MOSCOW, January 22 (RIA Novosti) – The Russian Air Force is preparing to conduct a series of tests of new cruise missiles, as well as carrying out strategic bomber patrols including stops in other countries, the commander of its long-range fleet said Wednesday.
“In 2014 we are planning practice launches of cruise missiles, including new models,” Gen. Lt. Anatoly Zhikharev told reporters, without specifying the missiles to be fired. Russian planes launched 15 cruise missiles last year.
Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said last summer that Russia was planning a 30-fold increase of its cruise missile arsenal by 2020. Continue reading
Earlier this year, in an address delivered on the day devoted to the “defenders of the Fatherland,” the Russian president proclaimed: “Ensuring Russia has a reliable military force is the priority of our state policy. Unfortunately, the present world is far from being peaceful and safe. Long obsolete conflicts are being joined by new, but no less difficult, ones. Instability is growing in vast regions of the world.”
This is not empty talk. The rhetoric has been matched by a concurrent allocation of resources; Russia is now engaged in its largest military buildup since the collapse of the Soviet Union more than two decades ago, with major increases in defense spending budgeted each year to 2020. Putin has pushed for this program even over the objections of some within the Kremlin who worried about costs and the possible negative impact on Russian prosperity; opposition to the expansion of military spending was one of the reasons the long-serving Finance Minister Aleksei Kudrin left the cabinet two years ago.
The rest of the world is taking notice. Continue reading