Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoygu’s address to the MOD Collegium on December 24 began with de rigueur descriptions of how the U.S. and NATO menace Russia.
Not bothering, of course, to mention that it’s Moscow’s treaty-busting and its invasion of a neighbor that put America back in the intermediate-range missile business and caused Balts and Poles to bulk up their defenses.
It’s not propaganda of interest here, but rather what Mr. Shoygu claims the Russian military acquired by way of hardware in 2019.
Shoygu said the MOD had the highest level of arms and equipment supplied to its forces in four years — more than 6,500 — which raised the share of “modern” types to 68.2 percent overall. “Modern” arms reached 76 percent and 82 percent respectively in the RVSN and Russia’s nuclear triad specifically.
He added that the first missile regiment outfitted with Avangard hypersonic glide vehicles began combat duty this week. Three RVSN regiments received RS-24 Yars (SS-27 Mod 2) ICBMs. Peresvet laser defense systems are on-duty with five ICBM divisions.
Shoygu enumerated what the rest of the military got this year:
- Five modernized strategic bombers
- Completed testing of Borey-A (pr. 955A) SSBN Knyaz Vladimir [but still not accepted for service]
- 624 tanks and other armored vehicles
- 143 airplanes and helicopters
- 13 satellites, including the third Kupol early warning satellite
- One submarine [the first pr. 636.3 for the Pacific Fleet Petropavlovsk-Kamchatskiy]
- Eight surface ships
- 17 vessels and support ships
- Four coastal missile systems
- 10,000 pieces of comms gear [how does that square with 6,500?]
Not everything can be good, so Defense Minister Shoygu said the serviceability rate of the MOD’s training aircraft is only 58 percent, and new Yak-130 jet trainers only 56 percent. But he claimed the overall rate for MOD equipment is 95 percent. Naturally, it’s a game of what gets counted and what doesn’t.
Listing the military’s accomplishments, Shoygu provided other points of interest.
— In 2019, the Russians held two “systematic” surprise inspections of combat readiness involving military districts, armed services, and service branches. He didn’t say which ones or where.
— The MOD conducted an attestatsiya of contractees to evaluate their competence and suitability. Some were found unfit and separated from the service.
— An old problem from the early 2010s is nearly resolved. Housing has been provided for some 61,000 officers who lacked a duty post but couldn’t be retired until they got apartments legally due to them. Only 47 officers in this situation remain to be housed.
— The LRA conducted 48 strategic bomber flights in 2019.
— Russian aircraft sorties in Syria are down to 2-3 per day now. In 2015-2017, there were 80-90 combat flights daily.
— Russian forces have now tested 359 “modern” weapons and equipment items in Syria.
In conclusion, Defense Minister Shoygu said the Russian Armed Forces fulfilled all assigned missions in 2019, and increased their combat potential by 14 percent.
Wouldn’t we love to see the formula used to determine that.