Rhodus Intelligence special report

How does Russia make missiles?

Manufacturing base of the Russian military industry as the key chokepoint of the war production

Manufacture of metal-cutting and metal-forming machine tools in Russia, 1985-2020 (thousands)

The Russian military doctrine is missile centric. While the production of new WMD delivery systems heats regular debates in the foreign policy community, few observers have posed a question of how is modern Russia even able to produce precise parts required for such sophisticated weaponry after having lost the Soviet machinery industry?

The Russian capacity to execute the Soviet designs of weaponry relies upon the computerised equipment and software provided by the U.S. allies.

NITI Snegireva (Rostec)


Top 20 Suppliers in 2000-2021 for Machining Centers Millions of USD, adjusted to 2023 value

In the 2000s Putin brought the Russian military production back from the dead with the mass import of machine tools from the Western Europe and developed East Asia. Germany being the largest supplier by far. If the Taiwanese and South Korean tools were usually deemed as sufficiently good by 2014, Chinese machines had been largely undesirable until 2022

What we did

We propose a new look on the Russian missile industry’s chokepoints, specifically in its industrial equipment and production processes.

What we did:

  • Investigated 28 key ballistic, cruise, anti-ship and air defense producing facilities belonging to or associated with the Roscosmos, JSC Tactical Missiles Corporation, JSC Almaz-Antey and the Rostec corporations.

  • Identified the bottlenecks and chokepoints of the missile production base. Developed the methodology for tracking former and current supply chains as well as investigating the mechanisms of sanctions evasion

  • Analyzed rationales of the Russian military industrial management, logic of resource allocation, tradeoffs and constraints affecting the organization of production processes

Our mission

“We identify and examine sources scattered around the unobvious places. We integrate the knowledge scattered around the unobvious disciplines. We document the tacit and translate it to the layman tongue.”

Kamil Galeev

Next reports on the Russian nuclear, land army weaponry, aircraft production and the machine tool industry will be posted here

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