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Space United States Politics Technology

75% of Russia's Satellite Electronics Come From US 127

schwit1 writes: One Russian aerospace industry expert noted today that three-quarters of all their satellite electronics comes from the United States: "According to [Nikolay Testoyedov], up to 75 percent of the electronic components for Russian satellites come from the US. Consequently, if it retaliates should Moscow refuse to sell RD-180 rocket motors to Washington — which Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin has threatened — Russia's satellite program would be frozen for at least two years. "The imported electronic components in our satellites represent 25 to 75 percent of the total in communications; in military ones, somewhat less; in commercial ones, more," Testoyedov says. Of these imported components, approximately 83-87 percent come from the United States thus giving Washington the whip hand." If we stop providing these electronics he estimates that after their present stock runs out in about a year it would take at least two years before Russia could replace these American-made parts. As the above linked article at The Interpreter mentions, this is relevant in part because of recent talks about U.S. sanctions which could affect this kind of commerce.
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75% of Russia's Satellite Electronics Come From US

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  • They'll just find another French shell company to source from. Piece of piss.

    • Re:uh, so? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Hognoxious ( 631665 ) on Saturday June 13, 2015 @03:03PM (#49905087) Homepage Journal

      Or buy it direct from China, where it's actually made.

      • Re:uh, so? (Score:4, Informative)

        by ihtoit ( 3393327 ) on Saturday June 13, 2015 @03:30PM (#49905203)

        Texas Instruments fabrications are done in China?

        Who knew?

        (actually they do have one plant under construction in Chengdu. but most of their fabs are done in Maine, Texas, and Japan).

    • There is no way that Russia could ever figure out how to have someone in the U.S.A. (maybe even someone who works that the Russian embassy) just order this stuff from Digi-Key and then send it back to Russia, maybe even in a diplomatic pouch.
  • And 75% of electronics in USA satellites come from Taiwan. - Lev Andropov

    • by ihtoit ( 3393327 )

      uh... a movie quote presented as fact??

      This is about as believable as the rest of the movie.

  • Russia can't win (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    This is why Putin cannot afford to retaliate with their own economic sanctions. Economically, they are about the same size as Italy. Putin and his cronies can talk as much as they want to about shunning the West economically (or not cooperating with America in space), but if it really came to a trade war, Russian society and their military would suffer far more than America and the rest of the West. Aside from oil/gas exports, Russia makes nothing of use for the West.

    If I were an official in Russia, I would

    • by guacamole ( 24270 ) on Saturday June 13, 2015 @05:13PM (#49905723)

      Why can't Russia just switch to Chinese-made electronics? Certain, components may be inferior to what Russia gets from the west, but it's not like Russian space or military programs would grind to halt only because of Chinese-made components.

      In terms of economic and trade wars, I suspect Russia could in theory afford to shut down all of trade with USA, all of it completely, because USA is a relatively minor partner for Russia. The EU on the other hand is much more important. Lots of Russian manufactured good imports could from EU, while Russian gas and oil are exported there.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Pentium100 ( 1240090 )

        Also, Russia probably could shut down all trade and be self-sufficient. It has pretty much all naturally occurring elements and energy sources (oil, gas, coal, nuclear), so if they really wanted, they could just manufacture everything locally.

        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by Tailhook ( 98486 )

          Russia probably could shut down all trade and be self-sufficient

          They tried that. They couldn't feed themselves reliably.

          After 70 years of misery and decline they stopped and embarked on a new era of misery and decline, eased substantially by limited trade with the West.

          They have the resources to be self sufficient. They even have the knowledge. Unfortunately, that's not enough.

          To close the loop you need a functioning market of industry and ideas where property rights are respected and investors and entrepreneurs can flourish. Russians don't do that. Their cul

        • Russia can be a pure autarky if absolutely necessary in a sense that it has all the resources and enough manpower... but it would be subsistence living. Not quite as bad as DPRK, but much closer to it, as opposed to the standard of living that currently has (which is above many Eastern European countries). I very much doubt the populace would be supportive of such policies for long. And right now, at least, it's essentially a populist dictatorship - there's a certain degree of political oppressiveness, but

          • Why necessarily subsistence living? Yes, the living and economic standards would go down. People who have to go back to driving Russian cars, fly on Russian airplanes, and use Russian consumer electronics, which in the 1980s were a subject of many jokes in the west. Russian cars, washing machines, televisions, home computers, and VHS players of the 80s were indeed joke compared to what existed in the West at that time, but they all existed.

            • I don't think you fully appreciate the difference between the USSR in 80s, and Russia today. USSR got to that point literally through decades of economic hardship, and even then it could offer a lifestyle at best close to American one from 20 years before that. Russia, on the other hand, had its economy pretty much ruined in the 90s, and only very slowly recovered since then - and said recovery involved making the country a part of the worldwide economy. A lot of the things that enabled relative autarky in

              • Regarding the agricultural sector, I think it could respond well and quickly to the economic incentives. Soviet agriculture was a mess because the collective farmers were being paid a tiny fraction of the real market price of their produce. Why work hard when you get pennies on a dollar for all your work? Russian farmers of the last two decades had a different kind of problem.. the imports of cheap, western food, often the result of western food subsidies. I have no doubt that if the Russian state allowed

                • Russian farmers of the last two decades had a different kind of problem.. the imports of cheap, western food, often the result of western food subsidies. I have no doubt that if the Russian state allowed Russian farmers to keep what they have earned, and to sell their products at market prices, Russia could certainly feed itself.

                  As it happens, I do know some people directly involved in it, and it's not actually the main problems. The main problems are the lack of a qualified labor force. The collectivist mentality is still quite alive and well in the countryside, and so a farmer who does well has to deal with rampant theft and even vandalism of his property, often from the very same people he has hired.

                  The other problem is that a lot of agricultural techniques and machinery in use are not very modern. They're literally getting a yi

                  • "As it happens, I do know some people directly involved in it, and it's not actually the main problems. The main problems are the lack of a qualified labor force. The collectivist mentality is still quite alive and well in the countryside, and so a farmer who does well has to deal with rampant theft and even vandalism of his property, often from the very same people he has hired."

                    I read about the same problems in the Russian countryside in the 1990s. But if you're correct, what comes as surprise is that the

                    • As it happens, I am a middle-class Russian :) By the time the purges happened in the USSR, most small businesses were already dead. They were going after people primarily based on their espoused ideology (if public - religion also falls under this), or else ancestry. Basically, if you were nobility by birth, or your daddy was a factory owner, tough shit. Of course, by 30s it all devolved into a random free-for-all - tag a man and they would find a reason. My grandmother's first husband perished like that.

                      An

      • If China finds itself in, essentially, a monopoly position, they might ask for a very hefty price (as already happened with Russian gas).

  • Why is math so hard? (Score:5, Informative)

    by ustolemyname ( 1301665 ) on Saturday June 13, 2015 @03:56PM (#49905363)

    That title is terrible, and not supported by the article.

    The article presents some numbers, quoting Nikolay Testoyedov:

    • Some Russian satellites are 25% imported components, some are made of 75% imported components.
    • Of these imported components, at most 7/8 (87%) come from America
    • So, at MOST, 65% (75% * 87%) of Russian satellite components are from the US.
    • However, this is just an upper bound from what few numbers we have. Taken in context, it seems likely that the average Russian satellite is only 1/3 to 1/2 American components. Still high, but less shocking than the title number.

    Now, I think Slashdot gets off the hook for the misleading title, because the firggin article attributes the 75% from the US number to Nikolay Testoyedov and used the same number in its title. But the article title demonstrates some terrible critical math and reading comprehension skills.

    • To be fair though, missing just one component might be enough to make the satellite nothing more than an expensive paperweight. It's not really a question of what percentage of components come from the US, only whether any necessary components come only from the US.

      • by matfud ( 464184 )

        And Russia does launch a lot more commercial satellites then anyone else on our planet. If you can not use the hardware you have in your orbiter or it can not be launched, as the US says NO, you are years into development and pretty screwed.

        So yes it could cause many problems

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Having lived through the cold war, and then not the cold war, and now a little miniature cold war again, I liked not the cold war better.

  • They should just get their stuff from HobbyKing and save a bundle of cash
  • They've got little more than rusting cold war hand-me-downs that are horribly obsolete and few Potemkin village weapons platforms that look cool but don't actually work.

    Half of it is about as scary as the death star from the star wars movie "actually" is... aka not at all because it isn't real. It's a model with some special effects.

    I'd worry about most of their shit about as much as I'd worry about dinosaurs eating people in my city.

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