Meanwhile, investments in numerous next-generation weapons program suggest that Moscow is interested more in developing new technologies for tomorrow rather than today—without committing to full-scale production to replace its huge arsenal of Cold War-era tanks and jets. This might explain why there are apparently more than a half-dozen fighter jets currently either in development or in limited scale production, and three or four new families of APCs slated for deployment, albeit sharing the same turret in common. The Russian defense establishment apparently prefers to diversify its options rather than concentrate on maximizing short-term production.
Those technologies may eventually come to fruition at some point in the next decade, if and when Moscow has more disposable money and industrial capacity, and feels an urgent need to ramp up production. In response, those new systems may merit some modest adjusting of goal posts for the next generation of Western military technology. But one hundred tanks with unmanned turrets and twelve stealth fighters will not alter the military balance any time soon, and observers shouldn’t let state-sponsored hype achieves its purpose by causing them to overestimate Russia’s conventional military capabilities.
Sébastien Roblin holds a Master’s Degree in Conflict Resolution from Georgetown University and served as a university instructor for the Peace Corps in China. He has also worked in education, editing, and refugee resettlement in France and the United States. He currently writes on security and military history for War Is Boring .
Image: Russian Sukhoi T-50 PAK-FA jet fighter lands after a demonstration flight at the MAKS International Aviation and Space Salon in Zhukovsky outside Moscow August 27, 2013. The world's top aircraft makers, scenting a major opportunity in replacing ageing Russian air fleets, will be touting their wares at Moscow's MAKS air show this week in the hope of winning a big slice of that multi-billion dollar market. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov