Russia To Create DARPA Like Agency For Innovative Weapons Development

 Russia plans to create an agency fordeveloping innovative military technology similar to the U.S. DefenseAdvanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), a Russian business dailyVedemosti said.
The project is part of RussianPresident Dmitry Medvedev's drive to diversify the Russia economy byreducing its dependence on oil and gas exports.
The president's modernization committeemet on Wednesday at an aviation equipment factory near Moscow todiscuss innovation in the military sector.
Currently, increased military spendingis only going into upgrading old systems, developed in the Soviet era,Medvedev said. Russia needs to start producing its own hi-tech systems,he added.
The DARPA (originally ARPA) was createdin 1958 in response to the launch of the Soviet Union's firstartificial Earth satellite. It has funded the development of a numberof influential projects, including the ARPANet, the predecessor to theInternet. The project's budget for the 2011 fiscal year is $ 3.1billion.
Presidential Aide Arkady Dvorkovich said the project could be created in collaboration with the Skolkovo fund, an innovation center planned to be built near Moscow.
"The Russian DARPA should expand therange of military-technology design beyond the existing Sovietstructures by developing universities and small private companies,"said Andrey Zubkov, vice president of investment group Rostok.
Medvedev has made developing hi-tech sectors and encouraging research the focal point of his economic agenda.

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