Final exercises and command staff war games are going on in the Russian Armed Forces. Last week, the biggest exercises of the Air Defense Forces and Ground Forces took place at the Ashuluk and Kapustin Yar training ranges. Such big activeness of the troops should only make us happy. However, the growing concern of generals about problems of the training material base remains behind the visible large-scale and mass nature of the exercises. Thus, Lieutenant General Vladimir Shamanov, director of the main department for combat training and service of troops, is alarmed by the absence of due quantity of simulators in the troops. Recently, Shamanov has said that the Armed forces badly need the modern training simulator base because without it radical improvement of the combat training quality was impossible. However, the armament program of the Armed Forces for the period by 2015 does not make provisions for their purchase.
The general explained, “Our main department together with branches of the Armed Forces, other central departments of the Defense Ministry and industry makes the relevant corrections to the state armament program.”
Shamanov said, “Due to transition of the army to the new principle of manning, as well as a reduction of the conscript service term to 12 months, we face a pressing problem of personnel training with the assistance of modern simulators. Unfortunately, the existing training material base is outmoded and obsolete in many parameters. In the last few years, production of training range hardware and simulators was confined predominantly to two kinds of mobile simulators: company tactical simulator and portable shooting range equipment.” According to Shamanov, in accordance with the plan for development of the system of combat training of the Armed Forces for the period by 2010 the troops fulfilled a sufficient volume of tasks for the deployment of training means.
Shamanov emphasizes that problems of the acquisition of modern simulators are being solved efficiently now in the Airborne Forces (in the 76th airborne assault division), in the Volga-Urals Military District (in the 34th mechanized infantry division) and in the North Caucasian Military District (in the 20th mechanized infantry division).
Shamanov pointed out, “Positive experience was accumulated in the second mechanized infantry division (Moscow Military District) where work on implementation of simulator systems, the development of methods for training of personnel to use new military hardware including the most modern tanks T-90, BMP-3 etc was done in cooperation with specialists of training centers, research organizations and industry.”
Meanwhile, Shamanov did not say anything about simulators for the Air Force, Air Defense Forces and other high-tech kinds of troops. Meanwhile, they are demanded on the international armament market. What is most interesting, Rosoboronexport is selling them actively. Recently, the mass media has reported that in the last few years Rosoboronexport has been dynamically increasing the export of armament simulators.
Yevgeny Komrakov, General Director of R.E.T. Kronshtadt company, said, “Whereas formerly the export of simulators through Rosoboronexport amounted to approximately $10 million, in 2006 this figure grew by 1,900% and amounted to $230 million. According to Rosoboronexport, in 2007 export of simulators was slightly bigger than $200 million. In 2008 the company plans to achieve an amount bigger than $300 million.” R.E.T. Kronshtadt produces simulators for teaching pilots to control airplanes and helicopters.
Komrakov says that it is commonly accepted worldwide that simulators and training systems account for 10-15% of the value of supplied hardware. He adds, “Rosoboronexport is striving for this figure. It is already comparable to the existing needs of customers for simulators in many aspects.” According to him, potential export market for Russian manufacturers may amount up to $1 billion. Komrakov adds that now Rosoboronexport does not send proposals of armament and military hardware supply without simulators to customers and this new tactic has brought its fruits.
He emphasizes, “Manufacturers received many orders from foreign customers who often did not even know that we had such simulators.”
Thus, Russia has a base for the production of modern simulators for the troops. It is only necessary to find money to produce simulators not only for export but also for domestic Russian needs.