It is quite possible that the new submarine Belgorod will become the substitute for the Kursk sub by the year 2004. However, this totally depends on financing for the Russian defense industry. Minister for Science and Industry Ilya Klebanov stated at the threshold of the governmental session for issues of the reform of the defense industry that he was going to strive for an increase of the defense budget by a minimum of 600 million rubles.
Ilya Klebanov connected additional allotments with the necessity to accelerate the implementation of the program, which had been passed by the government last October. Pursuant to the new concept of the reform of the defense complex of Russia, it is supposed that there will be some 50 holdings and concerns set up on the base of the current enterprises. These new enterprises are expected to improve the production of new defense technology. Minister Klebanov is asking for those 600 million rubles in order not to make the year 2003 a failure.
Regarding three projects, one of them is connected with the technical re-equipment of the federal unitary enterprise Sevmashpredpriyatiye (Northern Machine-Building Enterprise, which is located in the city of Severodvinsk, the Arkhangelsk region).
The second statement, which couldn’t but attract the attention of defense industry workers, was about the field of defense ship-building. The statement was released by Director of the Federal Ship-Building Agency Vladimir Pospelov. Mr. Pospelov said that Sevmashpredpriyatiye could complete the construction of the 949A project submarine. The submarine is similar to the wrecked Kursk nuclear cruiser, and the level of the technical readiness of the new sub is rather high, about 80%. The sub needs only to be equipped with systems and mechanisms and undergo a state test. This can be done within the period of two years; some two billion rubles are needed to finish the sub.
Andrey Mikhailov PRAVDA.Ru Severodvinsk
Translated by Dmitry Sudakov