Airborne Assault Troops [VDV] - Training
Soviet airborne troops are among the best-trained soldiers in the Russian armed forces. The training that they receive is physically rigorous and mentally demanding. It is conducted under conditions simulating actual combat, including extensive NBC training. Airborne training integrates special airborne techniques with basic motorized rifle tactics.
The personnel assigned to airborne units enhance the quality of training in those units. Airborne personnel are carefully selected. Many of them were contract troops who are put through a rigorous screening process which emphasizes a high level of physical conditioning, education and training, and political reliability.
Because parachute jumping is a major sport in Russia, many new conscripts were already experienced parachutists at the time of induction. Pre-induction parachute training was available through sports clubs and premilitary school programs conducted throughout the Soviet Union by the Volun-tary Society for Cooperation with the Army, Aviation, and Navy (DOSAAF). Most inductees selected for service in the airborne forces are sent directly to the regular airborne divisions.
The majority of airborne officers are graduates of the Ryazan Higher Airborne Command School near Moscow. Junior officers are also provided by other higher command (four-year) schools, higher technical (three-year) schools, and civilian universities with reserve officer commissioning programs.
Commissioned graduates of the Ryazan Higher Airborne Command School usually spend their entire service career in the airborne forces. Active duty service begins in September or October following their summer graduation and commissioning.
Like warrant officers throughout the armed forces, warrant officers in the airborne forces are selected and sent to warrant officer training schools after being trained and having served as noncom-missioned officers. Warrant officers serve as platoon leaders; company technicians, or company first sergeants.
Virtually all airborne noncommissioned officers began their service as two-year conscripts who demon-strated high motivation and political reliability. Many are selectedfor noncommissioned officer training by the district military registration office at the time of induction. They are then assigned directly to the airborne training division for at least 6 months of specialized training. Upon completion of this training, they are awardrd an NCO rank and are assigned to one of the regular airborne divisions.
All enlisted conscripts in airborne units (like almost all Soviets youths) had undergone at least 140 hours of DOSAAF-sponsored premilitary training either during their last 2 years of formal schooling, or at their jobs. Most have undergone DOSAAF premilitary parachute training, thus reducing the training that conscripts need. Conscripts receive 4 weeks of basic training after which they receive additional instruction in the use of weapons and military equipment, para-chuting techniques, equipment rigging for airdrops, equipment derigging after airdrops, aircraft loading techniques, and so on.
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