RUSSIA plans to spend 19 trillion roubles (US$613 billion) to purchase new weapons over the next decade as it seeks to modernise its Soviet-era army, defence minister Anatoly Serdyukov said in an interview released on Tuesday.
The government is in the process of approving a plan to ramp up the arms budget for 2011-2020 by 46% from the previous estimate of 13 trillion roubles, Serdyukov told Bloomberg news agency in an interview.
Serdyukov, who spoke following his talks with US Defence Secretary Robert Gates in Washington earlier this month, also said Russia was interested in US technologies. He did not elaborate.
Much of Russia's military equipment dates back to Soviet times and the government has in recent years promised extra money for modernisation.
Russia has been negotiating with France for months to buy a Mistral helicopter carrier, in its first ever purchase of military hardware from a member of NATO. The talks have been mired by disputes over technology transfer however.