The Russian Defense Ministry has cut financing on research and development in the defense industry by almost a half, a member of the Military-Industrial Commission said on Tuesday.
“In the framework of the state defense order, the financing of R&D has been reduced from 38% in 2005 to 18% in 2012,” Vladimir Pospelov told a meeting of Russian industrialists in Moscow.
Pospelov said the cuts had hampered the implementation of mid-and long-term R&D projects.
“Their completion has been delayed, which negatively affected the technology cycle for the development of new weaponry,” he said, adding that the military had folded a large number of R&D projects since 2009 as they became obsolete.
“As a result, the developers of weaponry run up debts and spend the funds allocated under state defense orders on paying them back,” the official said, adding that the Defense Ministry had to spend 2.8 billion rubles ($86 million) for these purposes.
Meanwhile, the Russian leadership has set modernizing the Russian Armed Forces as a priority for the next decade.
In line with the ambitious rearmament program until 2020, the government is planning to spend 20 trillion rubles ($614 billion) on purchases of advanced military equipment.
Deputy Commander of the Russian General Staff Maj. Gen. Igor Sheremet said in March that the R&D work on 400 defense-related projects was currently underway with an estimated value of 500 billion rubles ($15.5 bln).
Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin, who oversees Russia’s defense industry, on Wednesday will present a bill on the on the establishment of an advanced military research agency at the lower house of the Russian parliament, the State Duma.
The proposed Russian Foundation for Advanced Research Projects in the Defense Industry will be similar in its purpose to the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) in the United States.
The new body is expected to boost the development of advanced weaponry and help streamline the arms procurement process in Russia.