Rostec Industrial Director: fulfillment of the state defense order is our priority task - TASS interview

Image source: Ростех

Bekhan Ozdoev — about how the state corporation's enterprises rebuilt their work in connection with their

Since March 2022, the number of purchased and upgraded basic weapons and military equipment, which are supplied under the state defense order, has increased by 1.8 times. In 2023 — more than five times compared to the beginning of 2022. Thus, the volume of deliveries and overhaul of T-72 and T-90 tanks increased 3.6 times, Ka-52 and Mi-28 helicopters — two and three times, respectively. The volume of ammunition production has also increased by an order of magnitude. Such data was given on July 11 by Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu. Bekhan Ozdoev, Industrial director of the cluster of conventional weapons, ammunition and special chemicals of the state corporation, told TASS in an interview about how the enterprises of the Rostec state Corporation fulfill the state defense order and have rebuilt to work in connection with the ongoing special military operation, as well as what weapons are being improved based on the experience of combat use.

— Bekhan Ibrahimovich, today many industrial enterprises are talking about a shortage of personnel. How does the cluster of weapons cope in this situation, which has been the main burden since the beginning of its operation?

— Our factories are working to win, the production volumes are enormous. In 2022, the state corporation's enterprises additionally attracted more than 30 thousand employees. If we talk about the cluster of weapons, then this year the factories will increase in number by an average of 10%. We are actively recruiting qualified workers and engineers to fulfill the increased state defense order.

I would like to note that we offer specialists decent wages and a good social package. The enterprises of Uralvagonzavod (UVZ) and other defense holdings have VMI (voluntary medical insurance) and there are different types of financial assistance, there is a housing program and much more — we support labor collectives, this is very important. 

— Is there enough current production capacity to fulfill the state defense order?

— Enterprises have switched to two- and three-shift operation. Many factories work around the clock, including on weekends. This means that both people and production lines are loaded as much as possible.

We are expanding in areas where demand has increased multiple times and current capacity is insufficient. For example, Kalashnikov creates a division of special machines. This structure will multiply the production of reconnaissance drones and barrage ammunition. The same "Lancets" are very much needed today, during their time they have repeatedly proved their effectiveness. It is not for nothing that foreign media call them "the most massive killer of APU equipment."

In addition to the drones themselves, the division will produce ground-based means of launching them, as well as control and verification vehicles, mobile control points from complexes for correcting high-precision ammunition, and special-purpose equipment maintenance facilities.

The technical re-equipment also affected the manufacturers of multiple launch rocket systems. Five new workshops have been built to increase the capacity of Tula Alloy.

We have also thoroughly reformatted the work of artillery manufacturers. We consolidated all our plants for the production of "trunks" and ammunition for them as part of "Techmash". Four UVZ assets were transferred there — Plant No. 9, Central Research Institute "Burevestnik", "Uraltransmash" and TSNIIM. That is, both guns and shots to them, and at the same time, one structure will be engaged in the repair and maintenance of artillery systems. As a result, we will accelerate a number of R&D and increase the supply of artillery to the troops.

— In connection with the special operation, the need for military equipment has increased. Have you managed to increase its production?

— Of course, we have significantly increased the output of these products. So, we regularly hand over to the Ministry of Defense lots of T-90M "Breakthrough" tanks, heavy flamethrower systems TOS-1A and other equipment. In June, for example, we handed over to the Ministry of Defense the first batch of new self-propelled artillery 2S19M1 "Msta-S" as part of the state contract this year. Today, we produce one and a half times more tanks and infantry fighting vehicles per quarter than before the SVO for a whole year.

Production volumes at Omsktransmash have increased fourfold over the past year — this plant, let me remind you, specializes in the production of armored vehicles, their repair and modernization. Here, by the way, a unique, the only automatic line for the assembly of tracked belts in Russia has been launched. The tracks that are produced here are provided for all tanks produced in the country.

— Now there is a lot of talk about "shell starvation" in the troops. How are things going with the supply of ammunition to our troops?

— Deliveries are carried out continuously, rhythmically and in accordance with the schedules agreed with the Ministry of Defense. There were no interruptions, there are no interruptions and there will be no interruptions. The fulfillment of the state defense order is a priority task for us, all forces are thrown at it. I will not name the absolute numbers. I can only say that since the beginning of 2023, we have produced 20 times more MLRS shells than last year. The output of ammunition in 122 mm, 220 mm, 300 mm calibers has been significantly increased. For individual items of ammunition, production growth is up to 50 times.

— Is Rostec increasing the production of adjustable artillery ammunition? How is this segment developing based on the results of its?

— Production is increasing across the entire popular nomenclature. For example, Krasnopol has proven itself well in the SVO zone. This is the development of "High-precision complexes", a well-aimed and very effective weapon. We are improving it, including taking into account the experience of our own. It is obvious that high-precision ammunition is the future. Everything goes to the fact that over time they will replace the usual ones.

— What types of Russian military equipment are being refined today in the first place?

— Any weapon undergoes modernization and improvement based on the results of combat use. This is a continuous process.

For example, after the appearance of multiple rocket launchers (MLRS) HIMARS by the enemy, the specialists of the "High-precision Complexes" modified the anti-aircraft missile and cannon complex "Pantsir" to intercept the shells of these systems. Today we see examples of successful counteraction to HIMARS strikes with the help of our ZRPC. There are precedents when out of 12 launched shells of the American MLRS, all 12 are shot down.

According to the results of operation in the conditions of the SVO, the Kalashnikov assault rifle was modified. The level of protection of tanks and infantry fighting vehicles has been increased. Certain improvements were made to the corrected Krasnopol projectile and other military products.

The combat experience gained in the SVO is invaluable, it is taken into account when finalizing existing and creating new weapons.

— The Pentagon said that the APU with the help of the American Patriot anti-aircraft missile system shot down a Russian hypersonic missile "Dagger" of your production. Can you comment on this statement in any way?

— Don't trust your enemies. The battles in the information field are no less active than in the zone of its own. It is impossible to shoot down the Dagger, existing air defense and missile defense systems, including Patriot, cannot repel such a blow. Let me remind you that in May, the American air defense system was able to "stop" our missile only with its own body.

— Let's talk about modern self-propelled artillery installations (ACS), for which mobility characteristics are becoming increasingly important. Do Rostec enterprises have plans to develop new self-propelled guns on a wheeled platform?

— Such developments already exist. For example, the Central Research Institute "Burevestnik" created self-propelled guns "Drok" and "Malva" on wheeled chassis. Both vehicles have been tested and will soon be delivered to the troops. This is a new generation of equipment for the ground forces. Such self-propelled guns have high mobility, provide high shooting accuracy. The main operations of firing preparation are automated there, there is a modern digital fire control system. In addition, the installations provide high protection of fighters and ammunition. More comfortable conditions have been created for the crew, which is also very important.

— Today, in the course of hostilities, strike drones and drones are actively used, which throw ammunition from above on armored vehicles. How is the protection of armored vehicles being improved with this in mind?

— Military equipment is being refined taking into account modern threats in order to increase the survival rate on the battlefield of both the vehicles themselves and military personnel, first of all. First of all, we are working on options for effective protection of the upper hemisphere. This is where Javelins, attack drones, grenades and bombs dropped from drones attack. Some of the solutions are already being applied and are showing their effectiveness. New special complexes are also being created for these purposes, but it is too early to talk about them publicly.

— At the beginning of 2023, Rostec announced that the RDG-U hand grenade, which provides camouflage of personnel and equipment from high-precision weapons, successfully passed state tests. Has the serial production of these grenades already begun? Have they already been used in their own?

— The grenade creates a fast and long smoke screen plus heat zones with high temperature. This protects well from weapons with thermal imaging sights and from high-precision weapons with thermal guidance. Now preparations are underway to start mass production of this product. The timing of the start of production depends on the customer. We expect that we will receive an order for the first batch of RDG-U this year.

Let me remind you that in terms of its characteristics, the RDG-U significantly surpasses not only domestic, but also foreign analogues. The Federal Service for Intellectual Property has recognized this special ammunition as an invention, and a corresponding patent has been obtained for it.

— The robotization of technology has become a recent trend. At the Army-2022 Forum Rostec presented a robotic BMP-3 with a combat module "Tit", thanks to which the machine was able to be controlled remotely. What's next?

— "Tit" is a development of our Research Institute "Signal" from the holding "High—precision complexes". She showed the real possibilities and effectiveness of controlling the equipment "from the remote control". But we went further and created the Prometheus hardware and software complex. With its help, you can turn any car, both wheeled and tracked, into a robot. It can be an IFV, an APC or a tank. The control is provided by a remote control, while the regular seats of the crew members are preserved. Minor modification of combat vehicles is required.

Remote control — whether it's air complexes, sea or land — is the future. I am sure that a little time will pass, and such a technique will become widespread. After all, it can solve tasks on the front line without putting the lives of fighters at risk.

— The practice of ITS shows that the robotics operator also risks being hit.

— We understand this, so the project is developing towards increasing autonomy. The combat vehicle will be able to move along the specified coordinates without the participation of an operator with an exit to the desired point. Learn how to determine the best route offline, avoid obstacles, process information quickly with the help of technical vision. If you combine Prometheus with advanced fire control systems, you will get a real terminator.

Another initiative development of the "Signal" was the new orientation system "Owl". It was created taking into account the experience of using armored vehicles in its own and can be used in infantry fighting vehicles, tanks, armored personnel carriers. This is a new generation system that can improve the technical characteristics of the equipment and simplify the performance of combat missions.

Filin has fundamentally new functionality, the main one of which is the use of all types of electronic cards. The system provides mapping of the operational situation, simultaneous display of its object and the objects of the unit, including in motion, mapping of enemy targets on an electronic map, etc. In addition, the functionality of the system provides concentrated fire by several combat vehicles, as well as work from closed positions.

— Is Rostec currently developing cartridges for snipers? Which ones?

— Yes, we are actively conducting development work. They are aimed at upgrading existing sniper cartridges in 7.62 mm and 12.7 mm calibers. In addition, Kalashnikov creates new ammunition taking into account the trends in the development of sniper weapons. In terms of their tactical and technical characteristics, they will be at the level of the best foreign models, and in some they will surpass them.

— Today, many companies producing sights for small arms have in their arsenal intelligent sights with built-in ballistic complexes that allow the shooter to make corrections to the calculations of the shot without taking his eyes off the sight and without violating the tab of the weapon. Are such samples being developed by Rostec enterprises?

— Yes, we have similar developments. For example, Kalashnikov creates a fire control system for small arms. In particular, it will not allow a shot to be fired until the brand of the sight is compatible with the target. In the future, the system will perform a fairly large range of tasks that today lie entirely on the arrow. This is the detection of a target, its capture in sight, the introduction of corrections for current weather data, and much more.

The Novosibirsk Instrument-Making Plant of the Shvabe Holding is also engaged in the creation of intelligent sights with built-in ballistic calculators. In his arsenal there are several such models, including thermal imaging. They measure the distance to the target, make automatic calculations and enter corrections for shooting. In this case, both the angle of the target location and the pressure and air temperature are taken into account. The pre-set parameters of the weapon and the cartridge used are taken into account.

In general, I note that the concept of the development of modern means of destruction is not only in the development of smart elements for weapons. Modern weapons are only one of the components of the defeat system. In addition to sighting systems, it also includes ammunition, additional equipment for data exchange as part of a network-centric system. That is, it is a large complex where everything should be interconnected. 

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