
1. The Bushehr project signed 15 years ago is no longer
a “life raft” for the Russian nuclear industry, which struggled
through the 1990s after state funding had suddenly dried
up. But it was the 1bn dollar Iranian contract signed in 19951998 that had largely enabled the entire sector to preserve
the expertise and retain specialists needed to build a nuclear
power plant, at least until Russia managed to secure more
custom from the Chinese (the new reactor in Tianwan) and
the Indians (the Kudankulam project).
2. The project has largely lost its economic importance
to Russia, and become more of a political cause. The chances
of turning a profit on the whole venture are remote: the costs
of this 1bn dollar contract have now spiraled to 3bn euros
or more. Therefore the key benefits of Bushehr are political,
inasmuch as it represents a practical implementation of Iran’s
right to develop a peaceful nuclear program, and therefore
alleviates the concerns in Tehran and other capitals of the
developing world over alleged restrictions on their access to
nuclear energy.
3. For many nations mulling a nuclear energy program
of their own, the project has become an indicator or Russia’s
credibility as a partner in big international high-tech projects.
The country’s reputation is now at stake at Bushehr. So it really
matters that despite sustained US pressure over many years, and
the withdrawal of several third-country subcontractors from the
project under pressure from Washington, the launch of power
generation at Bushehr is now a matter of several months.
4. The Bushehr NPP is a good example of integration of
Russian technology into Western designs. Russian hardware
has been successfully merged with the German-designed
structural framework. That could help Rosatom, the Russian
nuclear industry giant, in its ambitions to partner with
foreign companies in building nuclear power plants in Russia
itself and abroad.
5. The experience of Russian-Iranian cooperation at
Bushehr can be used to build more nuclear energy reactors
on Iranian territory. One obvious possibility would be a
second reactor at Bushehr itself. But any practical steps on
that proposal would have to wait until Iran answers the key
remaining questions on its past undeclared nuclear activities,
and until the most sensitive issues of the Iranian nuclear
dossier are resolved. Meanwhile, the very first step towards
a second Bushehr reactor would be the beginning of power
generation at the first reactor, which can be expected before
the year’s end.

Arms Trade

Russian Arms Trade in 2009:
Figures, Trends and Projections
Dmitry Vasiliev

R

ussian arms exports edged upwards by USD 150m
in 2009 to USD 8.5bn (see Figure 1). Adjusted for the
0.3 per cent deflation 1 of the US dollar, the real-terms
growth was a modest 2.1 per cent, meaning that sales have
essentially been flat over the past two years. That serves
as further indication that the Russian defense industry
has reached the limits of its export revenue generating
capacity2. Further growth will require a serious upgrade
of production facilities, as well as investment in skills
and training. But for all that, Russian defense contractors
can expect a sharp rise in their rouble earnings thanks to
favorable exchange rate conditions (the rouble fell from
24.89 to 31.76 to the US dollar in 2009) 3.

Surprise rise in defense contracts portfolio
Official figures show that Russia’s portfolio of defense
contracts had reached USD 40bn by the end of 2009 - an
increase of USD 7bn on the previous year. Rosoboroneksport
(ROE), Russia’s sole authorized exporter of finished military
equipment, secured an unprecedented USD 15bn of new
sales last year. The previous record - USD 14bn - was set
in 2006, when the Algerian and the first Venezuelan deals
were announced (see Figure 1b) 4. Taking inflation into
account, 2009 has been as successful for the Russian defense
contractors as 2006, despite the world economic crisis.

Indeed, if export contracts signed by independent suppliers
of spare parts and components (worth an estimated USD
500m) are added to the final tally, 2009 becomes the best year
ever for the industry.
It appears that demand for Russian weapons has been
immune to the world economic crisis. Many observers were
taken by surprise by the much higher than expected official
arms exports figures - owing perhaps to the fact that many
deals (such as the Venezuelan and Vietnamese contracts) had
not been reported in the media. It is quite possible that ROE
could have raked in even more orders (especially considering
the ongoing talks with Saudi Arabia and Libya). But it
appears that the capacity of the Russian defense contractors,
hidebound as they are by all the aforementioned problems,
simply cannot keep up with demand.

Key developments in 2009
1. Vietnam became Russia’s largest weapons customer
in terms of new contracts signed in 2009. It placed a large
order (estimated at USD 4bn) for six Project 636M (Kilo
class) conventional submarines and the requisite onshore
infrastructure to be built by Russian companies. It also signed
a contract for eight Su-30MK2 Flanker fighter jets, becoming
one of Russia’s top six defense customers along with India,
China, Algeria, Venezuela and Syria.

Figure 1. Russian defense exports in 2006-2009

* – Rosoboroneksport figures plus USD 500m, the estimated worth of contracts signed by independent suppliers of components,
instruments and accessories. Figures for 2006 provided by the Federal Service for Military and Technical Cooperation.
Source: FSMTC, ROE; CAST Estimates.
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Russian Arms Trade in 2009:
Figures, Trends and Projections

9

Arms Trade
2. Venezuela, which received a USD 2.2bn loan from
Moscow in 2009 to be spent on Russian weapons, probably,
was the second-largest customer. But it is not clear what exactly
the Venezuelans have bought. The only known contract is for
the delivery of 92 upgraded T-72M1M main battle tanks. The
rest is pure speculation, though on the whole it is safe to assume
that the new Venezuelan deal includes a large number of air
defense missile systems and artillery equipment (S-300V and
Pechora-2M SAM systems, Smerch MLR systems, Msta-S and
Gvozdika self-propelled howitzers, etc.). Unofficial reports
claim that the deal is actually much bigger than the size of the
Russian loan would suggest, estimating it at up to USD 4bn.
3. According to open sources, not a single large contract
was signed with India in 2009. The only new sale reported in
the media is the purchase of five Ka-31 Helix E airborne early
warning helicopters worth USD 100m.
4. For the first time in several years, fighter jets made by
RSK MiG have become a significant export item. Deliveries
have begun in earnest on an earlier contract for MiG-29K
fighters to be based on India’s Vikramaditya aircraft carrier.
Russia has also signed a EUR 400m contract with Burma for
20 MiG-29 Fulcrum fighter jets.
5. The Russian Defense Ministry has made clear its
intention to begin buying arms and military equipment
abroad - and not just a few samples to gain access to foreign
technology, but as part of the Russian army’s routine weapons
procurement program. The announcement of the plan to buy
a Mistral-class amphibious assault ship from France was the
first signal of this new policy.

Identified deliveries
The combined worth of Russian arms deliveries to
foreign customers reported in the open sources is USD 5.64bn

(See Table 1), accounting for roughly 65 per cent of the official
arms exports figure of USD 8.5bn. If exports of spare parts,
instruments and accessories (worth about USD 1bn) are
included in the tally, the so-called transparency index will
increase to 0.8 (80 per cent)5.
Aerospace equipment is still the largest category of
Russia’s military exports (61 per cent of identified deliveries,
see Figure 2). Arms and equipment for the ground forces
ranked second (21 per cent of the total), followed by naval
equipment and air defense systems (9 per cent and 8 per cent,
respectively). Meanwhile, the share of aerospace equipment
in the official ROE exports figures is 50 per cent (of the
USD 7.44bn total), followed by arms and equipment for the
ground forces (19 per cent), naval equipment (14 per cent)
and air defense systems (13 per cent). The disparity between
the official figures and our calculations is mainly due to the
underreporting of naval and air defense exports in the open
sources.
In our estimates of the destinations for Russian arms
deliveries in 2009,Algeria ranks first with 29 per cent, followed
by India (25 per cent) and China (12 per cent). ROE has not
provided any regional breakdown of its exports figures.
Breakdown by type of equipment
Aerospace equipment. Our estimate of aerospace
equipment deliveries in 2009 is USD 3.45bn. The bulk of that
figure (USD 2.07bn) was generated by 41 fighter jets of the
Su‑30 Flanker family shipped to several countries, including:
20 Su‑30MKI aircraft to India (including 2 fully completed
jets and 18 assembly kits), 14 Su-30MKI(A) to Algeria, six
Su‑30MKM to Malaysia and one Su-30MK2 to Indonesia.
Deliveries began in earnest in 2009 on the contract
to supply MiG-29K fighters for the future Indian aircraft
carrier Vikramaditya (former heavy aircraft carrying cruiser

Figure 2. Breakdown of identified 2009 deliveries of Russian weapons by type and by country*

* – based on total deliveries estimate of USD 5.64bn. These calculations do not include the deliveries of spare parts, instruments and
accessories (estimated at USD 1bn) because of the scarcity of details on those exports. The regional breakdown does not include the sales of
Igla man-portable SAM systems, estimated at about USD 50m annually.

10

Source: CAST estimate based on open source information.
# 1, 2010 Moscow Defense Brief
Russian Arms Trade in 2009:
Figures, Trends and Projections

Arms Trade
Admiral Gorshkov). Russia’s RSK MiG corporation handed
over to the Indians another four jets worth an estimated USD
180m. That means that six aircraft out of the total 16 have
now been delivered.
Afghanistan and Azerbaijan seem to have been the two
main destinations for Russian helicopter deliveries in 2009.
Kabul received 13 Mi-17V-5 Hip assault landing helicopters,
with the United States acting as an intermediary. Baku
appears to have taken delivery of six Mi-17-1V transports. At
least another 15 machines of the Mi-17 family were shipped
to Iran, Bolivia, Iraq, Mongolia, Sri Lanka, Turkmenistan
and Egypt. China received three Ka-28 Helix anti-submarine
helicopters. This list is almost certainly incomplete, as the
2009 production target of Vertolety Rossii, the umbrella
corporation for Russian helicopter makers, was 180 units, of
which 70 percent were destined for exports.
As in the previous two years, China was the main
destination for aircraft turbofan engines under separate
contracts. The 2009 deliveries include 122 AL-31FN engines
(for China’s J-10 fighter jets), 15 RD-93 engines (for FC-1
fighters) and 11 D-30KP2 engines for H-6K bombers, worth
an estimated total of USD 600m.
Arms and equipment for ground troops. Identified
transfers of arms and equipment for ground troops in 2009
add up to USD 1.18bn. For the third year running, the T-90S
main battle tank accounted for the bulk of exports in this
category. Its largest recipient last year was India, which took
delivery of 100 completed T-90S tanks and possibly several
dozen assembly kits, worth an estimated USD 600m in total.
Naval equipment. Identified deliveries of naval
equipment in 2009 stood at USD 537m. But judging from
ROE’s official breakdown of deliveries by type of equipment,
the actual figure is probably twice as high.
Algeria was the largest importer - it has taken delivery of
one new Project 636M conventional submarine (USD 300m)
and one refitted and upgraded Project 877EKM conventional
submarine (USD 50m).
Also in 2009 Russia and India agreed on the final cost
of refit and upgrade of the Admiral Gorshkov heavy aircraft
carrying cruiser, which will be renamed into Vikramaditya
once it becomes part of the Indian Navy. The new figure is
USD 2.3bn, and the delivery date has been pushed back to
2012. The initial sum under the 2004 contract was USD 850m,
with the completion date some time in 2008.
Air defense systems. Identified deliveries of air defense
systems fell to just USD 460m in 2009 - a third of the previous
year’s figure. But judging from ROE official reports, actual
exports were closer to USD 1bn.
Open-source reports have allowed us to identify only
the delivery of the new Pantsir-S1 (SA-22) gun-missile antiaircraft system to Syria and the UAE. Media coverage of that
contract has been fairly detailed. It is also known that Russia
exports about USD 50m worth of the Igla man-portable

SAM systems every year. All the other transfers of air defense
equipment could not be identified.
The beginning of shipments to Iran of the S-300PMU1
(SA-20) SAM systems (an upgraded version of the S-300PS
units from the Russian Defense Ministry’s existing stock)
was initially scheduled for the spring of 2009, but was later
postponed until the fall of that year, and then suspended
indefinitely for political reasons. Iran has already voiced its
frustration on that account6.
Spare par ts, instruments and accessories.
Deliveries in this category reached USD 1bn in 2009. Half
of that figure was generated by independent exporters.
In 2006, those exporters sold about USD 400m worth of
their wares. Sukhoi, a combat aircraft maker, remains an
undisputed leader in this area - its sales of spare parts
and components remained unchanged from the previous
year at USD 200m.
Regional breakdown
Algeria, which received a large number of Su-30 fighter
jets in 2009, was the top destination for Russian arms
deliveries (29 per cent of the total). It was followed by India
(25 per cent), which took delivery of Su-30MKI and MiG-29
fighter jets, as well as T-90S tanks. China, which received
large batches of aircraft engines, and probably SAM systems,
was third (12 per cent). Syria ranked fourth with 8 per cent
after importing 20 Pansir-S1 anti-aircraft systems. Malaysia
and Venezuela share the fifth place with 5 per cent each.
Vietnam and Afghanistan accounted for 3 per cent each. On
the whole, Russian arms exports are fairly diverse in terms
of the geography of their destinations.

Identified new contracts
According to aggregate data from media sources, Russia
signed USD 6.89bn worth of new arms exports contracts
in 2009 (See Table 2). That figure does not include the
estimated USD 1bn in exports of spare parts, components
and maintenance services. But the actual grand total of
arms deals signed last year (including those not reported in
the media) is much higher at USD 15.5bn. The Venezuelan
contract, details of which have not been released, can account
for some but not all of that difference.
For the first time in many years, naval contracts made
up the bulk of the total new sales (58 per cent of identified
contracts, see Figure 3), well ahead of aerospace equipment
(32 per cent) and arms and equipment for ground troops
(9 per cent). There have been some media reports about new
air defense contracts in 2009, but their size is unclear. In
the regional breakdown of new Russian arms exports
deals, Vietnam leads with 63 per cent. China is a distant
# 1, 2010 Moscow Defense Brief
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11

Arms Trade
second with 10 per cent, followed by Burma with 8 per
cent. ROE has not released its own regional breakdown
figures for 2009.
By type of equipment
Naval. This category came out on top last year thanks
solely to the signing of the large Vietnam contract for six
Project 636M conventional submarines, worth an estimated
USD 2.1bn. The contract also includes the creation of onshore infrastructure, which will have to be built from scratch
because Vietnam has never had any submarines. The total
value of the contract is therefore much higher that the price of
the subs themselves – USD 4bn is a conservative estimate.
The Vietnam deal was the largest not only in the
naval equipment category, but across all categories. It was
undoubtedly the contract of the year for Russia’s defense
industry.
Aerospace equipment. Our estimate for new sales in
this category is USD 2.24bn. The largest deal (worth about
EUR 400m) was signed with Burma for 20 MiG-29 fighter
jets (which had already been partially built when the contract
was signed).
A big contract, estimated at USD 320m, was signed for
eight Su-30MK2 fighter jets with Vietnam. The deal does not
include airborne weapons, which Vietnam intends to buy
later. Another big contract (worth an estimated USD 720m)
was signed with China for Al-31FN and D-30KP2 turbofan
engines to be fitted on Chinese aircraft of indigenous
design.
Russia’s largest helicopter contract last year (22 Mi‑171
helicopters, worth USD 345m) was signed with the Iraqi

Air Force. The deal was mediated by the Pentagon. Another
big contract (five Ka-31 airborne early warning helicopters,
worth USD 100m) was signed with India - that in fact was the
only known Indian contract signed last year.
Equipment for ground troops. The estimated total
of the contracts for this type of equipment signed last year
is USD 625m. The largest of those was for the delivery of 92
upgraded T-72M1M main battle tanks from the Russian
army stock, worth about USD 400m, to Venezuela.
Air defense systems. Estimating the value of air defense
contracts signed in 2009 is difficult because these contracts
were quite unusual. Kazakhstan bought ten S‑300PS (SA‑10)
SAM systems from the Russian Air Force stock. But since
the country is a member of the Collective Security Treaty
Organization, it clearly must have paid much less for them
than other countries would have had to fork out. There
have also been reports that Venezuela has agreed to buy an
unspecified number of tracked chassis mounted S-300V (SA12) SAM systems - but it is not clear whether a firm contract
has actually been signed. The last time such a system was sold
abroad was many years ago.
Regional breakdown
The Vietnamese contracts for diesel-electric subs
and Su-30MK2 fighters account for the bulk of identified
weapons deals signed in 2009 (62 per cent in dollar terms).
China, which signed several contracts for Russian aircraft
engines, came second with 10 per cent. Burma is third with
8 per cent (20 MiG-29 fighters), followed by Venezuela (6
per cent, T-72M1M tanks) and Iraq (5 per cent, Mi-171
helicopters).

Figure 3. Breakdown of identified arms exports contracts by type of equipment and region, 2009*

* – based on estimated total of USD 6.89bn. The figure does not include contracts for spare parts, instruments and accessories (USD 1bn)
because no details on them are available.
Source: CAST estimate based on media reports.

12

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Russian Arms Trade in 2009:
Figures, Trends and Projections

Arms Trade
Prospects for 2010

Imports

The existing portfolio of defense contracts should keep
Russian arms exports revenue steady for another five years.
Projections for 2010 include the sale of about 40 fighter
jets of the Su-27/30 Flanker family. Of these, India will
receive 30 Su-30MKI jets, Indonesia three Su‑27SKM’s and
Vietnam four Su-30MK2’s. Final deliveries will probably
be made on the Indian contract for 16 carrier-based
MiG‑29K fighters. But deliveries will commence on two
other contracts with India - one for the upgrade of MiG‑29
fighters to MiG‑29SMT specification, the other for 80 Mi17V-5 helicopters. That means that India will probably
become the largest importer of Russian weapons in 2010
in terms of actual shipments. Russia is also expected to
make first deliveries of the Yak-130 trainers to Algeria –
the contract represents an important achievement for the
Russian aerospace sector.
The main event in naval equipment exports will be the
transfer to India of the recently completed Project 971I Nerpa
(Improved Akula class) nuclear-powered attack submarine.
In air defense sector, the contract with Syria for the PantsirS1 systems will be completed, but deliveries will continue to
the UAE. Syria is likely to receive the first Buk-M2E (SA-17)
air defense missile systems under a large 2007 contract. In
the category of arms and equipment for ground troops, the
main exports will include T-90S tank assembly kit supplies
to India, as well as the Venezuelan contracts (including the
upgraded T-72M1M tanks).
The biggest sales Russia hopes to secure in 2010
include proposed deals with India (for an additional batch
of Su‑30MKI jets and MiG-29K carrier-based fighters), China
(new RD-93 aircraft turbofan engines), Vietnam (another
batch of Su‑30MK2 fighters) and Greece (under the BMP‑3M
infantry fighting vehicle program), as well as with Saudi
Arabia and Libya.

The Russian Defense Ministry last year clearly stated its
intention to begin importing arms and military equipment.
What the generals have in mind is not just individual samples
to gain access to foreign technology, but bulk contracts.
Right now they see France, Israel and possibly Italy as the
key partners in this area. The announcement in 2009 of the
plan to buy a large (21,300 tonnes) warship from France – a
versatile assault landing helicopter carrier of the Mistral
class, to be precise - was a real shocker. The price of the ship
is estimated as EUR 500m, and the entire program at about
EUR 1bn. The rationale for the decision remains less than
obvious – neither the Russian armed forces nor the national
defense industry would benefit from such a purchase. The
Defense Ministry came under heavy criticism following the
announcement, and plans for the deal have now been shelved
– but not necessarily cancelled altogether.
Last year Russia also signed a deal with France on
licensed production of Thales Catherine thermal images for its
T-90 tanks (the sample batch of the imagers was purchased in
2008). Production should begin in 2010 at the Vologda optical
equipment plant, at the rate of 20-30 imagers per month.
Russia has also signed a framework agreement with France’s
Safran and Thales, outlining prospects for joint development of
electronic systems. Last but not least, Moscow has begun talks
with the French on buying their FELIN infantry combat suit.
Last year the Russian Defense Ministry bought
12 unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) from Israel Aerospace
Industries for USD 53m, including the mini-class Bird-Eye
400, tactical class I-View MK 150 and medium class Searcher
Mk II drones. First deliveries on the contract will be made in
2010, and the ministry is already in talks to buy more. The
FSB, the Russian security service, has decided to follow the
Defense Ministry’s suit and is now looking to place an order
for its own UAVs with Israel’s Aeronautics Defense Systems.

Table 1. Major* Identified Deliveries of Russian Arms in 2009
Recipient

ASIA
China
India

Weapon
designation

No.
ordered

AL-31FN jet
122
engines
Su-30MKI fighter 140
kit
Su-30MKI
fighters

40

Year of
contract

Year(s) of
deliveries

Delivered in 2009

2009

2009**

500

122**

Completed

2000

20042012
(2014)

430

18**

69

2007

20082010

80

2**

6

mln USD

units

Delivered by
2010, units

Notes

Contract value – USD 500m.
For Chinese J-10 fighters
Contract value – USD
3.3bn. Delivery of kits to be
completed by 2012, India to
complete assembly by 2014
Contract value – USD 1.6bn

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Figures, Trends and Projections

13

Arms Trade
Recipient

India

No.
ordered

Year of
contract

Year(s) of
deliveries

12 / 4

2004

20082010

180

2/2

3/3

IL-38 aircraft
5
upgrade program

2001

20052009

80

2*

Completed

T-90S MBTs /
T-90 MBT kit
Smerch MLR
systems
Bastion coast
based anti-ship
missile system

2007

20082011
20072009
2009

600

124 / n/a

80***

100 /
n/a
4-10**

Contract value – USD 732m.
For airborne carrier
Vikramaditya (ex Admiral
Gorshkov)
Contract value – USD 205m.
Airplanes equipped with
Sea Dragon multimission
avionics and electronic
warfare suite. Contract
includes delivery of 20 Uran
Kh-35 (AS-20) anti-ship
missiles, torpedoes and other
arms
Contract value – USD 1.24bn

Completed

Contract value – USD 450m

150

1

Completed

Contract value – USD 150m.
Contract includes R&D works
and a set of Yahont anti-ship
missiles
Contract value – USD 910m,
of which 30 % is paid in
kind (palm oil). Another
USD 270m will be offset
against the Russian share
in an aircraft servicing and
component production
joint venture to be set up in
Malaysia.
Estimated contract value –
USD 670m. US Department
of Defense acts as an
intermediary in the contract.

MiG-29K/KUB
carrier based
fighters

Delivered in 2009
mln USD

units

Delivered by
2010, units

Notes

124 /
223
38

2005

1 batt.

2006

Su-30MKM
fighters

18

2003

20072009

300

6

Completed

Afghanistan Mi-17-V5
helicopters

61

n/a

20092016

100

9

9

MIDDLE EAST
Algeria
Su-30MKI(A)
fighters

28

2006

20072009

1200

14

Completed

2

2006

20092010

300

1

1

36

2006

330

20**

30**

1000

2006

100

200

600

Estimated contract value –
USD 600m
Contract value – USD 500m

50

2000

20082010
20072010
20092012

80***

4-6**

4-6

Contract value – USD 800m

Vietnam

Malaysia

Syria

UAE

14

Weapon
designation

Kilo class
(Project 636M)
submarines
Pantzir-S1 air
defense systems
T-72 MBTs
upgrade program
Pantzir-S1 air
defense systems

# 1, 2010 Moscow Defense Brief
Russian Arms Trade in 2009:
Figures, Trends and Projections

Contract value – USD
2.4bn, of which USD 1.4bn
represents the cost of
armament and infrastructure
Contract value – USD 600m

Arms Trade
Recipient

Weapon
designation

No.
ordered

Year of
contract

LATIN AMERICA
Venezuela Construction of 2007
a MRO center
for Russian
helicopters
Construction of a 2006
plant for license
production of
AK-103 assault
rifles and 7.62
cartridges
* – delivery value more than USD 80 mln.
** – CAST estimate.
*** – estimate based on a mid-value.
Sources: Russian and foreign press; CAST estimates.

Year(s) of
deliveries

Delivered in 2009
mln USD

Delivered by
2010, units

units

Notes

20072010**

100

n/a

n/a

Contract value – USD 400m

20082010

160

n/a

n/a

Contract value – USD 475m

Table 2. Major* Identified Contracts for Delivery of Russian Arms Signed in 2009
Recipient

Weapon designation

No. ordered

Year(s) of deliveries

Contract value,
m USD

Notes

AL-31FN jet engines
D-30KP2 jet engines
Ka-31 airborne early
warning helicopters
Su-30MK2 fighters

122
55
5

2009**
2009-2011
n/a

500
220**
100

For Chinese J-10 fighters
For Chinese H-6K air bombers

8

2010-2011

320

Kilo class (Project
636M) submarines

6

2011-2016**

4000

Myanmar

MiG-29 fighters

20

2010

560**

Fighters to be delivered without
armament or training equipment
The contract includes the construction
of the whole infrastructure for these
submarines. Currently Vietnam doesn’t
have a submarine fleet. The cost of the
submarines themselves is estimated at
USD 2.1bn.
Contract value – EUR 400m. The fighters
are from production reserve.

Turkmenistan
MIDDLE EAST
Iraq

Kamaz trucks

1052

n/a

100

Mi-171 helicopters

22

2009-2011

345

BTR-80A APCs
120-mm 2B1 towed
mortar
Kamaz trucks

100
50

n/a
n/a

100

400

2009

ASIA
China
India
Vietnam

Yemen

LATIN AMERICA
Venezuela
T-72M1M MBTs
92
* - contract value more than USD 80m.
** - CAST estimate.
Sources: Russian and foreign press; CAST estimates.

n/a

400

US Department of Defense acts as an
intermediary in the contract.

Upgraded ex-Russian

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Arms Trade

1
2
3
4
5

http://inflationdata.com/inflation/Inflation_Rate/CurrentInflation.asp.
Rosoboroneksport would have been quite happy simply to repeat the financial results of 2008, let alone surpass them.
Average exchange rate for the respective years.
That year ROE, which had not yet been designated Russia’s sole arms exporter, signed USD 9bn worth of contracts.
In our roundup of 2008 results (see Moscow Defense Brief, No 1, 2009) we managed to identify 80 per cent of the transfers, but the
figure did not include exports of components and spare parts. Had those been taken into account, the ratio would have been 0.9 (90
per cent).
6 However, it cannot be ruled out that up to three battalions of Buk-M1 (SA-11) SAM systems from the Russian army stock were secretly
delivered to Iran in 2009. The transfer of these systems to Iran (“customer 102”), along with the S-300PS systems, was mentioned
in the table of transfers of equipment assigned to Russia’s air defense units (under the Russian Air Force and Air Defense) as part of
their reform. The table, which was based on directives of Russia’s Defense Ministry, has been circulating on the Web since early 2009.
It is available at: www.ryadovoy.ru/forum/index.php/topic,382.0.html.

16

# 1, 2010 Moscow Defense Brief
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Figures, Trends and Projections

Arms Trade

Naval Build-up and New Submarines
in Asia-Pacific: Growing Security Risks
Mikhail Barabanov, Andrey Frolov

Naval build-up in Asia-Pacific
Asia has become the most rapidly developing region of
our planet in the past few decades. Japan’s economy was the
first to take off in the most spectacular way; it was followed
by South Korea and Taiwan, and now China. The economies of
India and Southeast Asia are also booming. Asia has become
a major hub of manufacturing, technological innovation and
business activity. In a space of just two generations, several
large Asian nations and billions of their citizens have made
a leap from the third world to the very peak of industrial

and urbanized civilization, and are now transitioning to
post-industrial and information-based society. Asia is at the
cutting edge of this transition. Rapid transformation of the
region’s leading nations is causing major shifts in the global
security landscape, with the emergence of new world powers
(Japan, India, potentially Korea) and even superpowers
(China). Economic growth has enabled several AsPac
countries to achieve rapid modernization of their armed
forces, which in many respects are now becoming some of
the most advanced in the world. Growing defense budgets of
leading Asian economies have turned Asia-Pacific into one of

Table/Figure 1. New-Builds Major Warships Commissioned in the World in 2000-2009
Warships

NuclearPowered
Submarines
Conventional
Submarines
Aircraft
Carriers
Destroyers and
Frigates
Corvettes
Large
Amphibious
Ships
Total warships

USA

Europe

Russia

China

India

Japan

Rest Asia

Rest World

Total World

Incl. Total
Asia

6

1

1

3

-

-

-

-

11

3

-

11

1

25

1

8

10

12

68

44

2

2

-

-

-

-

-

-

4

-

28

25

1

23

7

13

18

15

130

61

2
6

8
11

2
-

12

3
2

2

10
9

3
1

28
43

13
25

44

58

5

63

13

23

47

29

284

146

# 1, 2010 Moscow Defense Brief
Naval Build-up and New Submarines in Asia-Pacific:
Growing Security Risks

17

Arms Trade
the two largest regional arms markets, along with the Middle
East. As Asian economies continue their breakneck growth,
that market will become even more important.
Given the lengthy coastlines of many Asian countries,
and the importance of waterways for their global trade, it is
unsurprising that the region’s navies are at the forefront of
military modernization. Asia has become a hotspot of naval
build-up. Most of the new warships launched in the world
over the past decade were built for the Asian navies.
This has led to a radical shift in the balance of naval
strength not just in Asia but on the global scale. While the
Asian countries are rapidly beefing up their navies, the
traditional powers such as the United States, Europe and
the former Soviet Union have been reducing their numerical
strength at sea for 20 years now, ever since the end of the
Cold War. America, Britain and most NATO countries are
now left with roughly half the numbers of ships they had
20 years ago. The former Soviet Navy, inherited mostly by
Russia, has undergone even deeper cuts – by some 80 per
cent – and a severe degradation of its combat capability. In
Europe and Russia, the trend towards further reductions
in the naval strength continues. The latest announcement
to that effect has recently come from Britain – London is
apparently considering a further downsizing of the Royal
Navy, which could affect plans to build a second CVF aircraft
carrier. Asian nations, meanwhile, are building and buying
ever more ships, and the level of their technology is beginning
to approach Western standards.
The focus of naval activity and the overall “center of
naval power” is now shifting towards the Asia-Pacific region.
This has several distinct consequences:
•• China and, to a lesser extent, India are becoming great
naval powers, capable of projecting that power beyond
their own coastlines, and in future, on the global scale.

•• Concerned by China’s military build-up, other nations
in the Asia-Pacific region have stepped up their own
naval programs. In some cases that process bears all
the hallmarks of a regional naval arms race, directed
predominantly against China.
•• Whereas the naval strength of the AsPac nations is growing,
the navies of the “traditional” powers are shrinking. There
is a distinct possibility that at some point in the future,
these powers may have trouble ensuring “free access” to
the region for themselves in the event of a crisis. That is
an especially worrying possibility for the US Navy, which
plays a crucial role in the region’s security system.
•• The prospect of diminishing American naval power in the
region in the face of growing Chinese military strength
could force many US allies in Asia-Pacific to rely less on
Washington’s protection and more on their own navies.
That seems to be the thinking behind South Korea’s naval
programs.

Submarine forces in Asia-Pacific
One of the most visible signs of the center of world naval
activity shifting to Asia-Pacific has been the numbers of
modern new subs being built or bought by the AsPac nations.
Several distinct trends have come to light:
•• China is building a new generation of nuclear-powered
submarines. After wasting a lot of time with its largely
useless first-generation nuclear-powered submarines
(five Type 091 Ming class attack submarines and one
ballistic missile-carrying Type 092 Xia class submarine),
Beijing has started to build nuclear-powered submarines
of the next generation. It already has two versatile nuclearpowered Type 093 Shang class attack submarines and

Table/Figure 2. Share of the Asian Navies in the Global Naval Balance (major surface warships)
Major surface warships

Aircraft Carriers
Cruisers, Destroyers and
Frigates
Corvettes
Large Amphibious Ships
Total major surface
warships

18

1990

2009

Total World

Include total Asia

Total World

Include total Asia

31
942

1
236

21
641

2
239

360
273
1606

55
110
402

232
198
1092

97
99
437

# 1, 2010 Moscow Defense Brief
Naval Build-up and New Submarines in Asia-Pacific:
Growing Security Risks

Arms Trade
Table/Figure 3. Share of the Asian Navies in the Global Naval Balance (submarines)
Submarines

Nuclear-Powered
Submarines
Conventional
Submarines
Total submarines

1990

2009

Total World

Include total Asia

Total World

Include total Asia

367

7

153

9

479

120

275

140

846

127

428

149

Conventional Submarines

Total Submarines

two nuclear-powered ballistic missile-carrying Type 094
Jin class submarines. Several more are probably in the
pipeline. If China manages to make these subs perform as
expected, it will obtain a powerful instrument of achieving
dominance at sea, as well as the capability to deliver a
nuclear strike against targets on US mainland from the
sea. A modern Chinese nuclear-powered submarine fleet
would radically change the naval balance in the eastern
Pacific. China’s capable new nuclear-powered submarines
would pose a serious threat to the US Navy, and menace
the fleets of America’s Asian allies.
•• India has begun building its own nuclear-powered
submarines and acquiring them from Russia. In 2009,
after long delays, India launched its first indigenous
nuclear-powered Arihant submarines, which was
designed and built with Russian assistance. In 2010, the
country will receive a modern Russian Nerpa nuclearpowered attack submarine (Project 971I) under a lease
agreement. Another such submarine should be handed
over to the Indians at some point in the future. Project
971I (Improved Akula class) represents fairly advanced
technology, so the combat effectiveness of the Indian
nuclear-powered submarine fleet could even surpass
that of China’s indigenously built submarines. For India
as well as China, developing their own nuclear-powered
submarine fleets is an important element of bolstering
their superpower credentials.

•• More Southeast Asian nations have acquired
conventional submarines. Over the past decade, the
number of countries in the Asia-Pacific region who possess
submarines has grown substantially. Rapid economic
growth has enabled Singapore and Malaysia to acquire
conventional submarines. In 2009, Vietnam signed a
contract for six Project 636M (Kilo class) submarines to
be built in Russia. Once these are delivered, Vietnam will
possess the largest submarine fleet in the region between
China and Australia. In future, submarines could be
acquired by Thailand, Burma and even Bangladesh.
•• T he overall numbers of modern conventional
subs in the Asia-Pacific region are growing. While
new nations are acquiring submarine fleets, some of
the existing conventional submarine fleets are being
expanded. China, India and Pakistan are building and
buying new conventional submarines only to replace
the old and obsolete ones. But some other nations are
planning to increase the overall size of their fleets. Under
Australia’s new Defence White Paper, the number of its
submarines should be increased to 12 from the current
six. South Korea is rapidly increasing its own submarine
fleet, and wants to have at least 18 submarines instead of
12. Indonesia, which already has two submarines, is in
talks with Russia and South Korea to buy another two.
Finally, Taiwan has not abandoned plans to acquire six
new submarines.
# 1, 2010 Moscow Defense Brief
Naval Build-up and New Submarines in Asia-Pacific:
Growing Security Risks

19

Arms Trade
Table/Figure 4. Combined number of submarines in the navies of AsPac nations (projection)
Submarines

Nuclear-Powered Submarines (for China and India only)
Conventional Submarines

New security risks posed by growing
submarine forces in Asia-Pacific
Such a rapid growth of the submarine forces of the AsiaPacific nations will make these forces much more effective.
Meanwhile, the ability of most of the AsPac navies to
defend against the increasingly capable submarine forces
of the region’s leading nations is clearly inadequate. Apart
from Russia, Japan is the only nation in the region that has
advanced anti-submarine warfare capabilities, which are
nearly as effective as America’s own. Some other countries
have technologically advanced but numerically limited antisubmarine warfare capabilities - these include Australia,
South Korea, Taiwan, India, and possibly Singapore. China
is so far lagging behind in that respect. As for the rest of
the region’s nations, their navies cannot defend themselves
against modern submarines. That means that even a small
fleet of submarines can be an extremely potent weapon in
any conflict with the technologically “backward” nations
(or in a conflict between these nations themselves). On the
other hand, even a small number of non-nuclear powered
submarines (especially in the littoral zone) can pose a serious
threat even to the most advanced navies, such as America’s.
Just as 100 years ago, the submarine remains the only “legal”
weapon which a small nation can rely on to pose a serious
threat to a large nation. That is undoubtedly one of the key

20

# 1, 2010 Moscow Defense Brief
Naval Build-up and New Submarines in Asia-Pacific:
Growing Security Risks

2009

2020

9
140

25
192

reasons why many of the region’s nations are so interested in
acquiring submarines.
The acquisition of modern nuclear-powered submarines
by China and India will shift the naval balance even further.
The nuclear-powered submarine is the battleship of the 21st
century. Second-rate navies can do next to nothing against
such a submarine. In any confrontation with such a navy,
the nuclear-powered submarines is the “ultimate weapon”,
which can obliterate the enemy’s entire naval strength and
establish complete dominance at sea. Apart from Russia,
Japan is the only nation in the eastern Pacific that has some
limited and uncertain ability to defend against nuclearpowered submarines on its own, without America’s support.
Even a small number of nuclear-powered submarines could
give India massive advantage over Pakistan’s navy, or China
against the navies of Taiwan and other potential adversaries.
Chinese and Indian nuclear-powered submarines can
effectively control all the strategic straits, representing a
serious threat in the region for the navies of other great
powers, especially the United States. The bottom line is,
modern nuclear submarines will give India and China a
strategic capability which they previously could not even
dream of. In many situations (such as various local crisis
scenarios) this capability would be even more effective
and flexible than that offered by nuclear-armed ballistic
missiles.

Armed Forces

“The Navy should reflect the national
interests and economic potential of
our country”
Interview with Admiral Vladimir Vysotskiy, Commander of the
Russian Navy
Q: How would you describe the current state and the
prospects of the Russian Navy?
A: The Navy is an instrument of foreign policy, its
military support component, and an element of our country’s
naval presence. It is needed in the areas where we need to
defend the political and economic interests of our country.
We believe that the shape of our Navy should be based on
two key premises. First, the Navy should reflect the national
interests and economic potential of our country, and second,
the Navy should be well-balanced. Right now, everything is in
place for us to develop the Russian Navy in this direction, and
that is where we are heading. We cannot allow an imbalance
in favor submarines of surface ships. We need to pursue wellbalanced development, but the nuclear-missile carrying fleet
remains out priority. And we are not talking just about ships
or subs, we are talking about entire combat systems. And
proceeding from the premise that the Navy needs to be wellbalanced, we also need to understand that this type of the
armed forces should be built using open architecture, where
combat systems are fully fit to serve the key tasks facing the
Navy. The choices we are making now will shape the Russian
Navy beyond 2020 or 2030 - they will shape it up until 2050.
So there is simply no room for mistakes.
Q: What is going on with the Bulava missile? Why is it
not flying?
A: The situation is difficult but not hopeless, as some
seem to believe. The overall idea behind the Bulava is sound.
The problem is that our technological and manufacturing
capability, as well as our ability to bring various defense
contractors together to deliver this project have turned out
to be much weaker than we expected. We are facing a crisis in
some areas of technology. The Bulava is a litmus test that will
show whether we can overcome this crisis or forever become
a third-rate world power.
Q: So what now for the Bulava?
A: We need to finalize the designs and eliminate all
the teething problems. We need to obtain a result, a reliable

result. And then we need to start thinking about the day after
tomorrow. We need to start thinking now - in fact, we should
have already started. We have already laid some foundations.
But if we start redesigning the whole system, we will not see
any serious results in missile building over the next few years.
So, to answer you previous question, the missile is not flying
YET, but it will fly. It will have to fly. It just needs to be built
properly. But that is something our manufacturers need to
sort out.
Q: What was the cause of the failure during the latest
tests?
A: The cause of the failure? What does it matter, whether
it was the ejection cartridge or not? Yesterday it was the
ejection cartridge, before that is was the poor engineering
and manufacturing of the steering mechanism of the first
stage, next time it could be something else. It makes no
difference. The real question is whether or not our defense
contractors can manufacture such a missile. Are they up to
the task? I think we have what it takes to build such missiles.
Our defense industry has that capability, we just have some
problems that need to be resolved.
Q: What about the Sineva liquid-fuel missile, which is
already operational? Can it become a replacement for the
Bulava?
A: Replacing the Bulava with the Sineva is just empty
talk. Even those who have never served in the Navy understand
this. These are two completely different weapons systems,
with very different launch requirements. The Sineva may be
a good missile, but it cannot serve as our main missile up
until 2050, because it was designed back in the late 1990s.
And what we are trying to do now is lay the foundations for
the Navy that will last up until 2050. As for redesigning the
Borei-class subs to carry the Sineva missiles, we are not going
to do that either - such a redesign is simply impossible.
Q: Any chance of the Bark program being resurrected?
A: We should not be going back, we should be moving
forward. Resurrecting the Bark missile complex, which was

# 1, 2010 Moscow Defense Brief
Interview with Admiral Vladimir Vysotskiy

21

Armed Forces
designed 20 years ago, would be an admission of defeat. We
need new technology. Why resurrect something that can be
nothing more than a stopgap? Our strategy is to overcome
these problems we are facing now and move on to a new
generation of technology. Let me remind you that the Bark
missile weighs about 100 metric tons. It is yesterday’s
generation of technology.
Q: How many submarines, including strategic subs, does
the Russian Navy require to ensure our country’s security and
deal with any threats from the sea?
A: We have a clear understanding of what we should
get rid of, and what we should keep. Of course, we should
have a nuclear fleet, and it should have a very high degree
of standardization in terms of the components that we have
now. But we are not talking about numbers. I am not going to
talk about the numbers at all. What is really important is the
quality, the capability that we can achieve. Once we achieve
the quality that we need in some areas, then we can talk about
the numbers. We already have the strategy of how the Navy
should be used, it has already been approved. But the strategy
of building this Navy has been under discussion for many
years, and it has yet to be approved.
The Navy should be made up of diversified forces, not
just ships and submarines. No Navy has fought on its own in
the second half of the 20th century. Naval strength has always
been deployed as part of a diversified group of forces. The
essence of this approach is to have a diverse structure in the
Armed Forces to fight on the ground, on the seas and in the
air. The Navy, with is missile carriers and auxiliary ships, will
be an element of that. There is nothing new in this approach,
but that is the right approach.
Q: What will be the role of aircraft carriers in the whole
strategy of building the Russian Navy?
A: An aircraft carrying fleet is not just aircraft carriers.
It is a powerful combined-services group of forces. It has a
general purpose, but it is also an element of strategic offensive
forces, which serves a wide range of purposes. The most
important for us is the issue of missile defense, air defense
and space defense, where we have a serious gap. The aircraft
carrying fleet should be an integral component of our single
missile defense, air defense and space defense system.
Q: At what stage is the development of the new aircraft
carrier?
A: Development is already under way. Under the existing
schedule we should have the basic designs with the key tactical
and technical specifications by the end of next year.After that,
work will commence on more detailed designs.
Q: When can we expect the launch of the new ship?
A: It is difficult to give a specific time frame. We need a
separate federal program to finance this work - funding this
project from the general military procurement budget would
hardly be feasible. With a bit of luck I think the ship can be
launched by 2020.

22

# 1, 2010 Moscow Defense Brief
Interview with Admiral Vladimir Vysotskiy

Q: What will be the role of the Mistral-class helicoptercarrying ships, which the Navy is planning to buy from
abroad?
A: For us the technology of building such ships is more
important than the actual ships. We need to learn how to
build such ships here in Russia, using the latest technologies.
This experience will help us in building the future aircraft
carriers, so this has relevance to your previous question.
Q: How many Mistral-class ships are you planning to
buy from France?
A: We have determined that we need to buy one such
ship, and build at least three more at the Russian shipyards,
using technical assistance from the French.
Q: And what if the French refuse to provide such
technical assistance in building the ships in Russia?
A: In that case we will work with other countries, which
also have very modern and advanced technologies in building
such ships - including the Netherlands, Spain, and others.
Q: There have recently been some reports in the media
that the naval Su-33 aircraft will soon be replaced with the
new MiG-29K.
A: It is true that the service life of the Su-33’s expires
in 2015. We are preparing for their replacement, and in the
very near future we are planning to buy a batch of at least
24 aircraft to be based on our aircraft carrier, the Admiral
Kuznetsov. The first tests of these fighter jets have been
successful. Over the period of September 28 - October 2,
several MiG-29K’s performed successful landings and takeoffs from the aircraft carrier.
Q: Does the Russian Navy command have any plans to
modernize the logistics base in the Syrian port of Tartus?
A: The Russian Navy command has plans to create a
naval station for combat ships in Tartus, including the ships
of the Black Sea fleet. Right now this Navy logistics base
there is the only Russian military base in the far-abroad
[foreign countries that were not part of the former Soviet
Union]. If an agreement is reached with the Syrians, the
opportunities are very good there. The plan now is to create
a proper naval station there, where ships of the Russian
Navy will be able to replenish their water and food supplies
or undergo repairs, and where the crew can spend some
time ashore. By the way, in mid-July two Black Sea Fleet
tug boats brought a new mooring float to Tartus. Of course,
it is a bit too early to speak now about creating a fullyfledged military naval base there, but we have such plans
for the distant future. We have a lot of respect for our Syrian
colleagues. They are our allies who did not turn away from
the Russian Navy even during the most difficult times,
which I am glad to say are now in the past. At the same
time, the Russian Navy’s financial capabilities are not what
they were even as recently as 2008. We have to take into
account that our finances have taken a hit in 2009 and 2010
compared to 2008 due to the economic crisis.

Armed Forces
Q: Have there been any negotiations with other countries
about setting up Russian naval bases there, for example, to
counter piracy?
A: There have been, let us say, discussions rather than
negotiations. There is an understanding of the need for this.
When the right time comes, we can talk about it. It is a very
delicate issue.
Q: Will Russia use Abkhazia as a base for the Russian
Black Sea Fleet?
A: There will be a naval station in Ochamchira for
several ships. Before this happens we need to complete the
discussions with the Abkhaz side - that will happen in the
very near future. But there will not be any large naval bases
there, there will just be a good naval station. We will just keep
a limited number of small ships there, ships of the second or
third rank - no more than what we strictly need there.
Q: What awaits the Black Sea Fleet after 2017? Some
politicians in Ukraine say that the Russian fleet needs to start
preparing right now for future withdrawal from Sevastopol,
so that no Russian ships are left there by 2017.
A: That is a matter of international relations and
politics. Withdrawal of the Russian fleet from Sevastopol
is not a pleasant topic for discussion for either Ukraine or
Russia. But I have never heard Ukrainian President Viktor
Yushchenko talk about it. On the contrary, he has always said
that all of Ukraine’s commitments in terms of stationing
the Black Sea Fleet will be fulfilled. Geographically, there
is no better location on the entire Black Sea coast than the
Akhtiarskaya Bay in Sevastopol to serve as a naval base. But
apart from geography, there is also history. Have our relations
with Ukraine really become so bad that we need to withdraw
from Sevastopol after 2017? Does the majority of Ukrainian
citizens demand the Russian fleet’s withdrawal after 2017?
There is a great many people in Ukraine whose opinion on
this issue is very sound. The presence of the Russian Black
Sea Fleet in Sevastopol is a firm guarantee of stability along
the entire Black Sea coast of the CIS nations. This needs
to be considered very seriously. There are also proposals
about [using the Black Sea Fleet] as an instrument to jointly
address shared problems, taking into account Russian and
Ukrainian national interests. The Black Sea Fleet is a very
powerful instrument. So the situation is not hopeless. We
should not harbor any delusions, but we should not despair
either.
Q: Could the military naval base in Novorossiysk be
used as an alternative to Sevastopol?
A: There have never been any plans to turn the
Novorossiysk military naval base into the main base of the
Black Sea Fleet. What we are talking about is having the
capability for some of the Black Sea Fleet ships to be based
on the northern coastline of the Russian Caucasus. So let
us not confuse this with actually moving the main base of
the fleet there. What we are now doing in Novorossiysk is

not dependent on whether or not we are going to stay in
Sevastopol. We are creating a capability for the entire group
of Russian Armed Forces in the region, including the Navy, to
have a base on the Russian territory. That is our main and only
purpose. Everything that can be used as a base for the fleet on
the Russian territory will be used, within reason – and that is
what we are already doing now.
Q: The Black Sea Fleet command has repeatedly
complained about problems with rearming the fleet. Part of
the problem is Ukraine’s negative attitude to this issue. The
fleet is becoming old and obsolete, while new armaments
are not being delivered. How are you going to address this
problem?
A: To begin with, Ukraine cannot forbid us from doing
what needs to be done here. And second, starting from this
year and every year after that, we will begin the construction
of one new ship and one new submarine for the Black
Sea Fleet. That is starting from 2010. Those ships will be
earmarked specifically for the Black Sea Fleet.We need to take
into account that the area of the Black Sea Fleet’s operations is
the entire Mediterranean. And much depends on what kind
of fleet we want to have in the Black Sea in the first place. I,
for one, am not at all sure that we really need to have heavy
cruisers or nuclear-powered submarines there.
Q: There have been many reports lately that the Caspian
Flotilla is ceasing to exist. Is it true that the flotilla will be
replaced with an operational command?
A: This is all at the stage of discussion for now.We are now
reaching the point where will be able to deploy the Caspian
forces even beyond the Black Sea region. So the question is,
should all those forces be placed under the single command
of the Black Sea Fleet? They probably should. This needs to
be considered. But for now, this is only a discussion.
Q: Before the 2008 conflict in South Ossetia, ships of
the Black Sea Fleet took part in the NATO anti-terrorist
operation Active Endeavour in the Mediterranean. Will our
ships continue taking part in that operation?
A: We made a deliberate decision to end our participation
in Active Endeavour. In August 2008, NATO took a very clear
stance on that conflict. We were actually asked to recall the
Ladnyy ship, which had been specially prepared for the
operation and which was already on its way to take part in
the exercise. We are not saying we should not take part, but
we need to see what we are doing this for. If there is a need, if
it is in Russia’s interests, then we will take part.
Q: Will Russia continue its participation in countering
piracy off the Somali coast?
A: The anti-piracy effort is a completely different matter.
It is a task for the entire civilized world. We believe that this
effort should be held under the auspices of the United Nations,
but we are prepared to cooperate with everyone, with any
potential ally, in whatever way is practical. I stress – we are
ready to cooperate with any potential ally. But that does not
# 1, 2010 Moscow Defense Brief
Interview with Admiral Vladimir Vysotskiy

23

Armed Forces
mean we are going to work under their command. We can
participate in joint operations with NATO, as well as with
others - such as the European Union, first of all, but also with
the naval forces of Egypt, China, Turkey and other countries.
There is no doubt that we need a coordination of joint efforts
– but without our forces being subordinated to anyone else.
Q: Will only the Pacific Fleet ships be taking part?
A: The Russian Navy ships will be taking part,
predominantly the ships of the Pacific Fleet, because the
Indian Ocean is its area of responsibility. It is easier, simpler
and cheaper to use the Pacific Fleet for this. The time it would
take to deploy a Black Sea Fleet ship in that area is about

the same as for a Pacific Fleet ship. But it would be more
expensive – sending just one ship via the Suez Canal will cost
us several hundred thousand dollars, maybe even more. We
could be talking millions of dollars here.
Q: There have been reports in the media that the Black
Sea Fleet ships on patrol off the Georgian coast have taken to
shooting down Georgian drones.
A: Shooting down foreign drones is allowed only in one’s
own territorial waters. In the open seas, you are allowed to
shoot them down only if you are sure they are attacking you.
Apart from the events of August 2008, there have been no
such incidents with the Black Sea Fleet.

Admiral Visotskiy was interviewed by RIA Novosti correspondent Sergey Safronov for Moscow Defense Brief

24

# 1, 2010 Moscow Defense Brief
Interview with Admiral Vladimir Vysotskiy

Facts & Figures

Non-combat Losses of Russian Military
Aviation in 2000-2010*
Mikhail Lukin, Aleksandr Stukalin, Kommersant Publishing House
##

Date

Aircraft

1

March 14,
2000

Su-24

2

April 6,
2000

MiG-31

3

May 11,
2000

Su-27K
(Su-33)

4

June 9,
2000

Su-25

5

June 21,
2000

Il-76MD

6

June 26,
2000

7

Side
number

Location

Unit

Casualties

Cause

Details

Crew

Klimshchina
village (Smolensk
Region)

1st guard bomber
air regiment

0

Crew error

In adverse weather conditions, the pilot
erroneously engaged drag flaps, which led
to increased fuel consumption. The crew did
not monitor the remaining fuel level, and
when the fuel ran out, the engines stopped
in mid-air

Maj Aleksey Semushkin,
Capt Igor Kanyshkin

11

Kotlas
(Arkhangelsk
Region)

458th guard fighter
air regiment

1

Pilot error

The plane undershot the runway trying to
land in adverse weather conditions. The
impact broke the starboard main landing
gear leg. The plane skidded from the runway,
rolled over and caught fire. The pilot cabin
dug itself into the ground

Col Gennadiy Mashevskiy,
Maj Yevgeniy Stroitelev

71 red

Severomorsk
(Murmansk
Region)

279th independent
naval fighter air
regiment

0

Technical
problem

Steering system failure as the aircraft was
flying upside down

Col Pavel Kretov

Bashanta
(Stavropol
Territory)

368th assault air
regiment

1

Unknown

Several versions, including the plane falling
into a spin, engine failure, steering system
failure, explosion of an unguided missile

Capt Andrey Morozov

RA-76723

Privolzhskiy
airfield (Astrakhan
Region)

117th military
transport air
regiment

0

Technical
problem

Steering, fuel and hydraulic system failure
due to a short circuit in mid-flight, followed
by a fire onboard. The plane was consumed
by flames after emergency landing, but over
200 passengers and the crew escaped with
their lives

Lt Col Andrey Zelenko,
Capt Sergey Lyulin,
Capt Oleg Medvedev,
Capt Viktor Perepelitsyn,
Senior Lieutenant Pavel
Statsyuk, senior warrant
officer Sergey Kochetkov

Su-24M

12 white

Baltimor
(Voronezh)

455th bomber air
regiment

0

Pilot error

Hard landing and fire onboard after the
plane undershot the runway due to pilot
error

Maj Leonid Bezdetkin,
Col Yuriy Barkalov

July 21,
2000

Mi-8T

34

Levashovo
(Leningrad
Region)

138th independent
combined air
regiment

19

Pilot error

Autorotation of an overloaded helicopter
and crash landing due to pilot error

Maj Sergey Khlenkin,
Capt Aleksey Kovtunenko,
Capt Sergey Moskalev

8

October 25,
2000

Il-18

RA-74295

Batumi (Georgia)

8th air division

84

Navigation
error

The navigator lost orientation in adverse
weather conditions, the air traffic controller
also made an error, and the plane flew into
a mountain

Lt Col Valeriy Osyko,
Lt Col Andrey Staroverov,
Maj Vladimir Afanasev,
Maj Aleksandr Kotov,
Maj Oleg Urin, Senior
Lieutenant Roman
Strashnikov, Senior
Lieutenant Yevgeniy
Koryakovtsev,
Maj Aleksandr Avkhimenya,
Maj Sergey Savichev,
warrant officer Aleksandr
Blagodarov, warrant officer
Leonid Ponomarev

9

February
26, 2001

MiG-31

22 red
Zakhar
Sorokin

Monchegorsk
(Murmansk
Region)

174th guard fighter
air regiment

0

Technical
problem

Power system failure and fire in the
starboard engine with subsequent failure
of the hydraulics. Nevertheless, the pilot
managed to land the burning plane without
loss of life

Lt Col Mikhail Satanovskiy,
Maj Vladimir Ovchenkov

* – the table lists air accidents and crashes which have led to a loss of aircraft from January 1, 2000 to date. The list includes only
piloted planes and helicopters belonging to the Russian military. It does not include planes and helicopters lost for various reasons
in 2000–2010 in Chechnya and Ingushetia, nor the aircraft lost in August 2008 in Georgia.

# 1, 2010 Moscow Defense Brief
Non-combat Losses of Russian Military
Aviation in 2000-2010

25

Facts & Figures
##

Date

Aircraft

Side
number

Location

Unit

Casualties

Cause

Details

Crew

10

March 11,
2001

Su-24M

Mozdok (North
Ossetia)

4th air army

0

Pilot error

The plane undershot the runway in adverse
weather conditions and disintegrated on
impact

11

March 22,
2001

MiG-29UB

35 km northeast
of Akhtubinsk
(Astrakhan
Region)

929th state flight
testing center

0

Technical
problem

Fire in the starboard engine

Col S.Seregin,
Maj A.Voropaev

12

April 19,
2001

L-39C

Novyy Mir village
(Krasnodar
Territory)

627th guard
training air
regiment

0

Technical
problem

Fire in the engine

Capt Vladimir Radchenko

13

May 17,
2001

Su-27

64 red

Staraya Vasilyevka
village (Tambov
Region)

968th training and
research combined
air regiment

0

Technical
problem

Fire, steering system failure

Col Aleksandr Petrov

14

May 22,
2001

An-12MGA

RA-12135

Myakotino village
(Tver Region)

226th independent
combined air
regiment

7

Unknown

Versions include shifting cargo, steering
system failure, engine failure

Maj Sergey Grishenko,
Lt Igor Yeremeev, Senior
Lieutenant Dmitriy Bozhkov,
Maj Sergey Svishev, Capt
Aleksandr Novikov, Capt
Mikhail Aksyuchits, warrant
officer Roman Popov

15

July 11,
2001

L-39C

Gavrilovka village
(Tambov Region)

644th training air
regiment

2

Pilot error

The plane hit the ground due pilot error
while flying at extreme low altitude

Col Vladimir Rudenko,
Maj Gennadiy Milovanov

16

July 17,
2001

Su-27K
(Su-33)

Ostrov (Pskov
Region)

279th independent
naval fighter air
regiment

1

Pilot error

The pilot (Hero of Russia, Maj Gen Timur
Apakidze) chose the wrong angle of attack
and rate of descent during an imitation of
landing on an aircraft carrier. (According to
another version, the pilot blacked out during
a high-G maneuver). The plane crashed onto
the landing strip

Maj Gen Timur Apakidze

17

July 20,
2001

Mi-8

Lake
Petropavlovskoye
(Khabarov
Territory)

11th Air Force and
Air Defense Army

0

Pilot error

Rotor blades touched the surface of the water
during extreme low altitude flight and the
helicopter fell into a lake

18

November
5, 2001

Mi-8MT

Krasnyy Bor
(Leningrad
Region)

92nd specialpurpose training
and research
helicopter squadron
of Army Aviation

6

Pilot error

The helicopter flew into a 250 meter
transmission tower

Maj Oleg Gorynin,
Capt Aleksey Aleksandrov,
Capt Andrey Ivanov,
Maj Aleksandr Dubnyuk,
Capt Aleksey Moskalev,
Lt Aleksandr Sytnikov

19

February
19, 2001

Su-24

Myshka village
(Pskov Region)

722nd bomber air
regiment

2

Pilot error

The plane hit the ground during a nosedive
maneuver due to pilot error

Maj Vladimir Shostenko,
Lt Col Aleksandr
Drozdetskiy

20

February
21, 2001

An-26

Lakhta
(Arkhangelsk
Region)

403rd independent
combined air
regiment

17

Pilot error

The plane descended below glide path
altitude during night landing in adverse
weather conditions and caught the treetops

Col Valeriy Popkov,
Maj Yegor Kozyrev,
Maj Viktor Karelskiy,
Maj Viktor Kasukhin,
Capt Sergey Khrulkov,
Capt Yuriy Koledov, senior
warrant officer Viktor
Zakharchenko, warrant
officer Aleksandr Obukhov

21

March 26,
2002

Su-27

Solovey Klyuch
settlement
(Maritime
Territory)

22nd guard fighter
air regiment

0

Technical
problem

Steering system failure in mid-flight (other
versions include engine failure and pilot
error)

Capt Aleksandr Tsvetkov

22

May 7,
2002

Mi-8MT

Kosh-Agas (Altay
Republic)

337th independent
combat helicopter
regiment of Army
Aviation

11

Pilot error

During landing in mountainous terrain,
the main rotor blades nicked a rock outcrop
after a gust of wind and the helicopter fell
into a deep ravine.

Lt Col Aleksandr Bukharov,
Lt Col Sergey Ivashenkov,
Maj Vyacheslav Yurev

23

June 14,
2002

L-39C

Tikhoretsk
(Krasnodar
Territory)

627th guard
training air
regiment

0

Technical
problem

Engine failure in mid-flight

Capt Aleksandr Trubnikov,
cadet Yevgeniy Vasilev

26

70

07 red

15521

# 1, 2010 Moscow Defense Brief
Non-combat Losses of Russian Military
Aviation in 2000-2010

Facts & Figures
##

Date

Aircraft

Side
number

Location

Unit

Casualties

Cause

Details

Crew

24

June 20,
2002

L-39C

Borisoglebsk
(Voronezh Region)

160th training air
regiment

1

Pilot error

Crash landing due to pilot error. The pilot
ejected while the plane was flying upside
down and smashed into the ground

Cadet Yevgeniy Popov

25

August 12,
2002

L-39C

Yuzhnaya
Sosnovka (Tambov
Region)

644th training air
regiment

0

Technical
problem

Engine failure in mid-flight

Lt Col Yuriy Rogovastov,
cadet Fedyaev

26

September
19, 2002

Mi-24P

Verkhnyaya Vyrka
village (Kaluga
Region)

45th independent
helicopter combat
and command
regiment of Army
Aviation

3

Unknown

Versions include pilot error in adverse
weather conditions and a technical problem

Maj Valeriy Borzakov,
Capt Igor Andreev, Senior
Lieutenant Aleksandr
Brazgun

27

March 26,
2003

Ka-27PS

Ussurian Gulf

289th independent
combined antisubmarine air
regiment

4

Pilot error

After a night-time take-off from the deck of
the big anti-submarine ship Admiral Tributs,
the pilot lost orientation and pulled the stick
back too sharply, after which the helicopter
performed a semi-loop, lost speed, fell into
the sea and sank

Lt Col Aleksandr
Topyrychev, Capt Andrey
Korovin, Capt Andrey
Krasnoshekov, warrant
officer Renat KhaMitov

28

June 19,
2003

MiG-29UB

Armavir
(Krasnodar
Territory)

713th training air
regiment

0

Crew error

The crew failed to notice a fuel leak. The
engines stopped after fuel ran out

Maj Aleksandr Tarasov,
cadet Sergey Shapovalov

29

July 2, 2003

MiG-25RB

Verkhniy Nyud
(Murmansk
Region)

98th guard
reconnaissance air
regiment

0

Crew error

The pilot ejected shortly after take-off
because of a false engine failure alarm

Maj Aleksandr Ryabov

30

July 14,
2003

L-39C

Kushchevskaya
(Krasnodar
Territory)

797th training air
regiment

2

Pilot error

Crash landing due to pilot error.

Maj Andrey Pilipchuk,
Capt Roman Otkopnikov

31

July 24,
2003

Mi-8T

Pesochnoye village
(Samara Region)

109th training
helicopter regiment

3

Technical
problem

Engine failure in mid-flight. The crew were
killed while trying to evacuate

Lt Yu.Neverov, warrant
officer I.Ivanov, cadet
S.Kiryushin

32

August 7,
2003

Su-24MR

Bada
(Chita Region)

313th
reconnaissance air
regiment

2

Navigation
error

The plane lost orientation in adverse weather
conditions during approach for landing and
crashed into the side of a mountain due to
air traffic control error

Maj Aleksandr Dorokhov,
Capt Sergey Kupriyan

33

August 7,
2003

Mi-8T

Sokol
(Saratov Region)

131st training
helicopter regiment

0

Pilot error

Crashed into electricity pylons during
extreme low altitude flight

34

August 23,
2003

2 Mi-24V

Chernigovka
(Maritime
Territory)

319th independent
helicopter combat
and command
regiment

6

Pilot error

In breach of their flight plan, the crews
of six helicopters, whose flight was being
observed by Defense Minister Sergey Ivanov,
attempted to perform an aerobatic stunt
flying in pairs along the landing strip. In
the last pair, the main rotor blades of the
wingman helicopter caught the tail rotor of
the leader due to pilot error; both helicopters
fell to the ground and burst into flames

Lt Col Yuriy Aksenov, Senior
Lieutenant Yuriy Usatov,
Senior Lieutenant Vladislav
Gvozdev, Capt Vladimir
Khlyshuk, Capt Dmitriy
Belov, Senior Lieutenant
Dmitriy Derbenev

35

September
18, 2003

Tu-160

Stepnoye
(Saratov Region)

121st guard
heavy bomber air
regiment

4

Technical
problem

Failure of the air pressurization and
drainage system in the starboard fuel tank,
which led to falling pressure within the tank
and its subsequent disintegration. This
caused a fire in two starboard engines

Lt Col Yuriy Deyneko,
Maj Oleg Fedosenko,
Maj Sergey Sukhorukov,
Maj Grigoriy Kolchin

36

October 14,
2003

MiG-31

Borovaya
settlement (Tver
Region)

3958th guard
airbase

0

Technical
problem

During the first test flight after repairs, the
starboard engine fire alarm went off. As the
crew was attempting emergency landing,
the RPM of the working starboard engine
fell sharply, the hydraulics system failed and
the plane's roll reached a critical 15 degrees,
after which the crew ejected to safety

Maj Andrey YereMin,
Maj Oleg Gutyrkin

37

November
12, 2003

MiG-29

Mt. Urasar
(Armenia)

3624th airbase

1

Unknown

The plane went into a spin during an
aerobatic stunt (another version blames the
crash on a technical problem)

Maj Konstantin Kardash

01 red
Mikhail
Gromov

# 1, 2010 Moscow Defense Brief
Non-combat Losses of Russian Military
Aviation in 2000-2010

27

Facts & Figures
##

Date

Aircraft

Side
number

Unit

Casualties

Cause

Details

Crew

Lake Kalygir
(Kamchatka
Region)

317th independent
combined air
regiment of the
Pacific Fleet

0

Pilot error

Crashed during take-off from a frozen lake
in adverse weather conditions (according to
another version, the helicopter was landing,
not taking off). The wreck could not be
airlifted so it was cut into pieces and the
pieces then transported overland so as not to
pollute the lake.

Maj Mikhail Ostashovich,
Irek Nazmutdinov, Nikolay
Komyshev

Khurba
(Khabarovsk
Territory)

277th bomber air
regiment

0

Technical
problem

Failure of the variable wing sweep
mechanism - the wing went into extreme
sweep angle (69 degrees) and did not
respond to commands to take the landing
sweep angle

Capt Zaytsev, Senior
Lieutenant Kalenurov

Shatalovo
(Smolensk Region)

47th independent
guard
reconnaissance air
regiment

0

Technical
problem

Swerved from the strip during taxiing and
rolled over after repairs of the forward
landing gear leg.

Asbest (Sverdlovsk
Region)

933rd airbase

0

Unknown

Crashed during approach for landing

0

Pilot error

The helicopter spun out of control during a
U-turn and crashed due to a pilot error.

38

January 22,
2004

Mi-8T

39

February
12, 2004

Su-24M

40

March 4,
2004

Su-24MR

41

April 2,
2004

Mi-8

42

April 15,
2004

Mi-24P

43

July 6,
2004

Mi-8SMV

Zavorovo
(Tula Region)

226th independent
combined air
regiment

4

Unknown

The helicopter exceeded critical speed after
the external airflow pressure gauge started
sending incorrect readings due to icing

Maj Sergey Stalmakov,
Senior Lieutenant Mikhail
Papanin, Capt Anton
Shevtsov, Capt Aleksey Belyy

44

July 8,
2004

Tu-22M3

Soltsy (Novgorod
Region)

840th heavy bomber
air regiment

4

Technical
problem

The plane's electric systems failed during
landing, the fuel stopped flowing to the
engines, the ejection systems also failed

Maj Oleg Tyapkin, Capt Ilya
Laskov, Maj Nikolay Tolstov,
Capt Aleksandr Ivanov

45

September
7, 2004

Mi-8MT

Ust-Maimlya
(Kamchatka
Region)

329th independent
combined air
squadron of
strategic missile
troops

0

Technical
problem

Technical problems after take-off (one
version is that the fuel pumps lost power).
The helicopter crash-landed, rolled onto the
starboard side and caught fire

46

April 1,
2005

Mi-24P

Yurga training
ground

337th independent
combat helicopter
regiment

0

Pilot error

Collided with a fuelling truck during
complex and unplanned aerobatic
maneuvers due to pilot error

Lt Col Sergey Voronov,
Lt D.Safronov, Senior
Lieutenant N.Stepanov

47

May 12,
2005

MiG-29

31 blue

Andreapol (Tver
Region)

28th guard fighter
air regiment

1

Pilot error

The pilot, while flying at extreme low
altitude, attempted to perform the barrelroll stunt, which was not part of his flight
plan, botched the maneuver and crashed
into the ground

Maj Valeriy Gusev

48

May 21,
2005

Su-25

32

Yavan (Tajikistan)

670th air group (899
guard assault air
regiment)

0

Technical
problem

Fire in the port-side engine and steering
system failure in mid-flight

Maj Vadim Pryadchenko

49

June 1, 2005

MiG-31DZ

Khotilovo
(Tver Region)

790th fighter air
regiment

0

Technical
problem

The port-side landing gear leg disintegrated
during landing due to manufacturing
defects, the plane skidded from the runway,
disintegrated and burst into flames

Maj Oleg Zabolotnyy, Capt
Aleksandr Abushenkov

50

August 18,
2005

Mi-8MTV2

41

Khabarovsk
(Central)

825th independent
helicopter regiment

0

Technical
problem

The tail rotor and boom pylon disintegrated
in mid-air. The helicopter went into a spin
and fell from 1,200 meters

Capt Andrey Ivanenko,
Senior Lieutenant Oleg
Novikov, Senior Lieutenant
Vladimir Korolev

51

September
15, 2005

Su-27K
(Su-33)

82 red

North Atlantic

279th independent
naval fighter air
regiment

0

Technical
problem

The arrester wire snapped during landing
on the deck of the Admiral Kuztenstov
aircraft carrier, the plane careered into the
sea and sank

Lt Col Yuriy Korneev

52

September
15, 2005

Su-27P

12 red

Iotishkes village
(Lithuania)

177th fighter air
regiment

0

Navigation
error

The pilot lost orientation during a flight from
Leningrad Region to Kaliningrad Region.
The air traffic control services were unable
to help him. The pilot ejected after the plane
ran out of fuel

Maj Valeriy Troyanov

53

September
20, 2005

L-39C

Khanskaya airfield
(Maykop, Adygeya)

761st training air
regiment

0

Technical
problem

Engine failure during approach for landing

Senior Lieutenant Aleksey
Bokunov, cadet Andrey
Zaytsev

28

94

Location

08 white

# 1, 2010 Moscow Defense Brief
Non-combat Losses of Russian Military
Aviation in 2000-2010

Facts & Figures
##

Date

Aircraft

54

January 16,
2006

Su-24MR

55

March 15,
2006

Su-24M

56

June 28,
2006

Su-25

57

June 28,
2006

Su-24M

58

July 10,
2006

Tu-134VKP

59

July 14,
2006

Mi-8

60

July 27,
2006

MiG-29UB

61

July 30,
2006

62

Side
number

Location

Unit

Casualties

Cause

Details

Crew

Vozzhayevka
(Amur Region)

523rd bomber air
regiment

0

Technical
problem

The variable wing sweep mechanism
disintegrated and the wing could not be
configured for landing (16 degrees angle).
The crew ejected after burning the fuel off

Maj Voron, Koltsov

Kuleshovka
settlement
(Voronezh Region)

455th bomber air
regiment

0

Technical
problem

Steering system failure in mid-air due to
loss of pressure in the main and backup
hydraulics systems

Maj Vladimir Sergeev,
Capt Roman Ostroverkhov

Sokolya Sloboda
village (Bryansk
Region)

899th guard assault
air regiment

1

Unknown

The pilot blacked out due to oxygen system
failure in mid-air (another version is that the
pilot had a micro stroke)

Lt Col Andrey Vakhovskiy

66 white

Ostrov (Pskov
Region)

240th independent
combined air
regiment

0

Technical
problem

The crew ejected during take-off due to a
failure of the forward landing gear leg, the
plane was destroyed by fire

Nikolay Fedotov, Sergey
Krushin

05 red

Gvardeyskoye
airfield (Crimea,
Ukraine)

318th independent
combined air
regiment of the
Black Sea Fleet

0

Bird strike

Engine surge after a bird strike during
take-off. The pilot aborted the take-off,
but the plane careered past the end of the
runway, smashed into objects on the ground
and caught fire. Its passengers included the
commander of the Russian Navy, Admiral
Vladimir Masorin

Maj Oleg Gafiulov, Vladimir
Aleev, Chubov

Pushkin
(Leningrad
Region)

6th Air Force and
Air Defense Army

0

Unknown

Hard landing due to technical problems
(another version blames pilot error)

Bolshoye Savino
(Perm Territory)

Strizhy aerobatics
group of the 237th
guard aerospace
equipment
demonstration
center

0

Bird strike

Bird strikes took out both engines during
take-off. The crew ejected to safety

Col Nikolay Dyatel,
Col Igor Kurilenko

Su-24M

Medovoye village
(Kaliningrad
Region)

4th guard
independent naval
assault air regiment
of the Baltic Fleet

2

Pilot error

Crashed into the ground while trying to
descend below cloud level

Lt Col Viktor Poshekhontsev,
Lt Col Boris Sedov

September
11, 2006

Mi-8MT

Yuzhnyy
settlement (North
Ossetia)

4th Air Force and
Air Defense Army

11

Pilot error

Crashed into trees in mountainous terrain
and adverse weather conditions

Lt Col Aleksandr Sviridov,

63

September
14, 2006

L-39C

Novokubansk
(Krasnodar
Territory)

713th training air
regiment

1

Unknown

The pilot lost control while practising
exit from spin. The pyrocartridge in the
instructor's ejection mechanism failed to
go off

Senior Lieutenant Dmitriy
Khrebtov, cadet Zaur
Shaushev

64

March 21,
2007

2 MiG-29

Millerovo (Rostov
Region)

19th guard fighter
air regiment

0

Pilot error

Collision with the ground during a nosedive
maneuver

Lt Col Fakhradin Ulfanov,
Maj Denis Chirkin

65

August 9,
2007

L-39C

Khanskaya airfield
(Maykop, Adygeya)

761st training air
regiment

0

Technical
problem

Engine failure during approach for landing

Col Aleksandr Zhukov,
cadet Konstantin Prokofev

66

August 23,
2007

Su-24M

115 km north of
Khurba airfielf
(Khabarovsk
Territory)

277th bomber air
regiment

0

Technical
problem

Electric system failure

67

January 28,
2008

L-39C

Kotelnikovo
(Volgograd
Region)

704th training air
regiment

1

Pilot error

The crew was practising climb for another
landing attempt from flare-out altitude. The
plane hit the landing strip (possibly due
to icing). The instructor was killed during
ejection

Senior Lieutenant Sergey
Gorshkov, cadet Sergey
Detkov

68

February 1,
2008

L-39C

Armavir
(Krasnodar
Territory)

713th training air
regiment

0

Technical
problem

Engine failure in mid-air

Maj Andrey Serov

69

March 20,
2008

Su-25

Novoselskoye
(Maritime
Territory)

187th guard assault
air regiment

1

Pilot error

The plane performed an unexpected
maneuver during practice at a firing range
and was hit by an unguided S-8 missile fired
by its own wingman

Lt Col Sergey Yakovenko

07 white

01 blue

63 white

# 1, 2010 Moscow Defense Brief
Non-combat Losses of Russian Military
Aviation in 2000-2010

29

Facts & Figures
##

Date

Aircraft

Side
number

Location

Unit

Cause

Details

0

Unknown

Fell shortly after take-off and caught fire

Crew

70

June 24,
2008

Mi-24

71

July 29,
2008

Su-27UB

44 blue

Vozdvizhenka
(Maritime
Territory)

22nd guard fighter
air regiment

1

Technical
problem

Steering system failure immediately after
take-off

Maj Sergey Levchenko,
Lt Col Yuriy Abrosimov

72

October 17,
2008

MiG-29

11 white

Khadakta village
(Chita Region)

120th fighter air
regiment

0

Technical
problem

The airframe disintegrated in mid-air due to
corrosion and metal-fatigue cracks

Capt Mikhail Polorotov

73

December
5, 2008

MiG-29

55 white

Ingoda village
(Chita Region)

120th fighter air
regiment

1

Technical
problem

The airframe disintegrated in mid-air due to
corrosion and metal-fatigue cracks

Lt Col Valeryan Kokarev

74

December
19, 2008

Su-24M

02

Mosalskoye village
(Voronezh Region)

455th bomber air
regiment

0

Technical
problem

Steering system failure in mid-air due to
loss of pressure in the main and backup
hydraulics systems (another version is
starboard engine failure)

Lt Col Anatoliy Bolshechkov,
Maj Sergey Babeshko

75

February 3,
2009

Mi-24

Nadezhdinka
(Saratov Region)

626th training
helicopter regiment

3

Technical
problem

The main gearbox disintegrated in mid-air,
the rotor jammed and the blades were
torn off

Capt Sergey Safonov,
Lt Ilya Kartashov, Senior
Lieutenant Rinat Khubeev

76

March 17,
2009

L-39C

Alekseyevskoye
village (Krasnodar
Territory)

797th training air
regiment

1

Unknown

Technical problem or pilot error

Lt Aleksandr Zaytsev

77

May 4, 2009

Ka-27PL

Baltic Sea

396th independent
naval antisubmarine
helicopter squadron
of the Baltic Fleet

0

Pilot error

During landing on the deck of the Yaroslav
Mudryy patrol ship, the helicopter's blades
caught the deck superstructure. The
helicopter crashed onto the deck, then fell
into the sea and sank

Lt Col Oleg Vashenko

78

June 17,
2009

Su-24MR

Monchegorsk
(Murmansk
Region)

98th guard
reconnaissance air
regiment

0

Pilot error

Because of a pilot error, the plane had
excessive speed and roll during touchdown.
It bounced off the runway, then fell and
caught fire

79

June 19,
2007

Su-24M

KostinoBystryanskiy
village (Rostov
Region)

559th bomber air
regiment

0

Technical
problem

Due to a variable wing sweep mechanism
failure the wings could not be configured
for landing. The crew ejected after burning
off fuel

80

June 19,
2009

Mi-28N

43 yellow

(Nizhniy Novgorod
Region)

344th center for
combat training and
retraining of Army
Aviation pilots

0

Unknown

Exhaust from unguided missiles fired
in hovering mode was sucked into the
helicopter's air intake, causing engine surge.
The helicopter hard-landed from an altitude
of about 40 meters and rolled over onto the
port side. The main rotor and the tail pylon
were destroyed

81

August 16,
2009

Su-27UB
and Su-27

18 blue and
14 blue

Zhukovskiy
(Moscow Region)

Russkiye Vityazi
aerobatics group
of the 237th
guard aerospace
equipment
demonstration
center

2

Pilot error

Mid-air collision due to loss of visual
contact. The wingman bumped into the
leader's canopy and nose cone

Col Igor Tkachenko,
Col Igor Kurilenko,
Lt Col Vitaliy Melnik

82

November
6, 2009

Tu-142M3

55 red

Tatar Strait

568th independent
combined air
regiment of the
Pacific Fleet

11

Unknown

Fell into the sea during landing

Maj Vadim Kapkin,
Capt Aleksey Timofeev,
Senior Lieutenant Pavel
Cholak, Maj Aleksey
Ablonskiy, Lt Artem Blank,
Capt Sergey Gulyaev,
Capt Konstantin Sholokhov,
Lt Yevgeniy Dolgov, senior
warrant officer Valeriy
Voronkov, senior warrant
officer Andrey Fefilov, senior
warrant officer Nikolay
Palamar

83

January 14,
2010

Su-27SM

86 red

Galichnyy
(Khabarovsk
Territory)

6987th airbase

1

Unknown

Versions include technical problems, pilot
error, pilot blacking out

Col Vladimir Sobolev

30

Kochubeyevskiy
District (Stavropol
Territory)

Casualties

45 yellow

# 1, 2010 Moscow Defense Brief
Non-combat Losses of Russian Military
Aviation in 2000-2010

Lt Col Lev Balabanov,
Capt Aleksey Kazakov

Facts & Figures
Combined statistics of air accidents involving Defense Ministry aircraft in 2000-2010
Year

Number of accidents

Including crashes

Fatalities

2000
2001
2002
2003
2004
2005
2006
2007
2008
2009
2010

8
10
8
11
8
8
10
3
8
8
1

4
4
5
7
2
1
4
0
4
4
1

105
16
34
22
8
1
15
0
4
17
1

Total

83

36

223

Aircraft lost, by type
Type

Su-24
L-39
Mi-8
Su-27
MiG-29
Mi-24
Su-25
MiG-31
Ka-27
Tu-134
Il-18
An-26
Tu-142
An-12
Tu-160
Tu-22
Il-76
Mi-28
MiG-25

Causes
Number lost

Fatalities

15
13
12
10
9
7
4
4
2
1
1
1
1
1
1
1
1
1
1

6
54
8
5
3
12
3
1
4
84
17
11
7
4
4
0
0
0
0

Causes

technical problems
pilot error
unknown
navigation error
crew error
bird strike

Number of
accidents

Fatalities

33
28
14
3
3
2

16
90
31
86
0
0

# 1, 2010 Moscow Defense Brief
Non-combat Losses of Russian Military
Aviation in 2000-2010

31

Our Authors
Mikhail Barabanov. Graduated from the Moscow National University of Culture, then worked for the Moscow City Government.
Editor-in-Chief of MDB since 2008. An expert on naval history and armaments.
Andrey Frolov. Graduated with an honours degree from the Faculty of Foreign Affairs of Saint Petersburg State University and
in 2003 from the French-Russian Masters’ School of Political Science and International Relations. In 2003–2004 – researcher
at the Center for Policy Studies in Russia (PIR-Center), executive editor of Yaderny Kontrol magazine (in Russian). In 2004 –
project manager of Export control system transformation in Russia.
Natalia Grib is a journalism graduate of the Belarus National University. She took Reuters training courses in London
and Radio Free Europe courses in Prague. Joined Kommersant, a leading Russian broadsheet, in 2002 as a special energy
correspondent. Author of more than 2,000 articles on fuel and energy policy and of the book “The Gas Emperor”.
Anton Khlopkov is Director of the Moscow-based Center for Energy and Security Studies (CENESS) and Editor-in-Chief of
the Nuclear Club journal. He is a graduate of Moscow Engineering Physics Institute (MEPhI). From 2000 to 2009 he has worked
for the PIR Center (Center for Policy Studies in Russia), including as Deputy Director (2003–2007) and Executive Director
(2007–2009). He is the Editor-in-Chief of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Encyclopedia (2009). Co-author of the monographs:
“At the Nuclear Threshold: The Lessons of North Korea and Iran for the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Regime” (2007); Global
Partnership Against the Spread of Weapons of Mass Destruction Guidebook (2006); Nuclear Nonproliferation in RussianAmerican Relations: History, Opportunities and Outlook (2000); author of the monograph Iran’s Nuclear Program in RussianAmerican Relations (2001). He is an expert on nuclear proliferation and atomic energy issues.
Mikhail Lukin. Graduated in 1992 from Moscow State University with a degree in Journalism. In 1990 joined the Postfactum
news agency as an editor. In 1993 became a staff member of the XX Century and the World think-tank, and in 1994–1997
worked as head of the information section in the National News Service. In 1997 became deputy director of the information
center of the Kommersant Publishing House. Director of the information center of the Kommersant Publishing House
since 2003.
Konstantin Makienko. Graduated from the Oriental Department of the Moscow National Institute for International Relations
in 1995 and the French-Russian Masters’ School of Political Science and International Relations in 1996. He was head of a
project on conventional armaments at the Center for Policy Studies in Russia (PIR-Center) in 1996–1997. Since September of
1997, he has been Deputy Director of CAST. He is the author of numerous articles on Russia’s military-technical cooperation
with other countries.
Aleksandr Stukalin is a graduate of the Bauman Moscow State Technical University. Joined Kommersant, Russia’s leading
broadsheet, in 1992 and became the newspaper’s editor-in-chief in 2004. Deputy editor-in-chief of the Russian Newsweek
in 2005–2008. Deputy editor-in-chief of the Vedomosti newspaper in March-September 2008. Deputy editor-in-chief of
Kommersant from October 2008 to date.
Dmitry Vasiliev. Graduated in 2004 from the State University – Higher School of Economics with a Master’s Degree in Strategic
Management. From 2003 to mid-2004 worked as a risk evaluation analyst at Absolut Bank . CAST researcher since July 2004 ,
editor-in-chief of Eksport Vooruzheniy journal since 2005.

32

# 1, 2010 Moscow Defense Brief

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