The Russian Arms Sales and Sanctions Monthly Snapshot captures a selection of the most salient open source material on Russian arms sales and information related to Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) Section 231 sanctions. The snapshot is compiled monthly. The RAND Corporation gathers this open source material as part of a project for the U.S. Department of State to monitor activities related to CAATSA Section 231. Open source materials are selected for the Monthly Snapshot based on analyst judgement to illustrate the diversity of sources, regions, and weapons systems.
This Monthly Snapshot captures a selection of the most salient open-source material on Russian arms sales and information related to Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) Section 231 sanctions during November 2022. The RAND Corporation seeks credible open-source material, curates it, but does not verify the content of this open-source material as part of a project for the U.S. Department of State to monitor activities related to CAATSA Section 231.
Selection: Open source materials are selected for the Monthly Snapshot based on analyst judgement to illustrate the diversity of sources, regions, and weapons systems
The article reports that Russia has recorded about $8 billion in arms sales in 2022. Russia has historically been the second largest exporter of arms after the U.S. but this year, South Korea has already exported $17 billion worth of arms. This places it ahead of Russia in terms of arms sold in 2022. The article, notes that Russia still has $57 billion in contracts to develop and supply arms. However, western experts believe the war in Ukraine as well as sanctions imposed on Russia, will adversely affect Russia's military industrial complex and impact its ability to fulfil these contracts.
The article analyzes the problems that the Chinese defense industry is facing. It is argued that the prospects for Russia-China military-industrial cooperation do not look promising. China has the potential to overcome existing challenges. Thus Russia might have to increase joint production to maintain its arms exports to China.
The article provides an overview of Russia's defense sector. Russia says that it is not facing any challenges with replenishing its weapons systems and new deliveries (as well as investments in production capacity) have been observed. However, Russia's defense spending is believed to have grown significantly more than the budget. Russia's defense spending is believed to be about $92.6 billion, against an initial budget of $58 billion. The 2023 defense budget has also been reviewed upward from $57.38 billion to $82.68 billion. Other challenges the Russian defense industry faces include: personnel shortage (the industry is believed to have a gap of 400,000 workers), drop in average production rate (from 8 - 12 Su-34 per year between 2011 and 2020, Russia is believed to have an average production rate of 7 Su-34 per year between 2021 and 2024), and the lack of engines needed for Russia's fighter jets.
In reaction to the sanctions imposed on Russia, the Prime Minister, Mikhail Mishustin, has pledged to increase investment in aircraft engine production to reduce Russia's dependence on foreign supplies. He pledged an investment of 44 billion rubles, about 718 million USD, to the United Engine Corporation which will be used to expand the production of civil and military aircraft. He expects manufacturers to produce about 50 PD-8 engines, 20 PS-90A engines, and 14 PD-14 engines. He also expects a prototype of the PD-35 high thrust-engine by the end of 2024.
The certification process for the Ka-62 helicopter has been put on hold because over 60% of its components are imported. Since these components can no longer be freely obtained, Russian Helicopters needs to revise the components on the aircraft and begin the certification again. Bench testing of the aircraft is expected to be completed in 2024 and certification is expected to be completed in 2025. Russian Helicopters forecasts that sales of the helicopter will reach 365 by 2030. "The Ka-62 multi-purpose medium-lift transport helicopter has been under development since the mid-1980s."
President Putin, speaking with his coordination council, said Russia needed to modernize its weapons. He is quoted as saying feedback from users of Russian weapons systems (soldiers) should be sought and used to judge how well the systems are performing. The article reports that this is in contradiction to President Putin's earlier statement that Russia's weapons systems are "more modern than those of NATO." He earlier made this statement when he announced the partial military mobilization.
Measures Impacting CAATSA and Other Sanctions Measures
The article cites a report from Ukraine's Main Directorate of Intelligence (HUR) that despite sanctions, Western companies continue to produce the microchips that support the “Russian GPS” GLONASS navigation system for its missiles and drones. These purchases are made by Russia “through numerous shell companies and distributors.” These chips are used in the Russian systems such as Orlan-10, Tornado-S and Smerch multiple launch rocket systems, Iskander, Kinzhal, Kalibr, and Kh-series missiles. The article recommends that Western companies stop manufacturing GLONASS enabled chips, otherwise, Russia will continue to find ways to evade sanctions and purchase these chips.
November 17, 2022 | Centre for Military and Political Studies
The article analyzes the prospects for Russia's future as an arms exporter. A significant increase in Russia's share of the arms market is believed to be unlikely. Russia should focus on maintaining its current position. Also, Russia can increase the range of offered services for the modernization of previously purchased systems, which is often more attractive than buying new weapons systems and disposing of obsolete ones. Many countries strive to become autonomous in terms of producing their military systems. Russia can start offering services for the localization of military systems more actively. This, however, has to be done cautiously not to deprive itself of future markets.
The article reports that Rostec continues to supply the Russian state with Tornado-G and Tornado-S multiple launch rocket systems (MLRS). Rostec announced that it has started making these systems "in three shifts" and this has required it to hire more personnel. To maintain this level of production, Rostec is believed to have "established an influx of illegal supplies of household electronics" which are stripped for their component parts. Using electronic components from dual-use goods has helped Russia circumvent Western sanctions.
November 16, 2022 | Interfax International Information Group
Rostec and Evrofinance Mosnarbank are working to create digital financial instruments for settling international transactions. According to the report, these financial instruments will not be subject to sanctions. Thus, they have the potential to help Russia evade sanctions imposed against it. The instruments will facilitate the settlement of transactions between Russia and Venezuela, as well as "other interested sides". The article also mentions that Rostec holds "50% plus two shares" in the Venezuelan Evrofinance Mosnarbank.
The article reports that since Russia's exclusion from the SWIFT system, payments to India have been an issue. Russia has supplied India with oil and agreements have been made for defense articles (S-400 and stealth frigates) but because of the trade imbalance in favor of India, Rupees are accumulating in Russia. The rupee-rouble payment system is not working as expected. Dmitry Shugaev, Director of the Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation (FSMTC), said sanctions have made this the new reality of Russian exporters of military products. Payments for defense deals have been reduced to a minimum. Measures to sidestep the sanctions are however being adopted.
The article discusses Russia's poor UAV capabilities which has caused it to rely on UAVs from other countries. Volunteers from different regions in Russia have purchased Chinese commercial drones while the Russian government has purchased Iranian drones. Some reasons for why Russian-made UAVs have a poor performance record include that Russia has not devoted sufficient resources to developing its UAV capabilities, dependence on imported components, lack of necessary electronics and technologies, and an "absence of serial manufacturing." In addition, Russia's private defense contractors are affiliated with the Russian Armed Forces or the Russian Government, which has stifled their innovation.
Russian Military Systems Export Marketing and Sales
The article reports that negotiations are under way between Algeria and Russia for a contract of up to $12 billion. It is believed that the contract will help Algeria acquire weapons systems as well as modernize its arsenal. The article notes that this will increase Algeria's dependence on Russia for its weapons systems. A huge increase in Algeria's 2023 defense budget is expected to provide the funding for the agreement. Algeria is expected to increase its defense spending from about $10 billion to $23 billion in 2023. The article also mentions analysts are watching to see how the U.S. responds with the CAATSA sanction. It is believed that Secretary Blinken has not applied sanctions against Algeria despite calls from U.S. parliamentarians to do so because he intends to win Algeria away from Russia.
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This monthly snapshot is part of a U.S. government foreign assistance effort to help countries comply with U.S. and international sanctions associated with the purchase of Russian advanced conventional weapons.