On 16 June, the Belarusian State Military Industrial Committee held an extended session, dedicated to the development and mass production of military and special equipment, the role of arms exporters in the manufacture of new systems, management’s responsibility for duly execution of the state defence order (SDO), as well as pricing issues. Led by Sergei Gurulyov, the meeting involved senior Goscomvoyenprom officials and top managers and general (chief) designers of the defence companies, supervised by the committee.
The session also involved Chief of the General Staff, First Deputy Defence Minister of Belarus Maj. Gen. Oleg Belokonev and other MoD officials.
In his opening speech Chairman of Goscomvoyenprom Sergei Gurulyov outlined the aims of the meeting: to raise the management’s responsibility for the development of new weapons for the Belarusian Armed Forces, to consider ways of improving the products’ quality and harmonise the views of the contractors and the customers on the pricing mechanism, as well as to enhance cooperation between general (chief) designers in order to fully use the potential of national defence industry and supply Belarus’ uniformed services with cutting-edge systems.
Speaking of the defence industry’s development strategy, Gurulyov pointed out that Goscomvoyenprom had passed several stages in its development, proving that the decision to establish a national governmental agency had been a right one.
“Since the customer’s requirements are a priority for defence contractors and taking into account MoD’s Armed Forces 2020 guidelines, Goscomvoyenprom believes it reasonable to elaborate a Defence Industry 2020 development programme, as well as a relevant production plan for every manufacturer that would be harmonised with the running programmes,” proposed Sergei Gurulyov.
The head of Goscomvoyenprom reminded the participants once again that defence industry’s key tasks are to fulfill the needs of the Belarusian Armed Forces and other uniformed services in military equipment, its repair and improvement, as well as to raise defence exports. This is connected with the issues of national security, as well as logistics and service maintenance.
First of all the parties must agree on the sources and terms of financing that would allow continuous production and delivery of the products to the Armed Forces.
The recipe for success, according to Gurulyov, consists in making new competitive products while improving their price, reliability and quality. And Goscomvoyenprom has all the necessary prerequisites for that.
“The Council of Arms Designers is to become an efficient body that would take part in elaborating defence industry’s development guidelines and cooperate with the Armed Forces to determine their needs in cutting-edge military and special systems,” said the head of Goscomvoyenprom.
He also mentioned a problem in the relations between the governmental bodies, which is the pricing mechanism.
“The analysis of pricing for the products supplied within SDO has shown that the manufacturers have a certain capability to reduce the price, among other things by cutting general production costs. In addition, other ways of reducing the price can be found. To do that, the legal base regulating pricing of defence products needs to be improved,” summed up Sergei Gurulyov.
He believes the responsibility for SDO’s execution should lie both on the arms makers and the customers. A system of mutual responsibility is required, under which Belarusian defence companies would carry out R&D projects using various financial sources and the customers (uniformed services) would get guaranteed state funding to buy indigenous mass-produced weapons.
As was mentioned by Gurulyov, the accumulated problems can be handled. To do that, the parties just need to break the circle and proceed to a constructive dialogue.
Acting Deputy Minister of Defence for Armament, Chief of Armament Col. Sergei Simonenko spoke about the military’s needs in modern equipment, taking into account the Armed Forces 2020 guidelines and even further.
Deputy Chairman of Goscomvoyenprom Igor Bykov dwelled on the improvement of the legal framework regulating the execution of SDO and separate programmes.
According to him, Goscomvoyenprom and MoD have submitted certain amendments to the legal documents related to the State Armament Programme and SDO. “Thus, for instance, the State Armament Programme will be submitted for five years, and Goscomvoyenprom becomes the state customer of the R&D projects dedicated to the development of advanced weapons for the Armed Forces,” said Bykov.
Igor Bykov suggested that when elaborating the 2016–2020 State Armament Programme the Council of Arms Designers should draft and coordinate with MoD the list of R&Ds, which state customer could be Goscomvoyenprom.
In his turn, Oleg Belokonev claimed MoD’s readiness to proceed within SDO to comprehensive procurements of indigenous defence products.
The chief of the General Staff also mentioned that such meetings were quite useful and should be held regularly to ensure efficient joint work. “As for the positions where we have misunderstandings, a compromise must be reached.”
Following the meeting, Goscomvoyenprom and the Ministry of Defence are going to take a common decision, which will stipulate how to solve the problems.