Russia will sign all contracts of its 2012 state defence order by the end of this year, Defence Minister Anatoly Serdyukov has said.

“We will sign contracts with all suppliers by the end of December for the first time in the entire history of state defence order,” he added.

The Defence Ministry is ready to pay fully in advance to enterprises producing weapons and military hardware for the armed forces and buy military products from manufacturers, providing a 25%-plus profitability.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev criticised the ministry for the delay in signing of new defence contracts on procurement of strategic nuclear armaments in the 2011 state defence order, according to RIA Novosti.

The ministry had failed to conclude contracts worth around 18% (R108bn) out of the total 2011 state defence order, approved in the amount of R581.5bn ($20.7bn), due to high prices for military products.

The country’s 2011-2020 arms procurement programme provides for the upgrade of up to 11% of military equipment annually and allows an increase in the share of modern weaponry to 70% by 2020 in the armed forces.