Geopolitika - Import of Russian Weapons Mistral type amphibious assault ships from France. Israeli unmanned aerial vehicles Trucks and helicopters from Italy Thermal Vision Equipment from France France is the main supplier of military equipment to Russia. Besides the above mentioned Mistral type assault ships, thermal sights are purchased from the French company Tales for Russian anti-aircraft gun complexes Pancyr-S1, tanks T-80, T-90 and battle machine of infantry BMP-3; radio electronic equipment for fighters Su-30MKI, Su-30MKM and MiG-29SMT, equipment for â€œa future soldierâ€ FELIN. A contract is being drafted with the company Sagem Securite on the procurement of the equipment for helicopters Mi-26 and Ka-226; quite a lot of the French equipment has been installed in the aircraft Admiral Gorshkov to be delivered to India etc. Russia is drafting contracts with French companies on the purchase of the arms production technology. It is also going to buy a license for the closed cycle diesel engines for submarines, to purchase hydro-acoustic arms, torpedo production and other technology. In order to get access to the modern military technology, joint Russian-French ventures are established. There are two main reasons of the resent related to the purchase of weapons. The first: ever since the Soviet era a large part of Russian society was accustomed to the idea that Soviet weaponry is the best in the world and that the USSR was and Russia is Russia still has the capacity to produce modern weapons, and export it to 70 countries around the world. Therefore the talks about the poor quality of Russian weapons and technical characteristics not complying with global standards for many of the Russians are very unpleasant news. The second: companies of the Russian military-industrial complex (MIC) lack orders for its production. According to a Russian military observer Aleksandr Golts, MIC is unable of producing relevant amount of modern weapons and wants to further produce the arms of the soviet era. The Defense Ministry stopped ordering these weapons, and today the producers face financial problems (they have to reduce wages/dismiss employees). When on 15 March the Ground Troops CINC General-Colonel Aleksandr Postnikov complained about bad quality and high price of Russian tanks and suggested the German tanks Leopard, MIC representatives announced about the planned protest actions of MIC employees who were against the purchase of weapons from foreign countries. During the meeting of president Medvedev and trade union leaders on 15 December, Andrey Chekmenev, the chairman of all-Russian Trade Unions of Defense Industry Workers expressed the concern about the â€œplans to by foreign weapons for the Russian armyâ€. Why Russia needs foreign weapons? The answer is clear: the Russian military is not satisfied anymore with the quality of weapons and military equipment produced by MIC. Besides, Russia stopped to produce some types of military equipment and its components. We must not forget that some of the planned purchase of the military equipment from France, Italy or Germany have political implications. This is not the first Postnikovâ€™s statement about a bad quality of the Russian military equipment. He started addressing this problem in 1995 and later the number of similar statements has increased. For instance, on 10 August 2001 the annex of â€žNezavisimaya gazetaâ€œ included the extracts on military equipment quality problems in the period of 1993â€“2001. Its author Mikhail Rastopshin wrote that â€œthere is still a significant gap between Russia and the advanced countries in applying information technologies, microelectronics, optical electronic technology and computer hardware in the weapons productionâ€. The author asks: â€œWhy the Armed Forces have only 30 percent of the modern weaponry? What will be their combat capacity given Russiaâ€™s poor quality of the arms produced by MIC? According to the above article, the main reasons of bad weaponsâ€™ quality include: insufficient funding of MIC, low volumes of military order, physical and moral depreciation of equipment, qualified ageing workers, etc.