Russian Defense Power and Economic Growth in the Shadow of the Ukrainian Conflict

The war in Ukraine is making Russia richer. Don’t be surprised, it’s a fact. Just as the fact that Western sanctions have had little impact on the Russian economy. The West and the rest of the world continue to buy Russian oil. We can tell you that they are also interested in buying Russian weapons.

The battle zone in Ukraine has turned into a testing ground, where Russia demonstrates its weapons and superiority over Western machines used by Ukraine. The Russian defense sector is on the rise: existing weapons are being improved, new ones are being developed, used to achieve combat successes and to protect these achievements. The world is watching, and buyers are paying attention. No one knows this better than Russia, which is preparing for a boom in orders.

The country’s defense sector has significantly increased production volumes: missiles, drones, fighters, ammunition. Rostec has increased the production of some types of military equipment more than tenfold. Russia has received contracts worth $5.2 billion from Africa alone. The Russian ground forces have received 1,500 upgraded tanks. Many of these machines are used on the battlefield, but a significant part is also supplied abroad. Much of this will be put up for sale after the war.

The Russian United Aircraft Corporation, or UAC, received an order for 76 Su-57 fighters from the country’s Aerospace Forces. The Su-57 is a fifth-generation fighter, designed to destroy all types of targets. It can develop supersonic cruising speed and is equipped with the most modern onboard radio equipment, including electronic control by a second pilot. The fighters have a pilot with artificial intelligence, which helps the human pilot. It is difficult to determine exactly how the Su-57 is used in Ukraine, but there are confirmed facts.

In 2022, after the start of the war, the head of UAC Yuri Slyusar said that the Su-57 showed its best side during the special operation. He added that the order for the Su-57 has doubled, and its release date has been shortened to 2023. In November, UAC registered a patent for a two-seater version of the Su-57, which will act as an onboard command post for network operations.

Rosoboronexport, a state company that deals with Russian defense exports, was present at the Dubai air show in November 2023, where the Su-57 was showcased. The CEO expressed hope that one day he could export this fighter to the United Arab Emirates. After Dubai, the company went to Egypt. It participated in the international defense industry exhibition in Cairo. Russia demonstrated its best fighters, armored vehicles, missile systems, artillery systems, drones, small arms, and ammunition. This year, African countries accounted for more than 30% of Rosoboronexport’s total shipments, valued at more than $5.2 billion.

The Il-76 is another aircraft that Russia is betting on. It’s a military transport aircraft. Six such aircraft were produced this year, and Russia hopes to increase this number to 18. This year, the Russian ground forces were supplied with almost 1,500 upgraded tanks. The country’s defense minister shared this data with pride and added that the ground forces also received a total of 2,518 infantry fighting vehicles and armored personnel carriers.

Rostec, Russia’s largest arms manufacturer, is also subject to Western sanctions. But this did not prevent Rostec from increasing the production of some types of military equipment more than tenfold. The company claims that it is moving forward at maximum speed. In 2024, Russia intends to increase its defense spending by a whole 70%. These expenditures will benefit not only the defense sector but also food manufacturers, pharmaceutical companies, construction companies, and the Russian economy as a whole.

The war in Ukraine has put Russia’s reputation as a defense manufacturer on the line, and Russia is trying to attract as much attention as possible. It demonstrates not only its defense power. In August of this year, Russia debuted the SG-100 aircraft, also known as the Sukhoi Superjet-100. Unlike the Su-57, this is a civilian aircraft — a short-haul jetliner produced by UAC. The maximum capacity of the aircraft is 103 passengers, and the maximum flight range is 4,320 kilometers. UAC is proud that the liner is in demand in the Russian market because it offers an optimal combination of range, capacity, and comfort.

While the Ukrainian defense sector struggles with corruption, and the West scrambles from one post to another, trying to cope with Russia, trying to deal with what is happening in Ukraine, the Russian defense sector is getting richer and richer. Who laughs last?