The Russians rely heavily on Western technology in their weapon systems. In addition, the products of major manufacturers have been flowing into the country since the February attack and the entry into force of the sanctions. These things appear in the news agency Reuters , Royal United Services Institute – a Russia-focused investigative journalism think tank and news site on iStories from the joint report.
According to the report, both special licensed technology and many conventional schemes could be used in Russian missiles and other systems. Electronics, which in addition to weapons systems can also be used, for example, in cars or household appliances, are not even necessarily included in the scope of the sanctions.
Especially in Russian weapons you can see FPGA circuits, programmable gate arrays that can be easily reprogrammed. Circuits can also be recycled and taken from common household appliances, such as washing machines, and reprogrammed for use in rockets, for example.
It can include a lot of modern technology, but also components from the 1980s. In addition, the investigation revealed that even after the war began, thousands of shipments containing parts covered by sanctions were leaked to Russia. Components from known manufacturers could have been sent into the country even before the attack, but they did not arrive until later in the spring. In many cases, components can be supplied without the knowledge of the manufacturer, through several intermediaries.
There is a research institute in Russia that goes through components made elsewhere in case they don’t have backdoors that allow Western intelligence or sabotage. Russian device makers are encouraged to use as much locally produced electronics as possible, but manufacturers are clearly dependent on technology from elsewhere.
For many components, there are simply no Russian equivalents. A document seen by Reuters from 2017 shows how the research institute went through a device designed for helicopters that could jam enemy radio traffic. Of its 921 foreign components, only 242 could be produced in Russia at that time.