RUSSIA'S DEFENSE MINISTRY TO INCREASE STATE PROCUREMENT FROM MILITARY INDUSTRIAL ENTERPRISES

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IZHEVSK, October 20 (RIA Novosti) - The Defense Ministry will increase the share of state procurement for Russia's military industrial enterprises, Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov told reporters upon his arrival in Izhevsk (Udmurtian Republic, Volga Federal District).

"In 2005 the Defense Ministry will increase the share of state procurement from Votkinski Zavod research and production enterprise and Izhmash (both enterprises are stationed in Udmurtia), said the defense minister.

The defense minister said that during his trip he was facing two main tasks: to become familiar with the military industrial enterprises and to inspect the progress of combat training and preparation of the district's troops and visit training ranges of the Samara and Orenburg regions, which would host a muster of the level readiness units.

The minister also said that in the headquarters of the second army he was planning to discuss a number of issues related to establishing the first professional peacekeeping brigade.

"In 2005, the volume of the state defense order placed in Udmurtia's military industrial complex will grow by more than one billion rubles ($1 is 29.12 rubles as rated by the Russian Central Bank) and exceed two billion", said the minister.

"My today's visit to the military industrial enterprises expressly proves that the rumors about the distressful situation of the Russian military industrial complex are greatly exaggerated", noted Mr. Ivanov after visiting Votkinski Zavod research and production enterprise.

According to the minister, the enterprise survived all the difficulties of the 1990s and now firmly stands on the ground producing a wide range of missile systems and strategic missiles: theater, air defense and anti-tank missiles.

"Speaking of Udmurtia as a whole, it produces a wide range of military products from strategic missiles to assault rifles. It develops state-of-the-art means of communication and target acquisition, weapons control systems, and most of the enterprises have been operating steadily of late", said the minister.

After seeing a display of military and civil products in Izhevsk, Sergei Ivanov stated that tests of Bulava intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) had proved the high quality of Russia's military equipment.

"Underwater test launches of ICBM Bulava showed that everything is fine here so far", the minister told the reporters.

The minister emphasized that he was very much concerned over the quality of military products.

"If we say that the Russian Army should rearm, then it should obviously switch to new weapon systems requiring new element base and new technological level. It means that the enterprises, manufacturing this materiel, should be rearmed as well, that is to be equipped with new machinery and shift to new scientific base. These two processes can not be divided", stated Mr. Ivanov.

He said that the Defense Ministry plans to purchase "a lot of new military equipment", in particular, in Udmurtia, including such "state-of-the-art weapon systems" as Iskander theater missile or Bulava.

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