In this slow news season, Russia’s chief artilleryman has provided something to keep us going.
The missile and artillery firepower of Russian Ground Troops could double in the near future. New Iskander-M brigades are likely to be fielded through 2020.
Today General-Lieutenant Mikhail Matveyevskiy told RIA Novosti that the “combat possibilities” of Missile Troops and Artillery (RViA or РВиА) will increase by a factor of 1.5 to two by 2021. He said Russia will establish and equip new missile and artillery “formations and units” (i.e. divisions, brigades, regiments).
Matveyevskiy also told the news agency:
“In 2016, the development of the new generation Tornado-S multiple launch rocket system with increased range, accuracy, and more powerful warheads was completed. Volley fire Tornado-G systems, with automated target direction capability, continued to enter MLRS sub-units [i.e. battalions, batteries]. Anti-tank sub-units are outfitted with new Khizantema-S anti-tank guided missile systems with a unique capability to penetrate the armor of all modern tanks at night and in low visibility conditions.”
General-Lieutenant Matveyevskiy indicated that the rearming of missile brigades with Iskander-M SRBMs is “proceeding on a planned basis,” and deliveries are synchronized with the construction of facilities to support their deployment.
According to a January 4 Mil.ru press-release, Matveyevskiy said “by 2020 all existing formations will be fully rearmed with the Iskander-M missile system.” This item also noted that defense enterprises are currently working on improvements to the Iskander-M as well as a unified trainer for crew commanders, drivers, and other specialists.
Through last year, nine missile brigades have received the Iskander-M. The 448th and 152nd are likely candidates to be ten and eleven in 2017. The rejuvenated 1st Tank Army and a new army in the Southern MD might be twelve and thirteen at some point. And that still leaves the possibility of fielding four more Iskander-M brigades (numbers 14-17) before the end of 2020 if the current pace of two per year continues.
By way of reference and comparison, the Soviet Army had roughly 40 SRBM brigades at one point or another.