"We cannot afford to stand still today," Colonel General Yevgeny Karpov said. "The existing communications system should be changed into a digital one, and we could eventually switch to nanotechnology."
Karpov said 18% of the Defense Ministry's annual budget had been spent on the system, which has been in the planning stage since 2000. Roughly 667 billion rubles ($23 billion) have been earmarked for national defense in the draft 2006 budget approved by the lower house of parliament in a second reading.
Karpov said the new communications equipment would work perfectly with the telecommunications equipment and facilities now in use.
The commander said integration into a single telecommunications environment was the main direction of the signal forces' current development. He added that the government was working hard to supply troops with new-generation equipment, including automated control systems, mobile radio stations, and satellite communications.
He said Russian research centers had been developing command systems for battlefields for several years, creating, among other things, radio-controlled devices and mobile radio stations.
System elements for battlefield operations have been tested by the 42nd Motor Rifle Division in Chechnya, Karpov said.
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The solution to the Ukrainian problem will directly depend on how the military operations unfold in Donbass. If the militia fighters take over the strategic initiative, win back Donbass and extend the war to the Zaporozhye and the Kharkov regions, then Kiev will be more amenable to a compromise