MOSCOW, June 24 (RIA Novosti) - The Russian Defense Ministry has signed 737 billion rubles (about $22.5 billion) worth of contracts as part of its arms procurement program for 2013, a senior ministry official said on Monday.
The signed deals account for 82.4 percent of this year’s arms procurement quota, Deputy Defense Minister Yury Borisov said.
The total defense spend this year exceeds 1 trillion rubles, up 40 percent on 2012, including credits and subsidies to defense firms, he said.
The Russian government has allocated 20 trillion rubles ($641 billion) for the comprehensive rearmament of Russia's armed forces up to 2020. Russia's 2011-2020 arms procurement program stipulates the upgrade of up to 11 percent of the forces' military equipment annually and will boost the share of modern weaponry in the armed forces' inventory to 70 percent by 2020.
The Russian defense industry has been criticized recently for delays in the signing and fulfilment of military contracts, as well as for the inefficient use of state funds in the production of new weaponry. The Finance Ministry has proposed extending the duration of the arms procurement program in “problem areas,” such as the delivery of combat ships and strategic submarines, beyond 2020.