Budget 2020: Road-Way Gate for Army Development

"In 2020, the Ministry of Defense will receive resources for army maintenance and a little for tactical warfare," a General with 20 years of experience in programs and documents preparing in the security sector told me after reviewing the draft budget for the Government's program. He sighed and added: "Please note that the Government's program does not contain a word about creating a professional army, just as there is nothing about the development of the defense industry. The army remains outside the priorities of the current Government."

Formally, the draft budget for the Ministry of Defense for 2020 covers less than 50% of the requirements declared by the General staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. Namely, the budget of the Military Department included UAH 102 bln UAH when assessing the desired amount of UAH 220 bln. Another figure is striking: the line “Development, purchase, modernization and repair of weapons, military hardware, means and equipment” provides for 16.6%. This, by the way, is very far from NATO standards, which provide for the purchase of 25 to 30% of defense spending. For comparison, this year the same line provides for 16.97% of defense spending. It is noteworthy that out of the UAH 18.1 bln envisaged under this article in 2019, almost UAH 5 bln will be spent on the repair and maintenance of existing weapons and military hardware (WMH) of the AFU. Therefore, the question of whether it is possible to develop the country’s defense potential within the framework of the former attitude to the army becomes rhetorical. The Army of Ukraine, which is waging a war, will not come close to high-tech army in 2020, even if it is possible to create a “State in a smartphone”.

Although from the very beginning, Zelensky’s team did not hide that the defense industry and the army do not fall within the scope of the country’s restructuring priorities, in reality, the draft budget and the government’s program for a number of experts became a tangible signal that the state ship can take a risky course. Or even false one.

Threats that Have not Disappeared

In September, RF defense Minister Sergiy Shoigu made an unequivocal remark: “Extremists in Ukraine will still have to be stopped. It’s a pity they have not done this earlier.” Translated into ordinary language, this means that the Kremlin, as before, is preparing for a large-scale war to destroy Ukraine, regretting that it missed the moment of successful attack.

Here are just some nuances of RF preparation to war. At the beginning of 2019, the total equipment status of the Russian Armed Forces with modern weapons and military hardware has increased to 61% (in the land forces – 48.3, in the aerospace forces – 74, in the naval forces — 62.3, in the airborne troops-63.7%). In one State structure of Ukraine, we have deduced our indicator: in the defense forces of Ukraine the number of new WMH does not exceed 10%. CACDS experts are more skeptical: there are no more than 5-6% of new WMH considering foreign military assistance and the efforts of volunteers!

April 2, cy Putin has approved the “Concept of Development of the RF Aerospace Defense for the Period up to 2030”, in which Russia launches a program of strategic aviation modernization. Among other things, within 2019 program framework, it is planned to complete the modernization of missile-carrier bomber Ту-95МСМ and by the end of 2020 the strategic bomber Ту-160СМ. This year, tests of fighter aircraft of 5th-generation Су-57 and heavy combat drone “Ohotnik” (Hunter) have intensified. The RF Ministry of Defense and State company “Sukhoi” have signed a contract in 2019 to modernization of a large batch of front-line fighter aircraft-bombers Су-34 (generation++). In addition, May 16, cy Putin assured his fellow citizens that Russian Aerospace Forces will still receive 76 Су-57 in the coming years instead of the planned 12-15. From 2020 Russian Aerospace Forces will also receive the first new air defense systems C-350 “Vityaz” (60 km destruction range). And this year, the Russian Federation officially announced the start of production of advanced anti-missile and air defense systems C-500 “Prometey” (Prometheus), which will be delivered from 2020.

It is worth noting that the Russian Federation performs a series of measures to ensure high-quality operation with the help of modern means of combat control, automation of decision-making processes, and reduction of combat control cycles. In addition to the supply of ACS “Akatsia” (Acacia), a set of common control system of tactical level (CCS TL) “Sozvezdie-M2” (Constellation), and CCS of operational-tactical level (OTL) “Andromeda-D” are delivered recently to control the armed forces. New electronic warfare systems (EW) “Palantyn”were delivered to the Western military district. And in the occupied territories of Ukraine, automated stations for installing radio interference R-378a “Tobol” designed to suppress radio communications, were also identified. As well as the latest electronic warfare systems “Krasuha”, “Leer”, “Repellent” and first demonstrated only in 2017 “Bylina”.

These touches to the common situation of rearming reflect the general trend of rearming course: development of missiles and their carriers (airplanes), strengthening of air defense, achieving of benefits using technology (control systems and EW).