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    Arms program will get $185 bln over 9 years - defense minister

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    Russia will spend almost 5 trillion rubles ($185 bln at current prices) on a state armaments program over the next nine years, the defense minister said Monday.

    MOSCOW, May 29 (RIA Novosti) - Russia will spend almost 5 trillion rubles ($185 bln at current prices) on a state armaments program over the next nine years, the defense minister said Monday.

    Sergei Ivanov, who is also a deputy prime minister, told a government meeting with President Vladimir Putin that a ministry committee would consider the program, which will run 2007-2015, at a meeting on June 2.

    Ivanov said a draft of the program - which covers modernization and development of Russia's military capability - had been coordinated with security agencies, the Finance Ministry and the Economic Development and Trade Ministry.

    "During program development we proceeded from the bases of defense policy, plans to develop the Armed Forces approved by the president, and a complex program of military and technical cooperation," he said.

    The deputy prime minister said that unlike the current program, which focuses mainly on research and development, the new one would focus on serial armaments purchases, with 63% of all planned funds likely to be spent in this way.

    Ivanov said the program would support the development of Russia's strategic nuclear forces.

    "We are switching to complex retooling on separate units, and the planned and complex retooling of the Armed Forces will start from 2007," he said.

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