Putin praises new Russian tank
Updated: 2011-09-10 15:05
Russia's Prime Minister Vladimir Putin (C) listens to an introduction given by an official (R) next to a T-90AM tank as he visits an exhibition in the Urals town of Nizhny Tagil, September 9, 2011. [Photo/Agencies]
Defence Minister Anatoly Serdyukov said this year the new T-90S and other Russian tanks did not meet the needs of a modern army and another commander said Moscow could buy three German Leopard tanks for the price of one T-90S.
But, visiting an arms fair in the Urals city of Nizhny Tagil, Putin said Russian producer Uralvagonzavod had made changes to the design of the T-90S which addressed criticism of its range of fire.
"This was the main concern at the Defence Ministry," Putin told the tank's designer, Andrei Terlikov, after climbing inside it.
Putin pledged 64 billion roubles ($2.165 billion) from the federal budget over the next few years for Uralvagonzavod. The company is due to the privatised with a 25 percent stake to be sold through an initial public offering.
The new tank is equipped with guided missiles that can be fired from the main barrel up to a distance of 5,000 metres, more than that of its main competitors, the Leopard and the US Abrams tanks.
Domestic arms makers stand to gain from a $650-billion programme Putin has announced to modernise the army but Putin has said they must ensure they offer top-quality products.
In a sign that is prepared to look abroad for quality products, Russia has already signed $1.5-billion deal with France for two Mistral class helicopter carriers made by a French-led consortium. The Defence Ministry has also indicated that more orders could go to foreign arms makers.
The Russian army has about 10,000 tanks and mainly uses the T-80, which is also made by Uralvagonzavod. ($1 = 29.549 Russian Roubles)
Russia's Prime Minister Vladimir Putin gets into T-90AM tank as he visits an exhibition in the Urals town of Nizhny Tagil, September 9, 2011. [Photo/Agencies]