Russia launches $651B rearmament plan

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MOSCOW: Russia's Defense Ministry announced on Thursday a $651 billion rearmament plan that will allow the country to increase its share of modern weaponry to 70 percent by 2020, RIA Novosti reported.

Russia will buy 100 ships, over 600 aircraft and 1,000 helicopters under a 2011-2020 arms procurement program. More than 100 helicopters will be purchased this year, including Mi-26 Halo heavy transport helicopters, Mi-28 Night Hunter and Ka-52 Alligator attack helicopters.

Ten new generation S-500 air defense systems, which will replace the S-400 systems currently entering service with the Russian forces, are also due to be bought, according to First Deputy Defense Minister Vladimir Popovkin, who is in charge of arms procurement.

The official also confirmed that Russia will buy two Mistral assault ships from France, while two more of the ships will be built under license in Russia.

Russia is currently holding talks with France on the purchase of Felin advanced "future soldier" equipment, which includes new combat clothing with body armor and a new ballistic helmet, weapons, and a portable computer.

"We need something no less capable than the equipment that is now being studied by the United States, Germany and other states," Popovkin said, as cited by RIA Novosti.

On Thursday, it was also announced that Russian state arms exporter Rosoboronexport signed a $74-million contract on the modernization of 135 Russian BMP-3 (amphibious infantry fighting vehicle) with the United Arab Emirates.

Russia's Defense Ministry submitted the arms procurement spending plan for 2011-2020 to the government in December. As part of the modernization of the armed forces, almost a quarter of the total budget will go on Russia's long under-funded navy.

The new program will allow Russia to increase the share of modern weaponry to 70 percent by 2020.

(BNO NEWS )

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