Can Moscow regain superpower status? This fighter jet is key

Discussion in 'Europe and Russia' started by average american, Dec 6, 2012.

  1. average american

    average american Senior Member Senior Member

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    MOSCOW – Russia is desperate for the world to think of it as a superpower again.

    Last week, Vladimir Putin — the country’s once and presumed future president — proposed the formation of a “Eurasian Union” among former Soviet states. The move was widely seen as a challenge to the West, and a push to reestablish Moscow’s former empire.

    Putin floated his idea in the context of an unprecedented Russian military renaissance. Moscow is so eager to re-establish its military mojo, in fact, that it has pledged $730 billion to equip its long-neglected armed forces with 21st century weaponry by 2020. According to the plan, Russia's military will receive 1,000 new helicopters, 600 combat aircraft and 100 warships – including aircraft carriers and 8 nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarines. The build-up also envisions new generations of intercontinental missiles and advanced air defense systems.

    That all might sound formidable. But more than anything else, Moscow’s ability to reclaim global dominance depends on one key piece of military machismo: the sleek, futuristic "fifth generation" fighter plane known as the Sukhoi PAK T-50.

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    With its sharply swept-back wings and dart-like profile, the T-50 is the first significant Russian aviation design not derived from the former Soviet Union's amply-stocked military cupboard.

    But the big question is, does Russia have the manufacturing wherewithal to make it happen?

    Moscow doesn't lack determination. Current president Dmitry Medvedev explained last February that Russia needs to catch up to NATO and the U.S., after two decades of being treated like a third-rate power. "The attempts to enlarge NATO’s military infrastructure are not ceasing," he said. "All this calls for qualitatively modernizing our armed forces and reshaping their image. . . we need comprehensive rearmament."

    Russian defense spending has increased tenfold since Putin came to power in 2000. Former Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin said last month that if planned expenditures go ahead, it will double again in the next two years, from 3 to 6 percent of gross domestic product.

    Money and motivation are important to any superpower wannabe. So is industrial capability. Security experts doubt that Russia's decayed military-industrial complex can deliver the goods.

    They say that without the vast web of small subcontractors that enabled the USSR to produce everything from bullets to intercontinental missiles, the few mainly export-oriented arms industries still working cannot handle the surge of orders that's expected to start pouring from the military's general staff headquarters in Moscow by the end of this year.

    "Money is now available, and it may be that a single project like the T-50 is possible, even in Russian circumstances," says Vitaly Shlykov, a former Soviet war planner and ex-deputy defense minister of Russia. "But Russia has de-industrialized. It's basically a third world country that lives by oil extraction today. This rearmament program is a political campaign, to make Putin proud. The T-50 is essentially a political gadget."

    Putin is apparently aware of the hurdles. On Oct. 7, he announced that Moscow would spend more than $13 billion over the next three years modernizing more than 1,700 weapons factories. “If we want to have weapons that answer the demands of today’s combat, ... we need to revamp the military industrial complex,” Putin said, according to the Associated Press.

    If the T-50 is for real, it's an impressive fighter. Military officials classify is as a "fifth generation" fighter. That’s a category of aircraft that only the United States has successfully fielded, in the form of the F-22 Raptor.

    Fifth generation fighters have advanced capabilities of stealth, super-maneuverability, sustained supersonic cruise and over-the-horizon radar visibility. They also have integrated weapons and navigation systems managed by artificial intelligence, and high-performance frames made from space-age materials.

    That’s what it takes to be a real superpower.

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    So far, the T-50 has struggled. When one of the two existing prototypes was rolled out for Putin and other officials at Moscow's MAKS airshow in August, 2011, it appeared able to perform only a slow flyby and a few sedate rolls. The next day, when the plane was supposed to be shown to the public, it suffered a flame-out on take off and had to be grounded for the duration of the show.

    Some experts are beginning to suspect that the T-50, which is being developed with India as junior partner, may not be all it's cracked up to be.

    "Just because they show it publicly doesn't mean we know what's under the hood," says Alexander Golts, a military expert with the online newspaper Yezhednevny Zhurnal.

    "We don't even know basic facts about it, such as, does it have new engines or old ones? When we ask questions, they say 'that's top secret,'" he says.

    Most of the weapons produced in post-Soviet Russia are at best modified Soviet designs. This is true of it's biggest export cash-earner, the multi-purpose Sukhoi Su-30, sold to India, China and Venezuela, which is a jumped-up version of the Soviet Union's Su-27 front line fighter. The MiG-35, a light fighter Russian arms merchants are offering around the world as a new product, is little changed from the old MiG-29, say experts.

    The only truly new designs to appear are the T-50 and the problem-plagued Bulava submarine launched ballistic missile, which is scheduled to go into serial production next year.

    In recent years Putin has tried to reclaim the USSR's mojo by merging some of the country's most famous aviation names -- Sukhoi, MiG, Tupolev, Ilyushin -- into a giant state-owned conglomerate known as the United Aircraft-Building Corporation.

    But experts say this move only masks the main problem. Fewer than half of Russia's former Soviet military industries are still operating. Virtually none of the old sub-contractors are churning out the multitude of small parts and components that are necessary for assembling a complicated weapons system.

    That means every part that goes into a Russian fighter plane these days has to be produced in-house, an exhaustive, time-consuming and exorbitantly expensive process, says Pavel Felgenhauer, a military expert with the opposition Novaya Gazeta newspaper in Moscow.

    "Worse than that, there's a huge technological gap between Russian and Western industry," he says.


    "[Russia] still has people who can design new products, but the ability of our industry to produce them is deeply questionable. What can you do if you can't get reliable components, have no modern machinery capable of making precision parts and you lack highly-skilled workers? You can't produce much of value," Felgenhauer says.

    Even President Medvedev suggested last summer that the answer might be to buy weapons abroad. Russia already does import a few things, including German sniper rifles and Israeli drones. Last year it signed a controversial contract with France to buy four Mistral-type helicopter assault ships at a price of about $750-million each.

    But experts say there is fierce opposition at the top of Russia's military establishment against turning to foreign sources of arms. With the more conservative and nationalistic Putin returning to the presidency next year that option may become politically impossible.

    Legendary Russian test pilot, Magomed Tolboyev, says he is one of the T-50's biggest fans, but he doubts the official production startup date of 2013 is realistic.

    "We've had 20 years of complete stagnation in our aviation industry; whole plants stopped working, qualified specialists left," he says. "It's an empty space that will take 10 or 15 years to fill. You can't just bring people into a vacant field and tell them to start producing highly delicate and sophisticated machines."

    Russia’s military attempts building a 21st century fighter. But can it?
     
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  3. Yusuf

    Yusuf GUARDIAN Administrator

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    Well super power NO. Military power YES provided it is able to do all that. This is an old article. Putin is the prez now. Russia has multiple problems. Just building military might is not going to change all that. It will get into deeper mess with all this.
     
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  4. sesha_maruthi27

    sesha_maruthi27 Senior Member Senior Member

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    Russia has lost everything and it has to rebuild itself now.....

    I want the members to bring in some facts about the resources of income for the Russian Government and education system in Russia and also why are they not able to produce scientists who can develop new technology?
     
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  5. roma

    roma NRI in Europe Senior Member

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    i think you have hit the nail on the head sesha - regarding the symptoms

    - as for the cause(s), methinks there is something going on on the inside which isnt too apparent at the moment - russia is failing to deliver on one project after another - you might have hit it accurately on education

    - or is it a desire for the usa-american way of life and getting tired with the russian depived conditions in life ? ...

    people , scientists (as you suggest) are tiring and i would offer the idea that few people in russia are interested in taking putin up on his offer to return them to the Great days of the soviets !!

    - they want the american way of life - NOW - and if they cant get it in russia , then emigration seems to be the answer they are choosing !
     
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2012
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  6. JBH22

    JBH22 Senior Member Senior Member

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    Pavel felgenhauer the credibility of this article is marred by this name, if you have to scare people of Russia he does it and if you have to denigrate Russia he also does it,

    USA producing the F-22 has not done wonders with production lines scattered in several states it became a headache.
    Now on the MIG-35 its a drastic iteration of the MIG-29 the electronics,fuselage everything changed its like comparing the 1970s F-16 and what the US offered in MRCA electronics make hell of lot difference.

    All this hype the fact remains that Russia remains second world largest arms exporter.
     
  7. asianobserve

    asianobserve Elite Member Elite Member

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    Demographics is the key...

    Russia Nears a Milestone
    By LUKAS I. ALPERT
    WSJ December 5, 2012


    MOSCOW—Russia is on target to register its first natural population growth since the fall of the Soviet Union, with a slightly higher number of births than deaths being recorded so far this year, the labor minister said Wednesday.

    Through the end of October, Russia had recorded 790 more births than deaths—a minute advance, but one that could mark a potential turning point in a troubling demographic trend that has seen the country's population on the decline since the early 1990s.

    "Cumulative natural growth was recorded from the start of the year for the first time in many years," Labor Minister Maxim Topilin said.So far, Russia's birth rate in 2012 has risen 7% rise on the year with an increase seen in 80 of the country's 83 regions. Meanwhile, Russia's death rate has fallen 1.5% in the same period, the ministry said. In all of 2011, Russia saw 132,000 more deaths than births, the state statistic service said.

    The figures stand in contrast to predictions made by many demographic experts in recent years—including the United Nations Population Division—that Russia faces a serious demographic crisis, with the potential of seeing its population fall by as much as 30% by 2050. But those who have kept a close eye on the situation warn that despite the signs of a turnaround, Russia faces a long road ahead.

    "Demographic trends are like oil tankers—you cannot turn them around immediately," said James Nixey, a Russian policy expert at Chatham House in London. "What seems to me to be important is the working-age population—and actually that is something we do know 18 years ahead of time and it is rather depressing news for Russia."

    Russia's demographic decline was so steep in the 1990s that the country was losing more than one million people a year. The problem was driven by plummeting life expectancy rates—Russian men currently live on average only to age 63—and high rates of emigration as economic conditions plummeted following the Soviet Union's collapse.

    The drop off the demographic cliff spelled huge problems for Russia's creaky pension system, with some analysts speculating that the ratio of the country's working population to pensioners would reach 1-to-1 within two decades.

    Russia's official population was 148.3 million in 1991, but by 2009, it had hit a low of 142.7 million. Since then the figure has stabilized somewhat, although experts say this is largely attributable to a high level of immigration of laborers from poorer ex-Soviet states, particularly those in Central Asia.

    The problem grew so acute, that President Vladimir Putin has pushed for numerous government programs to help encourage Russians to have more children, proposing stipends for mothers who have more than two children, improved housing and educational prospects, and a more focused assault on high rates of male alcoholism.

    Mr. Putin also suggested a new immigration policy to encourage Russians living abroad to return and talented foreign workers to move to the country to work. On Wednesday, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev signed a decree increasing quotas for migrant workers in certain retail areas.

    Russia is not alone in facing a population crisis. Many European countries, including Germany, Italy, Spain and Denmark have all experienced declining fertility rates in recent years, leading to similar concerns about long-term economic impact.

    Ivan Tchakarov, chief economist for Renaissance Capital in Moscow, said that government policies appear to have had some impact and that "doomsday prophesies" about Russia's demographic future haven't been supported by official statistics that show the gap between the country's birth and death rates steadily closing over the past decade.

    "It has been driven by a combination of net migration and conscientious government policies to encourage births," Mr. Tchakarov said. "These doomsday prophesies about Russia's population decline may turn out to be ill-advised."


    Russia Nears a Milestone - WSJ.com
     
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2012
  8. Armand2REP

    Armand2REP CHINI EXPERT Veteran Member

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    The big problem is Russian R&D funding has decreased. Without more money and a total revamp of the MIC, they won't be able to meet their rearmament goals. This is the 3rd attempt in 10 years and the same failure as before.
     
  9. average american

    average american Senior Member Senior Member

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    according to Anatoly Chubais, a former finance minister, told the forum that Russia now lags 30 to 40 years behind developed countries in technology. “We have to admit we have fallen very far behind,” Mr. Chubais said, according to The Associated Press. “Not to understand this would be a very grave historic and political mistake

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/04/bu...uble.html?_r=0
     
  10. average american

    average american Senior Member Senior Member

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    Russia in Need of Foreign Technology
    Technologically, Russia is some 20 years behind developed countries in many sectors of its economy. It applies even to aircraft and machine-tool building that have been a matter of national pride to Russians. Experts from largest enterprises doubt it is possible to narrow such a considerable gap soon relying entirely on Russia's own efforts. Import of foreign technology can be of help here. Yet, foreign companies are in no hurry to sell their innovations either.
    Who to Catch Up with?

    Russia’s ratio in world turnover of high technology products makes up 0.3% so far. It means Russia develops 20 times less innovative technologies than China whose ratio is 6%. It should seem strange—considering that 12% of world’s scientists live in Russia, according to Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. One of the reasons why Russia lags behind in its technological development is that the ideas of Russian engineers are seldom transformed into technologies. Moreover, many Russian scientists still have the Soviet type of thinking, when the main national goal was to develop the defense industry.

    Now, when business needs up-to-date equipment to produce competitive goods, it has turned out this is exactly what Russian science cannot invent. Perhaps it can, but the process will consume too much money and time. So it is easier and more profitable for Russian entrepreneurs to buy necessary technologies abroad. In fact, this is what they do.

    Russian companies buy more innovations than there are offered by Russian scientists. In 2004, technology export earnings, or payments on license contracts and various copyright assignment agreements, made up nearly $350 million. However, Russian companies spend twice as much on foreign innovations as they earn by technology export, according to the Federal State Statistic Service of Russia.

    Yet, even here Russia is way behind China. According to China’s Ministry of Commerce, total cost of technology import contracts signed in China in 2005 exceeded $19 billion. Contracts with the EU only make up over $9 billion of the total cost. Chinese businessmen apply foreign technologies especially to railway sector. The total cost of these contracts is almost $3 billion.

    The U.S., Japan, and South Korea have always adopted foreign innovations as well, and not only by purchasing these innovations, but also by means of brain drain—of Russian scientists too. Other methods were also used. For instance, South Korea cancelled the obligation to report on the import of any technologies except for nuclear ones as early as in the 1990s. Such national policy gave results very soon. South Korea, which used to rake up innovations of other countries, managed not only to catch up with the West, but also to become one of the world leaders in the export of high-technology products.

    Where Russia Falls Behind?

    Experts believe that foreign innovations would be of use to Russia practically in all sectors of its economy, including nanotechnology and biotechnology, even though Russian scientists have achieved some success in these two fields. However, most scientific knowledge have not been applied to Russia’s industry yet. “In this case we simply generate knowledge, forming something like a databank of which we can’t make good use,” said Sergey Chuklinov, deputy director general of Saturn scientific development and production center. “Despite the fact that there is some progress in these fields, Russia’s technological lag is so obvious that it needn’t be proved.


    Russia in Need of Foreign Technology - Kommersant Moscow
     
  11. GromHellscream

    GromHellscream Regular Member

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    We can wait and have a look at the performance after BEAR entering WTO.

    I personally don't have much confidence with that, because there is little room left on the international product chain.

    Living on military industry alone can't help a country of such a size.
     
  12. LETHALFORCE

    LETHALFORCE Moderator Moderator

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    Many Scientists have left the country for better pay/benefits abroad.
     
  13. sesha_maruthi27

    sesha_maruthi27 Senior Member Senior Member

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    Mainly to their long time enemy, USA..........
     
  14. roma

    roma NRI in Europe Senior Member

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    russia is NOT facing huge gigantic problems , only because it is not facing them - but the challenges and problems are there alright !

    most russians are reluctant to face the fact that they are a fast decaying as a nation even population -wise and they soon wont even be much of a nation at this rate - within 15 years max

    they had better join up and sign up to the usa ...better do that fast - provide no pride whatever - for the sake of survival - OR GET EATEN ALIVE BY DRAGON

    they are finished - their superb ability in technology is not solving the problem - only retarding the decay but there is no real solution in sight other than team-up with usa
     
  15. GromHellscream

    GromHellscream Regular Member

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    For the next 20 or 30 years in mind, there will be no fatal security dangers to Russia before their nuclear weapons lose funciton against BMD.

    Before that, there is no necessary for them bowing down to US or anyone else.

    Though the various feedback informations from Russia seem to be pessimistic, it's still difficult to forecast its future.

    Because the rises of Russia in history were always sudden ones, they are a nation good at burst power but lacking of endurance.
     
  16. average american

    average american Senior Member Senior Member

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    In the real world Russia has a 2,738 mi border with China,, China population is increasing and Russias population is decreasing.

    The Chinese position is that the 19th-century border treaties, concluded by the Qing dynasty China and the Tsarist Russia, were "unequal", and amounted to unfair annexation of the Chinese territory. Thats not much question as that the Chinese population grows and the chinese population is growing even on the Russian side of the border and the need for natural resources grows that along with the claims for the south china sea the Chinese are going to push for return of their lands in Russia. Its just a matter of time.
     
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  17. roma

    roma NRI in Europe Senior Member

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    as tyou say 20 or 30 yrs they might be ok - frankly i'd give it less time

    not a question of bowing , but joining .....they should really considre joing us-nato ( sounds tough at this point ) but they dont have much of a choice seeing the way thiigs are going ....and whayt's so wrong about joining the usa anyway , many russians are migrating there , if they can !!:p
     
  18. no smoking

    no smoking Senior Member Senior Member

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    It is "unequal" to any Chinese you ask. BUT, China already signed another treaty in last 90s to settle the border with Russians, which means Chinese has accpeted these "unequal" borders. By the way, those thousands of nuclear warheads are the best gurantee for Russians land.

    Basically, China has no power and no willing to pursh for the return of the lands in Russia. Chinese have a better way to access those resources-Buying it, even cheaper. It is a matter of time to see how india to solve its resources problems since your population is growing faster.
     
  19. jalsa

    jalsa Regular Member

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    Why do you think anyone who opposes to your view as Indian? he is Average American, not Indian.
     
  20. average american

    average american Senior Member Senior Member

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    Russian Unveils Stealth Fighter Intended to Match U.S. F-22 Raptor

    Read more: Russian Unveils Stealth Fighter Intended to Match U.S. F-22 Raptor | Fox News

    Russia's first stealth fighter intended to match the latest U.S. design made a successful maiden flight Friday, giving a boost to the country's efforts to modernize its rusting Soviet-built arsenals and retain lucrative export market.


    The Sukhoi T-50's flight comes nearly two decades after the first prototype of the U.S. F-22 Raptor took to the air, and Russian officials said it will take another five years for the new jet to enter air force service. Still, the flight marked a major step in Russia's efforts to burnish the faded glory of its once-proud aviation industries and strengthen a beleaguered military.


    SLIDESHOW: Russia's Sukhoi T-50 Challenges U.S. Jet















    The sleek twin-engined jet closely resembling the Raptor flew for 47-minutes from an airfield at Sukhoi's production plant in the Far Eastern city of Komsomolsk-on-Amur on Friday. Development of the so-called fifth-generation fighter has been veiled in secrecy and no images of it had been released before the maiden flight.


    Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin hailed the T-50's flight as a "big step forward," but admitted that "a lot remains to be done in terms of engines and armament."


    The NPO Saturn company said in a statement that the jet has new engines, but military analysts suggested that they were a slightly modernized version of the Soviet-era engine powering the Su-27 family of fighters.


    "It's a humbug," said independent military analyst Pavel Felgenhauer. "It's just a prototype lacking new engines and a new radar. It takes new materials to build a fifth-generation fighter, and Russia lacks them."


    Putin said Friday the first batch of new fighters is set to enter an air force evaluation unit in 2013 and serial production is set to begin in 2015. But analysts were skeptical, pointing at a history of delays in the new fighter program and other Russian weapons projects.


    "The schedule will likely be pushed back as usual," said Alexander Konovalov, the head of the Moscow-based Institute of Strategic Assessment, an independent think tank.


    Russia's prospective Bulava intercontinental ballistic missile has failed in at least eight of its 12 test launches, dealing a blow to Kremlin's hopes to make the submarine-based weapon a cornerstone of the nation's nuclear arsenal. Officials have blamed the failures on manufacturing flaws resulting from post-Soviet industrial degradation.


    Felgenhauer and other observers said the fighter program, which depends on hundreds of subcontractors, has been dogged by similar quality problems.


    Russian officials have said the new fighter, like the Raptor, will have a supersonic cruising speed and stealth capabilities. Its pilot, Sergei Bogdan, said in televised remarks that the T-50 was easy and pleasant to fly.


    While the new fighter will significantly bolster Russia's air force capability and allow the country to compete more efficiently in the global arms market, some analysts said the country has more pressing needs.


    "There is no mission and no adversary for such plane," Konovalov said, adding that the Russian military lacks a modern communications system and satellite navigation. "It would be more expedient to fit modern avionics to older generation jets."


    The U.S. administration decided to quit buying the F-22 Raptor plane, the world's most expensive fighter jet at more than $140 million apiece, effectively capping its production at the 186 already ordered.


    Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,584241,00.html#ixzz2Gp5wGK66
     
  21. Daredevil

    Daredevil On Vacation! Administrator

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    It can match F-22 in all its manoeuvres and stealth as well.

     
    Last edited: May 10, 2015

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