Russia's military budget is somehow still growing

Neither sanctions nor the falling price of oil or a plunging ruble can stop the Russian war machine.

Russia is expected to increase research and development funding in 2015 by 20%, Tass reports citing the Russian Defence Ministry.

“We annually spend on R&D some 15-16% of the state defence order’s volume,” Deputy Defence Minister Yury Borisov said at a military inventors conference on March 12.

Borisov went on to estimate that Russia was likely to spend $US4.4 to $US4.7 billion on research and development. But the 15% is just the minimal share for R&D in the Russian defence budget, and can be increased for particularly important or game-changing projects.

“There is no upper limit. If the product is successful and finds its use not only in the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation, but also on the external armaments market, or if the invention or innovations find their application on the civil market, the effect could be a few times as high as expenditures,” Borisov told the conference.

Still, Russia’s R&D remains a fraction of the overall defence order budget, which stands at approximately $US29.5 billion (1.8 trillion rubles) in 2015. This budget is 20% higher than in 2014, when it stood at 1.7 trillion rubles.

The increase in Russia’s defence order budget reflects how the Kremlin has turned military modernization into a top national priority. Moscow is developing its own fifth-generation fighter, the T-50 PAKFA, as well as a set of variant models intended for export to India, Iran, and South Korea.

Moscow also plans to upgrade its existing navy and submarine fleet. Several older ballistic missile and attack submarines will be replaced by more recent models within the next decade. Russia also has plans to produce a new aircraft carrier as well as a host of new frigates, destroyers, and cruisers.

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