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Putin’s enemies are building his weapons

International cooperation in the defence industry is a fact, despite the often confrontational rhetoric of politicians. No matter how much the Russian president criticises the US, the Russian defence industry would not resign on US-produced equipment. Similarly, European businesses are far from giving up on the profits made on supporting Russian defence industry.

March 9, 2018 - Yury Lobunov - Analysis

Image by President of Russia

Vladimir Putin’s recent address was largely dedicated to weapons and the achievements of the Russian defence industry. However, it is an open secret that all these formidable weapon systems are built with the help of those they are meant to frighten. No missile, ship or aircraft can be built without the help of American and European corporations.

The mighty “Sarmat” missile

The main manufacturer  of “Sarmat” – an intercontinental ballistic missile – test prototypes, is the Krasnoyarsk Machine Building Plant.

The company does not hide its use of American and European products. According to publicly accessible information, in the construction of the weapon, the manufacturer used the American software Mastercam , as well as Czech, Polish and German equipment. Altogether 130 countries have contributed to building Putin’s weapons, with the missile builder choosing to buy  from SKF, a global manufacturer.

Globalisation has long become reality. This is true about every complex production and company. International cooperation is crucial for building smartphones and TVsets, let alone, missiles. The aforementioned manufacturer, SKF, was set up in Sweden, later bringing their plants to the United Kingdom, the US, and a number of countries in Europe and Asia. Calling SKF a Swedish company today would be as wrong as calling “Sarmat” a Russian missile, as both, in fact, have been supported by joined forces of several countries.

Business as usual

The Russian defense industry is run by corporations. Tactical Missile Armament which has developed the hypervelocity air missile known as «Кинжал» (“Dagger”) is a corporation combining dozens of enterprises.

Each of those enterprises buys tools, equipment and components built in the US and EU. However, it is impossible to determine the exact range of European and American companies whose products are used for building weapons potentially directed against the US and EU – they are too many to number. It would suffice to look at the procurement list of any company that is part of Tactical Missile Armament.

For example, Proton – Perm motors, purchases grinding tools. The procurement documents reveal the purchase of Scotch-Brite Bristle BB-ZB, an American  product, as well as US-produced cooling liquid, TRIM E -805.

Another company which is part of Tactical Missile Armament – the I.I. Toporov State Machine-Building Construction Bureau “Vympel” – openly states that they use American products. The procurement list of the company does not indicate the country of origin of their business partners, but it is easy to find out that Tektronix , whose products they use, is an American brand.

The Bereznyak State Machine Building Construction Bureau “Raduga”, which is part of the same corporation, purchases  tools produced in Germany and the US.

Rhetoric and reality

There is enough evidence to suggest that Putin’s enemies are building his weapons. In Russia’s militarised economy, every functioning plant is involved in military and defence industry. Each of those plants purchases foreign tools, radio-electronic components, paintwork materials, and equipment.

The products of the Swedish companies Sandvik Coromant, Seco, Atlas Copco, and ESAB are widely used in the production of Russian weapons. A quick search for any of those companies on the Russian government procurement site will return a large list of defence enterprises that would not function without the Swedish support.

Products created by COILCRAFT, Texas Instruments, Analog Devices, Mini-Circuit, M / A Com and many software companies are also frequently mentioned in the procurement documentation of Russian defence enterprises.

International cooperation in the defence industry is a fact, despite the often confrontational rhetoric of politicians. No matter how much the Russian president criticises the US, the Russian defence industry would never resign on the use of US-produced equipment. Similarly, no matter how tough European politicians’ rhetoric is and how much has been said about the imminent Russian threat, European businesses are far from giving up on the profits made on supporting Russian defence industry.

Yury Lobunov is a journalist and analyst at Gulf State Analytics.

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