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The combat-ready confidence. Airborne troops will remain the main military instrument of Russia in upcoming war
Material posted: Publication date: 05-08-2014

The next Day the airborne troops of the Russian Federation is taking place, which many have called the pre-war. In these circumstances, re-evaluated all the elements of the military machine, and airborne this revaluation applies primarily to. In the next 10 years, the airborne troops will remain the basis of Russian potential in local conflicts and peacekeeping operations, but the appearance of these troops will change seriously.

Uncontested mobility

The ability to move quickly through the air, and follow immediately after landing or parachute landing going into battle, which is the main distinguishing feature of the airborne troops, and provided their relatively higher compared to other land formations a place in the military hierarchy of modern times. To reduce the likelihood of a major war superpowers on the European continent, where the first role was assigned to heavy mechanized unit in the army, and the emergence of new local conflicts, where the firepower and the weight of the armor receded into the background before the speed of reaction and mobility, have made the VDV an indispensable tool.

Not the last role in the fate of the airborne infantry was played by the proximity of the first post-Soviet Minister of defense Pavel Grachev, a native trooper, — to Boris Yeltsin. In combination with a relatively low required expenditures in comparison with the compounds of the land forces, the political case and the objective needs of the country's defense allowed airborne to survive 90 years without radical demolition, retaining its fighting core: four of the seven Soviet airborne divisions. In total, having today four divisions, four brigades, one separate regiment of special purpose and other parts, airborne are one of the most combat-ready elements of the Russian military machine. The number of these troops is, according to various estimates, 35-40 thousand people.

Perhaps one of the main successes of the airborne troops should be considered the fact that the winged infantry was able to defend the status of a separate kind of troops — reserve of the Supreme commander, avoiding the inclusion in the composition of the army. Ultimately, the decision looks correct: specificity airborne, contributing to their autonomy, could easily be lost during transfer to the army, the command of which assesses the ability of troops on significantly different criteria. At best, the airborne forces would wait for a serious break-up of the existing processes of preparation and tactics use in the worst — slow fading on the financing by a residual principle.

Ultimately, a much higher combat readiness of the airborne troops of the armed forces as compared to the bulk of the army formations and associations played a role. The rejection of the reliable working of the mechanism was not considered appropriate.

The future of rapid response

That airborne should be the basis of Russian forces of fast reaction began back in 2000-ies, In February 2013 the newly appointed (at that time), defense Minister of Russia Sergey Shoigu said that the airborne forces will be used in this capacity. The choice was virtually no alternative: other structure, able to quickly allocate the necessary power in the event of near the borders of Russia another of a local conflict, the country did not exist.

The existing structure of the airborne forces is often the object of criticism for excessive, according to many, the number that exceeds the capabilities of the Russian military transport aviation (VTA). The existing grouping of VTA is able to provide landing of one airborne division with some parts of amplification, however, on this basis, declare all the rest of the airborne is useless is hardly meaningful: a time when mass was required simultaneously landing multiple divisions are long gone. In local conflicts, the main asset of the airborne forces is the willingness to act immediately. This allows, if necessary, promptly relatively enough to create a significant grouping of airborne forces in different directions, ensuring that these forces, in turn, the deployment of the heavy unit in the army. The combined weight of the payload is BTA in these conditions began to play a much smaller role than the readiness of troops for immediate redeployment and actions under various conditions.

However, the structure of the airborne forces, obviously, will evolve. Likely to continue the process of reorganization of the airborne units in assault — with the increase in the number of armored vehicles within the structure airborne. In addition, will be significantly strengthened, "spetsnaz" component — not least under the influence of the Crimean crisis, where the specialty parts were entrusted with many critical tasks.

In total, the composition of the airborne troops in the coming years it is planned to create a separate brigade of spetsnaznachenija (which will be reformed 45th separate guards regiment of special forces), as well as to deploy three additional battalions of special forces consisting of the airborne divisions.

Armor and aircraft

The situation with re-equipment of the airborne forces in previous periods was typical for the army as a whole. Troops "had finished" the Soviet legacy, the following design turned high skilled exploitation regular news. This was especially true of armoured vehicles: the BMD-1 and BMD-2 (fighting vehicles of a landing) is clearly not consistent with the new conditions nor security, nor the capabilities of weapons.

In the end, airborne armor has spelled out in the state program of armaments: until 2025 airborne receive more than a thousand new airborne combat vehicles BMD-4M and over 2.5 thousand armored personnel carriers "Shell" of various modifications. For all their questions to the same BMD-4M combat vehicles new promise to significantly reduce the expected loss and to increase the combat capabilities of the troops in comparison with the technique of the old model. In addition to tracked armored vehicles, airborne needs to new and wheeled vehicles, including armored cars of new generation with enhanced mine protection.

Begs and equipment of the airborne forces necessary number of unmanned vehicles, including, if possible, impact. Test some models and limited supply of drones is already underway, however, to create a sustainable grouping and development of these devices all the floors of the command hierarchy will require more than one year. The same applies to new means of control.

The main question, however, remains maintaining the capabilities of military transport aviation, and the situation is not so clear. Unfortunately, it is obvious that, barring a political miracle, airborne will have to part with dreams of plane An-70, the development of which began in the interests of the airborne infantry at the turn of 1970-80-ies. This Soviet aircraft, first flying after the collapse of the Soviet Union, eventually became a victim of Russian-Ukrainian contradictions. The controversy eventually turned into a civil war in the East of Ukraine and of the Russian airborne troops have remained without aircraft capable of delivering 30-40-tonne cargoes on a short runway is not of very good quality and fly with them.

Unpleasant are summarized and the prospects for a new light transport aircraft is rapidly aging, both mentally and physically, the An-26B. The Russian project of the Il-112V has not yet been up in the air, and the creation of a military-transport version of the Antonov An-140 is likely doomed to failure because of the same political problems. Under the conditions of local conflicts, light machine no less important than the heavy Il-76 or super-heavy "Ruslan".

The Ukrainian crisis threatens to touch and yet one of the most successful Russian military programs — re-equipment of the army aviation of the new helicopters. Manufacture of helicopters, today in excess of one hundred units per year by order of the Russian defense Ministry, dependent on the supply of engines from the Ukraine, and how quickly these supplies will be replaced with the engines assembled in Russia — until the matter.

However, despite these problems, the current situation with equipment of troops with new equipment is far less critical than 10-15 years ago. The main problem stills remain, but a privileged position VDV works here: all those wishing to become officers, warrant officers or staff sergeants remain airborne very long, and the "Winged infantry" can afford much more careful selection of personnel. As always.

Ilya Kramnik


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