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The Russian MoD will receive over 3,500 units of new weaponry this year, national information agencies report. As planned, two-thirds of the 2021 defence budget is to be spent on purchasing new, and upgrading existing, weapons.
The Novosibirsk Aviation Plant is to start supplying Su-34M fighter-bombers being upgraded within the SYCH (LITTLE OWL) Research and Development programme. Under the contract from last year, 24 vehicles, with increased combat capabilities, are to be built, with the improvements based on the results of combat use in Syria. A new self-defence complex has been installed alongside the rest of the onboard electronics. These include the  armament control complex, sights, radar and communication equipment. As a result of the modernisation, the accuracy of the bombing has been increased significantly with new smart weapons having been added to the aircraft’s armament range.

Other Ambitious Russian Programmes

An ambitious project to modernise the Tu-160 strategic missile carrier is also underway. This year, the Russian Aerospace Forces (VKS) will receive at least one updated machine, with its quality having been significantly improved due to the updated avionics, new defence complex and the integration of the new Kh-102 missile (which has a range of 5500km).
Also based on the results of operations in Syria, the Mi-28NM NIGHT HUNTER attack helicopter has also increased its combat efficiency. In 2021, 18 examples, out of 100 ordered, will be handed to the VKS by manufacturer Rostvertol. Changes include a new missile with a range exceeding 15 km, something accompanied by a modernised radar. The self-defence complex capabilities have also been improved with the night observation equipment also having been adjusted. Finally, the navigator has received a machine control device like the pilot’s one.
The Airborne Troops are to acquire ten of the latest Mi-8AMTSh-VN transport-combat helicopters from the UUAZ-Ulan-Ude Aviation Plant. The newest member of the Mi-8/17 family has strengthened armour and all-weather day-night capability with effective air-to-surface ammunition. The helicopter has become equally capable of transferring troops and providing effective fire support, including destroying enemy tanks.
Yury Laskin