Sergei Shoigu demands huge sum from Energy

The total claims of the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation to the space industry may be 30 times more than the declared 5 billion rubles.
The lawsuit in the amount of 5 billion rubles. submitted by the Ministry of Defense to the Rocket and Space Corporation (RKK) Energia, follows from the file cabinet of the Moscow City Arbitration Court. Details of the lawsuit on the court’s website have not yet been disclosed. The document has only been submitted to the court so far, they have not seen it at Roscosmos state corporation, a Vedomosti source close to the leadership of the state corporation says, but if necessary, Roscosmos’s lawyers will render Energia all the necessary assistance. The official representatives of Energia and Roscosmos refrained from commenting yesterday, the press service of the Aerospace Forces of Russia (VKS; they include the Space Forces structurally) were unable to respond promptly to the request.

As two top managers of space industry enterprises told Vedomosti, in total, the Russian Ministry of Defense has claims for Energia worth about 36 billion rubles. and the lawsuit filed is only part of this amount. It was formed to a greater extent due to a delay in the development of a new 14C48 booster block (RRC Perseus-KV) for the Angara-A5 launch vehicle, as well as due to difficulties in deploying serial production of Tundra-type satellites (product 14F142) included in the Unified Space System for Detection and Combat Command (EXOiBU). In December 2016, TASS conveyed the words of the first deputy commander of the VKS, General Pavel Kurachenko, who reported that the Space Forces plan to launch 10 such vehicles into orbit by 2020: they were supposed to replace the old 71X6 and 73D6 satellites, which formed the basis of the space echelon of the warning system about a missile attack. Now in space there are only three "Tundra", which were launched in 2015-2019., The last satellite - in September this year, according to a specialized site Spaceflightnow. As TASS later reported, the deployment of 10 ECSOiBU devices can be expected at best by 2022.

For Energia, any penalties are extremely sensitive and may ultimately affect the implementation of international projects, which should not be allowed, a senior government official said. The corporation, which is responsible for the manned space program, already has a colossal debt load of 20 billion rubles. from the SeaLaunch floating launch site project (Sea Launch), sold to S7, as well as about 8–9 billion rubles that must be found to create the new Angolan telecommunication satellite AngoSat-2 (its predecessor was lost in 2018 due to problems with the power supply system), the source of Vedomosti recalls: "Naturally, this situation does not suit anyone."

The problem of interaction between the space industry and the Russian Ministry of Defense is systematic, says the head of one of the Roskosmos enterprises: “For failure to even even one stage of work, the military fines for the entire amount of the contract, hence the enormous sums that must then be dealt with in the courts.” He claims that a delay of several days in the submission of a certificate of completion of the documentation development stage leads to penalties on the part of the military, even if the company finally delivered the final product on time. Based on this practice, the Russian Ministry of Defense may present space claims totaling over 150 billion rubles to space enterprises, a Vedomosti source in the state corporation says.

Government contracts are a very regulated area in which there is a strict procedure on the part of customers and contractors, and the situation with contracts of the Ministry of Defense and Roskosmos enterprises is no exception, says Stanislav Danilov, partner at Pen & Paper Bar. The military is obliged to respond to failure to meet the deadlines for the fulfillment of the agreements, because otherwise the inspecting authorities may already have questions for them, he said: "Under the current conditions of industry, it remains only to try to defend oneself in court."