Russian Federation President Vladimir Putin addressed an expanded session of the MOD Collegium at the new RVSN training facility in Balashikha on December 22.
According to the Kremlin.ru transcript, Putin gave attention to Syria, where he said the Russian Federation Armed Forces displayed “qualitatively developed modern capabilities” to deliver the “decisive contribution” to the defeat of international terrorists.
Putin said Russian arms and equipment will be nearly 60 percent modern by the end of 2017, and 70 percent by 2021. Again that word modern. Russia, he declared, will be a world leader in developing a “new generation” army.
The Russian leader took pains to accuse the U.S. of violating the 1987 INF Treaty.
He indicated Moscow’s priorities in the next GPV will be precision weapons, unmanned strike systems, individual soldier systems, reconnaissance, communications, and EW systems. Not very different from what he said last year.
Preserving strategic nuclear parity is a perennial priority. Putin said the Russian triad would be 79 percent modern at end of 2017. By 2021, Russian ground-based ICBMs are supposed to be 90 percent modern.
Russia’s president also called for strengthening the SSO and VDV.
All in all, there’s less of interest in Putin’s report than Shoygu’s.
Shoygu had much to say about Syria as a training ground for the Russian Army and Russian pilots. Some figures were new. Others we’ve heard before.
He said 48,000 Russian troops fought in Syria over the last two years. The Aerospace Forces (VKS) flew 34,000 combat missions. The Navy delivered 100 strikes, presumably Kalibr LACMs. Long-Range Aviation flew 66 strike missions. Shoygu reported that 60,318 enemy fighters were killed, including 819 leaders and 2,840 Russian Federation expatriates.
Then the head of the MOD got to what the Russian military received in 2017:
- Three mobile RVSN regiments were fully reequipped with RS-24 Yars ICBMs;
- LRA got three modernized bombers;
- The army got 2,055 new or modernized systems to reequip three formations [divisions or brigades] and 11 units [regiments];
- VKS received 191 aircraft and 143 air and missile defense systems;
- Ten ships and boats, 13 support ships, and four land-based Bal (SSC-6 / Sennight) and Bastion (SSC-5 / Stooge) ASCM
systemsprobable “battalion sets” entered the Navy. Naval aviation got 15 aircraft;
- VDV acquired 184 armored vehicles and SP guns;
- The armed forces got 59 UAV systems with 199 UAVs;
- The Unified Tactical Level Command and Control System (YeSU TZ) now meets the MOD’s requirements and was used successfully in combat training.
Compare this list with 2016. And for reference, with year-enders for 2015 and 2014.
Shoygu expounded on the list of weapons and equipment acquired since 2012. It was originally outlined in less detail by Deputy Defense Minister Yuriy Borisov in a November 1 interview with VPK. The list included:
- 80 ICBMs;
- 102 SLBMs;
- Three Borey-class SSBNs;
- 55 satellites;
- 3,237 tanks and combat vehicles;
- More than 1,000 planes and helicopters;
- 150 ships and vessels;
- Six proyekt 636.3 Improved Kilo diesel-electric submarines;
- 13 Bal (SSC-5 / Stooge) and Bastion (SSC-6 / Sennight)
launchersprobable “battalion sets.”
Shoygu said this procurement enabled the MOD to outfit:
- 12 RVSN regiments with RS-24 Yars ICBMs;
- 10 missile brigades with Iskander-M SRBMs;
- 12 regiments with MiG-31BM, Su-35S, Su-30SM, and Su-34 aircraft;
- Three army aviation brigades and six regiments with Ka-52 and Mi-28 helicopters;
- 16 air defense regiments with S-400 SAMs;
- 19 battalions with Pantsir-S gun-missile systems;
- 13 battalions with four Bal and Bastion ASCMs apiece;
- 35 formations with Ratnik-2 individual soldier systems;
- Six new Voronezh radar systems and refurbished Daryal, Dnepr, and Volga systems.
The Defense Minister said the Russian Armed Forces now have 59.5 percent modern arms and equipment. Specific service percentages are:
- RVSN — 79 percent;
- Ground Troops — 45 percent;
- Aerospace Forces — 73 percent;
- Navy — 53 percent.
Much of what’s claimed seems like it happened. Some seems disputable. “More than 1,000 planes and helicopters” seems a stretch. CAST counted 370 fighters and trainers since 2012. Do helos and transports account for the other 630? Other claims are useful starting points but require research.
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An important note…Shoygu’s choice of the word “complexes” [комплексы] regarding the number of Bal and Bastion ASCMs procured is problematic. Complex [комплекс] could be “system” or “set.” System of course sounds like individual launchers. But set sounds like the “regimental set” or “battalion set” we’re accustomed to seeing in the military press. Reading other materials about Bal and Bastion makes one think Shoygu is talking about “battalion sets” here, i.e. two batteries of two launchers apiece or four launchers for each “set.” It makes even more sense if you look at 13 “battalion sets” acquired since 2012 allowed the Russians to outfit 13 battalions.