Daily Archives: January 6, 2010

Combat Capability, Battle Readiness, and Combat Readiness

Interconnection and Correlation of Indicators of Combat Potential

Now that the Russian Armed Forces have moved away from low-strength, cadre divisions and units to a permanently combat ready force structure, it’s time to think a little harder about where they might be . . . yes, Shlykov makes one think.

A two-part article in Voyennaya mysl from early 2009 sheds some light on Russian military thinking in this regard.  It was prepared by retired colonel, a military academic teaching at the soon-to-be-former Combined Arms Academy.  He was a tactical commander of motorized rifle units, and later a professional staff officer with experience in the GOU.  It’s likely violence will be done to his work in an effort to understand and dumb it down.  His construct is full of equations and diagrams like the one above.  But the article helps in understanding what 100 percent combat readiness really means.

The articles examine the concept of combat potential and use it to determine the ‘real combat possibilities’ of a force.  It aims to evaluate and calculate indicators of combat potential, accounting for their combat capability and readiness to fulfill combat missions (battle readiness).

Combat potential expresses the summation of the material and morale possibilities of the armed forces, which determine their capability to fulfill their missions, to conduct combat actions.  Its components are technical equipping, soldierly skill, and morale.

Combat potential has three basic indicators that define the limits of combat possibilities:  ideal, or armaments potential; real, or combat capability potential, and actual, or readiness potential.  Armaments potential is a theoretical and unattainable indicator; based on quantity alone, it seems to be defined as 1 or 100 percent, if the requisite number of armaments are on-hand.  It’s a starting point for the other indicators.

Combat capability is defined as the condition of troops (forces) which allow them to conduct combat actions successfully in accordance with their designation and to realize their combat possibilities.  It is real combat possibilities to conduct combat actions with the forces and means on hand.

At this point, the author defines combat readiness in peacetime as defined by the readiness to transfer from peacetime to wartime, but in wartime it is determined by battle readiness.  Battle readiness expresses preparation or training for fulfilling missions as a portion of potential combat capability.  It is conducting measures to train for battle.  Battle readiness is the actual share of potential combat capability.  Increasing the potential (degree) of battle readiness is the process of turning real combat possibilities into actual ones.

Ideal combat possibilities are simply a question of the quantity of armaments.  Forty arms equals 40 arbitrary units of combat potential or 1 in the diagram above.  If the real combat possibilities are .6, combat capability is 24 (40 x .6), and if the actual possibilities are .4, battle readiness is 16 (40 x .4).  And the ratio of battle readiness to combat capability (16/24) yields a degree of battle readiness of .6, and this seems to be the key output of the first part of the article.

Part two turns to indicators of the combat capability of subunits (battalion and lower) and units (regiments, which don’t exist any longer except for RVSN and VDV).

Chief of Staff’s and Shamanov’s VDV Year Enders

General-Lieutenant Nikolay Ignatov

In an interview today, the VDV’s Chief of Staff summarized 2009 and plans for 2010 in Russia’s airborne forces.  

General-Lieutenant Ignatov said 90 percent of the VDV was outfitted with individual soldier radios based on the Akveduk system in 2009, and the remainder will get it in 2010.  The Akveduk-5UNE is the basic UHF transceiver, and Akveduk-5UNVE and Akveduk-50UNVE are the individual radios.  

The VDV also took delivery of 100 modernized BMD-2, 18 Nona self-propelled artillery systems, and 600 KamAZ vehicles.  It got communications vehicles including 14 R-149 KShM and 23 radio stations mounted on KamAZ high mobility vehicles.  

Ignatov said 80 percent of the VDV’s fall 2009 conscripts have already completed their first jump.  In all, 10,000 conscripts are joining the VDV ranks from the fall draft.  Another VDV spokesman said the airborne made 189,000 jumps in 2009, 29,000 more than the year before.  

Stepping back a bit, in mid-December, VDV commander Shamanov told NVO that the airborne received 150 combat vehicles in 2009, including modernized BMD-2 and BMD-3.  He hopes to get more BMD-4M vehicles for field testing in 2010.  He wants 200 of them eventually.  Unlike the VVS, he emphasized that he likes domestically produced UAVs, thermal sights, and sniper rifles.  Shamanov noted that 15-20 percent of the VDV’s armored vehicles might be wheeled in the future, and he plans to obtain some GAZ-2330 Tigr vehicles for recce and Spetsnaz subunits.   

Shamanov essentially said the VDV intends to lobby for control of helicopter units, presumably from the VVS where they’ve been since 2002, to transport and support its air assault elements.  Specifically, he’s talking about the Mi-28N, Ka-52, Mi-8MTV, and Mi-26.  The Ground Troops would also like to get army aviation back; perhaps both are ganging up on VVS. 

On 10 December, Shamanov called for a simple, functional approach to equipping the VDV.  Unhappy with defense industries, he said he won’t buy anything that doesn’t suit the VDV.  He wants better stuff than he already has in his stockpiles.  As an example, he wondered when he’ll get a mine detector that works on rocky terrain.  So, to some degree, Shamanov has joined the list of military leaders lambasting defense industries for poor products.