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Storage bases remain the primary source filling the Russian army’s needs — report

The report suggests Russia’s military-industrial complex showed only modest real growth in 2023, with much of so-called “production” being, in fact, the cannibalizing of systems in storage with certain limits.
A batch of T-80BVMs being transferred from Uralvagonzavod, September 2022 / Open source photo
Storage bases remain the primary source filling the Russian army’s needs — report

In his report for the Jamestown Foundation, researcher Pavel Luzin estimates that Russia has limited production of critical parts and resources for weapons and systems, such as explosives and semiconductors. This reflects that the real production of the Russian defense industry has largely remained the same as in 2022.

The physical output of essential goods for arms manufacturing has revealed minimal growth over the past seven years. While some sectors expanded, overall, Russia lacks evidence of significantly increased production,” he writes.

The manufacturing output index in three of four traditional industry groups related to arms production demonstrated impressive growth in 2023. However, it is highly dependent on changes in prices and costs, Luzin concludes. At the same time, the available data on physical output of some goods that are used in arms production demonstrated only a small growth:

Image by Pavel Luzin, data from Rosstat

The data on the physical amount of other goods, such as aluminum powders, aluminum sections, titanium sections, and bars, provided for 11 months and only in percent ratioed with the same period of the previous year, also demonstrates mostly moderate growth:

Image by Pavel Luzin, data from Rosstat

Russia demonstrated the largest success in missile production, according to available detailed data. At the same time, significant part of the data remains classified and the presented reports rather highlights inconsistensy between official data.

In brief, there is no evidence that Russia produces a larger amount of all the mentioned products in such quantities as would be needed to further increase production rates of a wide range of military products, from explosives and artillery shells to aircraft and missiles. The production of electric power also confirms that there were no crucial changes in energy-intensive arms manufacturing, despite some increase in generation,” Luzin concludes.

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