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Analysis: Army 2022 international forum lays foundation for new Russian army of 21st century.

| 2022

MOSCOW, August 23. /TASS-DEFENSE/. The Army 2022 international military-technical forum has become a platform for demonstrating the achievements of Russia’s defense industry and laid the foundation for a fundamentally new army of the 21st century, military experts told TASS. The forum was held on August 15-21 at the Patriot exhibition center near Moscow. The event was organized by the Russian Defense Ministry.
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Lessons are being drawn from the Ukrainian campaign to reshape the Russian army into a completely different one (Picture source: Army Recognition)

“The Army 2022 is a platform for [demonstrating] the achievements of the Russian defense industry,” Head of the Bureau of Military and Political Analysis Alexander Mikhailov told TASS. “The results of the forum, among other things, will lay the foundation for a completely new army of the 21st century, which, after the special military operation in Ukraine, will take into account all the shortcomings and all the advantages of our weapons and adjust the state defense procurement program in such a way that Russia buys the most necessary things and in the right volumes.”

According to the Russian Defense Ministry, this year, the forum was attended by 1,497 enterprises and organizations, which presented 28,536 military and dual-use products. Official military delegations from 85 foreign countries took part in the forum. The total number of representatives of foreign military departments exceeded 700 people. As many as 160 bilateral meetings with foreign partners were held. Belarus, Iran and China presented their own national expositions.

“Russia is a great country with a powerful and strong army and a high-tech defense industry,” TASS military observer Viktor Litovkin said. “Its achievements are annually demonstrated at the forum and used in combat operations, including in the special military operation. Of course, many people, including experts, are interested in looking at the latest technologies of our defense industry, first of all, Western ones, from Southeast Asia, the Middle East, Africa, the US and so on, from everywhere.” Litovkin is sure that military attaches from many NATO member states visited the Army 2022 forum secretly.

Miser pays twice

The head of the Bureau of Military and Political Analysis believes that the Russian defense industry should look ahead and not save on innovative technologies that will become trend-setting in the arms market of tomorrow. “The situation with unmanned aerial vehicles shows that it is not worth saving money on some weapons because later the expenses will be much higher,” Mikhailov said.

In the mid-2000s, Russia seemed hopelessly behind the world’s leading military powers in the field of drone production. In 2009, a batch of Israeli-made unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) of various classes was purchased for study and use as prototypes for independent development. Then, many Russian companies began to develop UAVs. As of today, the lag from the leading countries producing drones has been largely reduced.

Mikhailov also stressed that the Russian defense industry needs to invest in new products, generate breakthrough ideas and attract more partners within our country. “State orders should be given to our guys, our young designers. Let them earn money. Not the Chinese, not the Iranians, but our own, the Russians,” he said.

The head of the Bureau of Military and Political Analysis also said that many conclusions should be drawn, including taking into account the intermediate results of the special military operation in Ukraine. In particular, according to him, it is necessary to expand the list of drones available in Russia, stimulate research and development work, as well as design efforts among the commercial sector and arms manufacturers.

“We need to give more opportunities to small businesses and large organizations to participate in and create internal competition,” Mikhailov emphasized. “There should not be one or two drones of the same type, which are purchased by the Russian Defense Ministry. There should be 10-15 producers of different UAVs. We should choose the best for our army, and only then think about what we will sell on foreign markets. Our own army should stand head and shoulders above those states that buy weapons from us.”

One of the interesting advanced systems displayed at the forum was the Lisa (Fox) UAV from the Promcompozit Company, which can fire grenades. Such drones are currently being used in the special operation in Ukraine.

It was also noted that many manufacturers of optics focused on the creation and development of systems for detecting and destroying UAVs. “Now there is a trend towards the development of UAVs, their cheap batch production, and the second trend is drone detection and elimination… Many who are here are developing detection, aiming, surveillance systems, in particular, the Lincos, the Alexander Companies and so on, many of them are doing this now, we are all working for a common cause,” a spokesman for the Shvabe Group (part of the Rostec state hi-tech corporation) Alexei Penskoi told TASS.

Global geopolitical pressure

The forum took place amid the special military operation in Ukraine and global geopolitical pressure on Russia from Western countries. According to the experts, Russia’s partner countries fully felt the pressure as well.

“We are well aware of the pressure experienced even by those states that are representing their delegations here and participating in military-technical cooperation with Russia,” Mikhailov said. “These are states that, through their dialogue with Russia at the level of studying new weapons, technologies, joint projects, or specific military-technical cooperation, take our side in an attempt to prove to the world that we are fighting for a multipolar world and not our own interests, which, in the opinion of the collective West, have a militaristic, predatory approach.”

Litovkin, in turn, noted that states that are unfriendly to Russia are harming their own potential by ignoring the Russian forum. “Though someone does not want so, our forum is traditionally very popular. Yes, the Army forum has always been and will be. And the fact that 15% of states perform an affront to us, God bless them, they are robbing themselves,” the expert stressed.

Mikhailov also recalled that the Russian defense industry had been under sanctions for more than eight years since Crimea’s reintegration into Russia in March 2014. “It [the Russian defense industry] is limited in arms sales, infringed on in joint projects with a number of states, the collective West puts pressure on a number of countries so that they abandon contracts signed with Russia,” Mikhailov said. “All these factors force us to attract new states in order to show the civilized world that Russia is not an outcast, Russia is not isolated. On the contrary, dozens of states arrived at the forum to present their expositions, consultations are underway on the purchase of Russian-made weapons.”

Large-scale contracts

At the Army 2022 forum, the Russian Defense Ministry signed 36 state contracts worth more than 525 billion rubles ($8.7 billion) with 24 defense enterprises. When the contracts are executed, the Russian Armed Forces will receive more than 3,700 items of advanced armament and over 100 pieces of repaired and upgraded military and special hardware. Russia’s Rosoboronexport state arms seller inked two contracts worth over $390 million at the forum.

According to Mikhailov, in the absence of complete information on ready-made contracts, we should focus on those areas that have attracted the greatest interest from the audience. “First of all, these are weapons that are now showing their effectiveness in Ukraine during the special operation. The talk is about our armored vehicles, air defense systems, combat aircraft, communication, electronic warfare, and weapon support systems. And, of course, missile technologies, which are effectively demonstrating their capabilities now in Ukraine,” he said.

The head of the Bureau of Military and Political Analysis emphasized that the special operation in Ukraine, following the Syria one, had additionally demonstrated the combat capabilities of Russian military hardware. “No exhibitions, forums, media presentations, computer graphics can reflect the realities of modern combat,” Mikhailov said. “Moreover, the talk is about combat with the use of air-launched weapons, modern air and missile defense systems, that is, modern combat where reconnaissance data from a satellite constellation is necessary to adjust artillery and MLRS fire. We are fighting with weapons that, in fact, were developed by the previous generation, but with the additional use of new military-technical means, in particular, satellite data systems and unmanned aerial vehicles, which have become very important in this conflict.”

The expert emphasized that all these latest military-technical means were in great demand now and, as a result, the UAV display area at the Army 2022 forum had been expanded. He also noted the growing number of contracts in this field.

At the same time, all the military experts interviewed by TASS said that at this year’s forum, there were no advanced products that could radically change the military-technical world. “Specifically at the Army 2022 forum, we cannot see products able to radically change the military-technical world. But we can see how the best achievements of our defense industry are being improved, brought to a better condition, and equipped with new software. They are getting new capabilities,” Mikhailov said.

According to Litovkin, the absence of breakthrough products among the exhibits of the Army 2022 forum is an absolutely normal situation. “It is impossible to show products able to dramatically change the military-technical world at every forum. There are some upgraded versions, achievements, new solutions and trends… However, the Army 2022 forum displayed a lot of interesting things, warheads, automatic remote control systems for military equipment, a lot of drones and weapons built with artificial intelligence technologies,” the expert concluded.

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