Defence & Arms
Russian Defense Industry Disintegration
By Strategy Page, September 20, 2023
Sep 20, 2023 - 2:56:27 PM

The War in Ukraine included numerous Russian missile attacks on Ukrainian military, industrial and civilian targets. While Ukraine was obtaining most of its weapons and munitions from NATO countries, Ukraine also had its own defense industries that were thriving before the Russian 2022 invasion. Before Russia turned on Ukraine in 2014, Russia was one of many foreign customers for Ukrainian military technology. By 2022, Ukraine and Russia were no longer supporting each other’s defense industries. While Ukraine had NATO nations as a wartime supplier, Russia was on its own and scrambling to cope with numerous economic sanctions imposed after they invaded Ukraine. Many Ukrainian defense industry personnel have detailed knowledge of Russian defense industries and what the key vulnerabilities are. This enables Ukrainian military intelligence to monitor Russian weapons production. Ukraine believes that Russia has nearly exhausted its pre-2022 stocks of Kalibr cruise missiles, Iskander tactical ballistic missiles and lacks the industrial capability to replace those stocks or even produce a significant number under wartime conditions. Ukrainian and NATO industrial intelligence efforts have identified Russian sources for key missile components that must be imported and which suppliers are willing to smuggle items into Russia. Smuggled components are a lot more expensive because the smugglers have expenses and must take into account losses when smuggled shipments are intercepted and seized. Russia also has to seek out and use alternative components to those it simply cannot obtain. This complicates production because the substitute components do not always function as effectively as the original parts.

Ukraine is using its detailed knowledge of Russian military production to also target key Russian production facilities for attacks. These are carried out by missiles or UAVs equipped as bombers and ,if that is not possible, Ukraine has the option to use operatives inside Russia to attack or sabotage the facility. So far these efforts have crippled but not halted Russian missile production. The quality of the new Russian missiles is less than before and the Russians accept this because most of the missiles will still work as intended. Russian-made missiles and munitions were always known to be less reliable and an increase in unreliability is considered acceptable to the Russians, though a relief to Ukrainians be targeted. Dud missiles are not harmless. They will land somewhere in Ukraine and some will even explode when they hit the ground. Ukrainians are used to Russian missiles and shells not exploding when they land nearby, realize the things might still go off, and usually call for EOD (Explosive Ordnance Disposal) teams to deal with them.

The shabby construction of recently manufactured Russian missiles reduces the number of effective attacks on Ukrainian targets. NATO and Ukraine are continuing and expanding these efforts to all manner of military items, some of them dual use. This includes truck tires. Russian made truck tires were notorious for their poor quality and unreliability. Before the war, vehicle owners would, if they could, buy foreign tires but that is not an option in wartime. NATO sanctions and Ukrainian sabotage efforts have made tires produced in Russia even more unreliable. This has a disruptive impact on the Russian economy and for Russian troops it’s another reason why supplies or reinforcements don’t arrive on time, if at all.

The Ukraine War has been bad for Russian defense industries and continued sanctions has put many firms out of business while others are barely surviving. A similar disaster took place after the Soviet Union dissolved in 1991 and military procurement funds nearly disappeared for most of the 1990s. Since the late 1990s surviving Russian defense firms have been trying to rebuild. The Ukraine War seemed, at first, to be a source of more business. There was more activity, but of the malevolent kind that brought more problems rather than more procurement money.

Source: Ocnus.net 2022