24 Dec 2008

Russia plans arms upgrade

6:09 am on 24 December 2008

Russia plans a massive increase in its weapons procurement for three years beginning in 2009.

A senior government official said on Monday 300 tanks, 14 warships and 48 airplanes are on the shopping list. Other items are six spy drones, 60 helicopters and more than 2,000 vehicles.

Defence Ministry Anatoly Serdyukov says he wants the Russian army ideally to be able to fight in three local or regional conflicts simultaneously.

Military-industrial commission deputy head Vladislav Putilin said after a cabinet meeting that the government planned to allocate 4 trillion roubles ($US141.5 billion) in 2009-11 to fund equipment purchases to modernise the army. He gave no comparative figure for previous years.

Mr Putilin also said Russia's armed forces would buy 70 strategic nuclear missiles in 2009-11 and 30 Iskander tactical missile systems would be supplied over the next three years.