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    Russia set to buy 69 Topol-M missile systems by 2015

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    VOLGOGRAD, July 13 (RIA Novosti) - Russia is planning to purchase 69 silo-based and mobile Topol-M ballistic missile systems in the next decade, the defense minister said Thursday.

    "We are planning to buy 69 [Topol-M] systems by 2015," Sergei Ivanov said at a meeting with defense industry officials in the Volgograd Region.

    Ivanov, who is also a deputy prime minister, said the defense ministry was also planning to procure 60 Iskander-M tactical ballistic missile systems to equip five missile brigades, 57 Sprut-SD self-propelled guns, 499 Rakushka airborne armored personnel carriers, and several Bereg mobile coastal artillery systems.

    The defense minister earlier said that Russia's 2006 defense order would total $9 billion and increase by 20% to 303.7 bln rubles ($11.2 bln) in 2007.

    However, Ivanov reiterated that defense industry enterprises should not rely solely on increasing state orders and must rapidly develop production of dual-purpose and civilian goods to stay competitive.

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