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Russian Army Equipment

The most insidious kind of equipment degradation, Stalin thought, was the "epidemic of improvements. ... The designer must not be at-everybody's beck and call... He has to protest irresponsible demands ... The designer has to be tough and he has to protect his machine from irresponsible advisors. It is difficult to make a good machine and easy to spoil it. And it's the designers who are responsible.

Historically, Russia has developing new models and continued to exploit existing ones. For that reason its armed forces today are an amazing mix of all types of tanks, something not seen anywhere else in the world. Their maintenance costs are enormous. Russia's is the only army in the world using two types of main battle tank: the gas turbine T-80 (T-80U) and the diesel-powered tank T-90 (T-90S). Both have the same weight, size and identical combat characteristics. Other types in service include the T-62, T-64, T-72 and their versions, and even the T-55. This range of types creates many problems for providing fuel, lubricants, spare parts, tools, equipment and maintenance. It is also economically wasteful to maintain such diverse models. Large numbers of tanks and their ammunition require annual utilization, the funds for which have never been fully available.

The fitting of Russian tanks with anti-tank missiles fired through the gun barrel greatly increased the effectiveness of tank armament. Its kill radius is now over five kilometers. But this advantage is offset by the absence of up-to-date reconnaissance and observation systems (aerial, notably UAV). The line of sight and fire are set so low that it is practically impossible to see and, moreover, aim at a target from the tank. Nor are there high-quality communications available, affecting control over tank units.

In 20092011 the government arms procurement program experienced a serious crisis and was in fact stalled because of either inability of the Russian defense industry to produce modern weaponry (due to the lack of the skilled labor force and modern technologies) or MoDs unwillingness to buy outdated armaments. Russia planned not only to buy Mistrals but also to continue acquisitions of Israeli drones, French avionics for the Sukhoi aircraft, Western guns for the spetznaz, and some Western electronic components to modernize T-90 tanks. In 2010, the MOD decided to decline a whole complex of perspective weapons systems. A special loss was experienced in the armor and artillery industries. Design and experimental jobs (DEJs) were cancelled on the

  1. Object 195 Project (the main battle tank T95)
  2. Burlak universal tank turret [intended to be a low cost universal turret upgrade to go on T-80 and T-72 with an addon - bustle autoloader as seen in the Object 640 prototype]
  3. Coalition-SV 152-mm self-propelled artillery vehicle
  4. 2S25 Sprut-SD 125-mm self-propelled artillery vehicle
  5. BMD-4 Bakhcha-U ACV
  6. BMPT Tank Support Combat Vehicle

MOD decided against acquisition of these systems, which never entered service. Later on, MOD decided to stop acquisition of the military equipment samples which, while still in service, had not exhausted their potential: these were BTR-80 armored infantry vehicles and BMP-3 infantry fighting vehicles. The major reason for such cautious approach of MOD to equipping of the Russian army with new weaponry systems is its skeptical attitude to the capabilities of the Russian defense industrial complex. Production capacities of the majority of the defense industry enterprises had not undergone any modernization since the early 1980s. Presently, they are morally and physically obsolete.

Russian defense industry enterprises will carry out the tactical and technical requirements of the Ministry of Defence to the new generation of armored vehicles by 2015. On 03 April 2012, informs "Interfax" referring to the Deputy Chief of Staff Major-General Igor Sheremet. According to Sheremet, development work on the creation of a new armored vehicles "are conducted under strict control," the Defense Ministry and in accordance with a specified schedule. On the basis of a new combat uniform platform, said Major-General, the machine will be produced for the Army of the three categories - heavy, medium and light. Commonality will be placed on the platform of the new technology of modern modular weapons. This, in turn, greatly simplify the maintenance of vehicles and reduce operating costs. Work on the creation of the new platform are assigned to the profile of scientific research institute of the Ministry of Defense, as well as companies "Uralvagonzavod" military-industrial companies and other structures of the military-industrial complex of Russia.

In tank brigade and a motor rifle brigade both have tanks and both have infantry in armored transporters, the difference is the proportion. A tank brigade would have three tank battalions and one of infantry in IFVs, while a motor rifle brigade had three battalions of IFVs and one or two of tanks.

According to plan, it is intended that all vehicles in a given brigade would have similar levels of protection and mobility, denying the enemy the option of picking off the lighter vehicles first. Initially it was planned to have heavy, medium and light units:

  • Armata [Armada] in heavy brigades. The Armata came in two different models, one with the engine at the rear for use as a tank or artillery (as a MSTA/Coalition-SV type vehicle) and one with the engine at the front with a ramp rear door for IFV use.
  • Kurganets-25 as the tracked vehicle in medium brigades. The Kurganets-25 was to have a special Navy version designed to handle rough sea operation and beach landing (as opposed to the standard level of amphibious capability which allowed operation in rivers and lakes only).
  • Bumerang [Boomerang] 8x8 wheeled vehicle in medium brigade (rear ramp door, 25 ton weight and amphibious)
  • Taifun [Typhoon] 4x4 and 6x6 wheeled vehicles in the light brigades. The focus of Typhoon was on speed and firepower, while the Boomerang will have speed and mobility on roads it will also be much heavier and better protected.

By 2012 Typhoon was a modified (lighter, smaller) Boomerang, so the Tracked families are Armata for heavy, Kurganets-25 for medium, and the Wheeled are Boomerang-25 for medium and Boomerang-10 [Typhoon] for light.

In January 2013, Ground Forces commander Vladimir Chirkin said the Defense Ministry would buy Russian-made Tigr vehicles in preference to a follow-on order for Italian Lynx jeeps made under license in Russia. Russia and Italy signed a contract in December 2011 for the production of Iveco Rys/Lynx vehicles under license in Russia. Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin, responsible for the defense industry, conducted a policy of buying some foreign military equipment where Russian technology was lagging behind, or where the domestic industry can gain know-how, while generally preferring to buy from local suppliers.

The Russian Defense Ministry was to purchase a range of new vehicles, Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu announced on 28 May 2013 during a visit to a military test center. "We have decided to start the serial purchase of a range of vehicles ... we need the most mobile and modern vehicles for transporting our forces and supplies to areas of military activity," Shoigu said at a Defense Ministry test center in the Moscow Region, where he watched a display of Russian-made military vehicles and equipment. He did not specify which vehicles would be purchased, in what numbers, or when.

The demonstration featured the Typhoon-U and Typhoon-K six-wheel transporters, Bulava and Bulat vehicles, Volk 1 (VPK-3927) and Volk 2 multirole wheeled vehicles, and the Rys and Tigr-M armored jeeps, as well as Vityaz twin-compartment tracked vehicles for use in harsh climatic conditions. The Vityaz was a focal point on the show, during which it crossed a water-filled ditch and then climbed a plus 30-degree slope.

The Rocket Troops and Artillery have been an important combat arm of the Ground Forces because of the belief that firepower has tremendous destructive and psychological effect on the enemy. In 1989 the Ground Forces had eighteen artillery divisions, in addition to the artillery and missile units organic to armies and divisions. Artillery and surface-to-surface missile brigades were attached to each combined arms or tank army. An artillery regiment and a surface-to-surface missile battalion were parts of each Soviet motorized rifle and tank division. In 1989 the Rocket Troops and Artillery manned 1,400 "operational-tactical" surface-to-surface missile launchers.

The December 1987 INF Treaty between the United States and the Soviet Union called for the elimination of all short-range ballistic missiles with ranges between 500 and 1,000 kilometers. The treaty required elimination of more than 900 Soviet SS-12 and SS-23 missile launchers. As of mid-1989, all SS-12 missiles had been eliminated. All SS-23 missiles had to be eliminated before the end of 1989, according to the terms of the treaty. After the reductions mandated in the treaty, the Soviet battlefield missile inventory still contained over 800 modern SS-21 missile launchers with a range of 100 kilometers, as well as older SS-1 launchers and unguided free rocket over ground (FROG) missiles that were fielded in the 1950s. These tactical missiles can deliver nuclear or chemical weapons as well as conventional munitions.

In 1989 the Rocket Troops and Artillery had approximately 30,000 artillery pieces; of these, 10,000 were capable of firing conventional high-explosive, nuclear, or chemical rounds. Since the 1970s, this powerful combat arm has fielded more than 5,000 selfpropelled 122mm and 152mm howitzers, 152mm and 203mm guns, and 240mm mortars. These artillery pieces, which are mounted on tank chassis, have replaced some towed artillery pieces. The Rocket Troops and Artillery also had truck-mounted multiple rocket launchers, each with forty tubes, to provide massive fire support for the Ground Forces.

The Ground Forces relinquished control of air defense for their field formations in 1948 when the National Air Defense Forces-- later renamed the Air Defense Forces--became an independent armed service. In 1958, however, Soviet air defense was decentralized again, and the Ground Forces acquired antiaircraft guns and formed tactical air defense units. In the 1960s, air defense became an integral combat arm of the Ground Forces. Since then, Air Defense of Ground Forces has been independent from the Air Defense Forces, although coordination of their respective operations remains necessary.

Air Defense of Ground Forces was equipped with a mix of antiaircraft artillery as well as surface-to-air missiles to defend Ground Forces units against attacking enemy aircraft. During the 1970s, the Soviet military introduced five new self-propelled air defense and radar systems into its force structure. In 1989 Air Defense of Ground Forces operated 5,000 surface-to-air missiles and 12,000 antiaircraft guns organized into brigades, regiments, and batteries. As of 1989, combined arms and tank armies had air defense brigades equipped with high-altitude SA-4 surface-to-air missiles. Motorized rifle and tank divisions had air defense regiments with the mobile SA-6 or SA-8 for medium- to low-level protection. Ground Forces regiments had SA-9, SA-13, and ZSU-23-4 antiaircraft gun batteries. Motorized rifle and tank battalions had surface-to-air missile platoons equipped with new low-altitude, shoulder-fired SA-16 and older SA-7 missiles. The SA-8, and SA-15 are division-level short-range SAMs; the SA-6 is a division-level medium-range SAM; the SA-11 is an army-level medium-range SAM; the SA-4 is an army- or army group-level medium-range SAM; the SA-12a and SA-12b are army group-level medium-range SAMs.

Upgrades to existing tanks and armored units [2014]

  • BMD-4 ACV : $500,000 upgrading from BMD-3 to BMD-4.
  • BMP-1P : $ 600,000 as an upgrade of existing stocks. Adds to 9P13M Konkurs launcher on an exposed pintle.
  • BMP-1PG : $350,000 as an upgrade of existing stocks. Adds an AGS-17 auto grenade launcher.
  • BMP-1MS : $920,000 as an upgrade of existing stocks. Adds a new turret with 2 2A42 30mm autocannons, 1 Kornet launcher and 1 PKTM coax machine gun.
  • BMPT Tank Support Fighting Vehicle : $1.4 million as an upgrade to existing T-72 stocks - (based on BTR-T upgrade costs and T-72 modernization projects)
  • BTR-T APC : $400,000 as an upgrade of existing stocks, $700,000 if the customer does not have any T-55s to upgrade (based on costs for similar vehicles)
  • T-55M5 : $700,000 as an upgrade of existing stocks. This modernization kit adds convex explosive reactive armor "Kontakt-5" panels around turret front, armor panel on glacis plate, a longer hull, a new style fire control equipment with stabilized TVK-3 and TKN-1SM sights for the gunner and commander, an improved V-55U engine (or V-46-5M) and a main gun stabilization system. The original 100mm D-10T2S gun is maintained
  • T-55M6 : $1.8 million as an upgrade of existing stocks ($ 2.4 million with options). A more radical upgrade with longer chassis with 6 road wheels each side, to 690 hp V-46-5M diesel engine and with the complete turret with automatic loader and 2A46M 125mm main gun of the T-72BM. Also the protection was increased to T-80U level. Optionally the tank can be equipped with the 1A40-1 fire control system with ATGM system 9K120 "Svir" (as T-72B) or with the 1A42 and 9K119 "Refleks" systems (as T-80U).
  • T-72BM : $800,000 as an upgrade of existing stocks. This adds a new 125mm gun, 1,000 hp diesel, to thermal gunners site, new camouflage, and Relikt ERA (which is supposed to be twice as effective as Kontakt-5)




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