President Putin and his officials are currently in the process of a succession of meetings to thrash out the next State Armaments Programme, which is due to last from 2018 to 2025.
When he became Russia’s leader in 2000 President Putin inherited a military suffering from a decade of chaos and severe neglect. Moreover with Russia’s military industries severely run down, broken up or dismantled, there was little in the short term he could do.
The result was that the focus was placed heavily on restoring Russia’s civilian economy, and though morale in the Russian military improved markedly in the first decade of Putin’s rule, its equipment continued to stagnate.
Over the last decade the situation has however transformed with a cascade of new weapons reaching the military, which for the first time since the Soviet period has been receiving the modern weapons it needs.
We do not yet know what form the new State Armaments Programme will take but we can make a number of guesses.
The ground forces will doubtless receive increasing numbers of the Armata, Kurganets and Bumerang armoured vehicles families.
The air force will acquire more and better drones, and larger numbers of the SU-34, SU-35 and MiG-35 fighter and fighter bomber families, and will begin to receive the new fifth generation SU-T50 fighter and of the updated TU-160 bomber. Work will also continue on a new subsonic stealth bomber and on upgrading Russia’s air transport fleet with a new heavy air transport aircraft possibly with the designation IL-106.
The air defence forces will receive the new exceptionally advanced S-500 surface to air missile system, and more of the S-350 and S-400 surface to air missile systems.
The strategic forces will receive the new Sarmat heavy ICBM, and the road and rail mobile Rubezh ICBM.
The navy will receive more Borey ballistic missile submarines, more Yasen attack submarines, and the new conventionally powered Kalina submarine.
The surface fleet in the meantime should receive more of the highly advanced Admiral Gorshkov class frigates.
In addition work will be done on all sorts of other systems, some of them highly secret, of which we known little.
What we do know is that in anticipation of the final draft of the State Armaments Programme Putin has recently been visiting arms factories and meeting with top military and industry officials at an intense rate.
This is likely to be the last State Armaments Programme of the Putin era. By the time of its completion Russia will probably have another leader.
Whoever that is, Putin is clearly determined that he or she will find the military in good shape.