MOSCOW, August, 5 (RIA Novosti) - The missile brigades of Russia’s Ground Forces will be equipped with advanced weaponry and hardware, including the 9K720 Iskander (SS-26 Stone) theater ballistic missile systems, as part of the 2020 state rearmament program, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said during a teleconference.
“In order to bring Iskander missiles into use, the army needs adequate infrastructure” the minister added.
In 2008, Russia launched the most extensive reorganization of its armed forces in its history. The army command system experienced a major transformation, with the overall size of the army reducing, and an increased proportion of professional troops compared to conscripted recruits. There has been a significant increase in the salaries of officers, who are also seeing their housing problems resolved.
Still, the main outcome of the reform is the unprecedented army re-equipment program. The percentage of advanced weapons in the army has already hit 16 percent and is expected to reach 70 percent before 2020.
“The government has appropriated immense funds for army re-equipment. I would note that back in 2003 the overall budget of the Defense Ministry was 600 billion rubles ($16.7 billion). This year, expenses for the Defense Ministry are running at 2.3 trillion rubles ($64 billion),” Russian President Vladimir Putin said during a meeting on rearmament and industrial defense complex modernization.
The Defense Ministry is planning to increase the share of advanced weaponry in the army to 30 percent in 2014. Russian Strategic Missile Forces regiments are to be equipped with RS-24 Yars (SS-27 Mod 2) mobile ballistic systems. Additionally, the ministry plans to rearm the Kozelsk missile unit with RS-24 Yars fixed missile systems.