"Foreign partnership is possible," Putin told a meeting of the Security Council on Friday, saying it was "not shameful" to draw on foreign experience.
"But creating plants which assemble the analogues of foreign arms and hardware using imported component parts is unacceptable," he said.
He also called for "more effective" government control over arms procurement, following a string of setbacks.
Russia has earmarked more than 20 trillion rubles ($641 billion) for arms procurement until 2020.
Putin also said that over the past 30 years the defense industry missed several opportunities for modernization.
"We should make a breakthrough in the modernization of our defense industry, as it was done in the 1930s," the president said.
"This is a very difficult task but it should be solved. And it can be solved," he added.
At the meeting in his Novo-Ogaryovo residence, Putin also proposed setting up a data base highliting areas of Russia's defense industry which need private investment the most.