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UK intel: Russia boosts military output in 2023, will have materiel edge over Ukraine in 2024

In 2023, Russia’s defense industry boosted output, employing 3.5 million workers and refurbishing existing stocks. Artillery munition production surged, but may peak in 2024 due to capacity limits, still offering a likely material advantage over Ukraine for the year, per UK intelligence.
A logo of the Raiffeisen bank in front of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Moscow. File photo: TASS
UK intel: Russia boosts military output in 2023, will have materiel edge over Ukraine in 2024

Facing immense demand from Russian military operations in Ukraine, Russia’s defense industry considerably expanded production output in 2023 to help sustain the war effort.

Russia’s defense industry increased 2023 production output to sustain operations in Ukraine by growing workforce, production lines and refurbished equipment, but output remains insufficient to satisfy full military demand, but will deliver materiel advantage over Ukraine in 2024, according to the British Defense Ministry’s March 1 intelligence report.

The Ministry wrote:

  • The Russian defence industry significantly increased its production output in 2023. This was achieved by expanding the workforce to roughly 3.5 million people, increasing shift patterns and expanding existing production lines, coupled with bringing idle production capacity back into service.
  • A significant proportion of this increased output comes from refurbishment and modernisation of existing stocks rather than new production. For example, the vast majority of main battle tanks produced in 2023 consisted of refurbished vehicles.
  • Artillery munition production rose sharply in 2023 and will likely increase further in 2024. However, munition production is likely to peak in the next 12 months due to capacity constraints.
  • Although the defence industry is unable to fully meet the demands of Russian operations against Ukraine, it is almost certainly capable of delivering a materiel advantage over Ukraine throughout 2024.

In late 2023, the British Defense Ministry reported, based onapparently leaked Russian finance documents, that the country’s 2024 defense budget would jump to about $112 billion, around 6% of GDP and a 68% increase, as the country was preparing for extended fighting.

A recent Jamestown Foundation’s report indicates limited growth in Russia’s defense industry output since 2022, with much of the apparent expansion stemming from cannibalizing stored systems.

Earlier this month, the UK Defense Ministry said Russia’s 2024 budget relies on optimistic 22% revenue growth to fund 26% higher expenditure, but projected oil and gas revenue gains may fall short, with government having to weigh measures like less National Wealth Fund contributions or more taxes and debt.

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