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Monday, December 31, 2007

Exposing Russia's Sham Military

Bloomburg exposes Vladimir Putin's Potemkin military:

Russia's military, which once defined its power and is central to President Vladimir Putin's ambitions for global influence, is lagging behind its energy- driven economic boom. The nation's armed forces remain beset by manpower and morale problems, aging equipment, graft and unfulfilled promises to overhaul their Cold War-era structure, Western and Russian analysts say. While Putin, 55, has increased Russia's defense budget to a level four times greater than when he became president in 2000, it is still less than 6 percent of U.S. spending.

"There is this notion in the West that the Russian army is coming back,'' said Zoltan Barany, a professor at the University of Texas in Austin who published a book this year about the decline of the Russian military. "They're not back. Things have started to change, but there's a long way to go before they're back, and I don't think they will ever be back like they were.''

A report last month by Moscow's Institute for National Strategy and two other independent research groups underscored the lack of progress. It said defense spending during Putin's tenure had grown only 15 percent after inflation from the 1990s, and that Russia has bought fewer weapons under him because of a ``dramatic rise in corruption.''

Outdated Fears

The analysts said military doctrine was still based on outdated fears of war with the West instead of more realistic threats from China or Islamic terrorists. Russian and Western news media "are inflating the myth of an active remilitarization of modern Russia,'' the analysts said. "This myth bears no relation to reality.'' [LR: Putin obviously wants to cause us to drop our guard long enough for him to become a real military threat. So he has two options: (a) create a Potemkin military and try to intimidate us into taking no action, or (b) let it be known how weak he really is, maybe even cause things to look worse than they are, and then argue that if he is weak no action is needed. As is so often the case in Russian la-la land, it seems that no one policy has been chosen and the right hand has chosen (a) while the left is attempting (b). Meanwhile, what we must understand is that it makes no difference. If Russia is weak, then now is the time to act to prevent it from getting strong. If it is strong, then now is the time to at before the actual blows start falling. It's clear that we haven't got as much to fear from Russian military action as we might think, just as was the case when the Iraqi army easily capitulated, surprising all. He who hesitates is lost. If we do not take action now, we will be forced to take it later at much greater cost.]

The gap between Putin's ambitions and his capabilities was evident in August, when he said that regular strategic-bomber flights would resume after a 15-year hiatus. The announcement revived memories of Cold War days, when Soviet and U.S. nuclear- armed bombers patrolled on hair-trigger alert. The reality turned out to be far different. The new patrols are done mostly by aging Tu-95 "Bear'' bombers that have turbo- prop rather than jet engines, carry no nuclear weapons and are limited to about one flight a week by budget and equipment constraints, according to Pavel Baev, a military analyst at Oslo's International Peace Research Institute.

A Shrinking Fleet

The resource crunch affects all military branches, analysts say. The Russian Navy now has one active-duty aircraft carrier -- the U.S. has 12 -- and its fleet of strategic nuclear submarines is shrinking as vessels wear out and aren't replaced. The most modern sub, the 11-year-old Yuri Dolgoruky, was designed as a platform for the Bulava-M long-range nuclear missile. The Bulava failed several tests, raising questions about its future and the sub's utility, Baev said. While Russian defense industries produce some good-quality equipment, especially fighter planes and surface-to-air missiles, most is sold abroad, said John Pike, director of, an Alexandria, Virginia-based military research group. "They're basically playing with the same set of toys that Gorbachev gave them,'' Pike said, referring to Mikhail Gorbachev, the last Soviet leader.

Russia still fields a formidable nuclear arsenal, with 4,237 warheads deployed on 875 missiles and bombers as of July, according to data compiled by the Arms Control Association, a Washington research group. Only the U.S., with 5,914 warheads on 1,225 missiles and bombers, has more.

Repairs Required

Still, 60 percent of Russian missiles have exceeded their service life and half require major repairs, according to a 2005 Defense Ministry report, Barany said. Just 30 percent of the country's fighter planes are combat-ready, he said. The Moscow researchers said that if present trends continue, attrition will reduce Russia's intercontinental missile arsenal to between 100 and 200 in a decade. Russia's Defense Ministry didn't respond to written questions about the military's capability. The head of the Russian Strategic Missile Troops, Colonel- General Nikolai Solovtsov, was quoted by the official Itar-Tass news agency Dec. 17 as saying that Russia would be "compelled'' to maintain the strength of its nuclear arsenal because of U.S. plans to base a missile-defense system in Eastern Europe. Manpower problems remain acute, although some -- such as chronic late payment of officers' salaries -- have been eased by the budget increases.

Russia's Spending

Aided by a 255 percent surge in oil prices during Putin's eight years in office, Russia's 2007 defense spending was about 821 billion rubles ($33.6 billion), about 15 percent of total government expenditures, according to the London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies. U.S. military spending in 2007 was about $582 billion, or 21 percent of the total federal budget, the institute said. Russia also suffers from endemic draft avoidance, with as many as nine out of 10 of those in the eligible 18-to-26 age group escaping service. "If you've got 90 percent draft evasion, those who show up are just too stupid to evade it,'' Pike said. "Imagine what kind of military you can put together with that.'' Military officials are seeking to make compliance more common by eliminating some deferments and gradually reducing draftees' terms to one year from two. Meanwhile, they have created all-volunteer units and stationed them in the volatile northern Caucasus, Baev said. "That's why Georgia has reason to be worried,'' he said.

Vested Interest

Russian political leaders have long talked of shifting to a smaller, more professional all-contract military. They have made little progress, partly because of opposition from generals who have a vested interest in blocking the change, analysts say. The generals exploit draftees by using them to do personal work or renting them out as cheap labor to enterprises, with the generals pocketing the fees, said William Hill, a professor at the U.S. National War College in Washington. The military pressures draftees to sign long-term service contracts, according to the Committee of Soldiers' Mothers, a Moscow-based group that works to expose abuses in the military. The pressure includes sleep deprivation, beatings and threats of transfer to combat zones. Hazing persists even after high-profile cases generated official promises to curb abuses, Baev said. "Soldiers are mistreated in every possible way,'' he said. "That's why it's so difficult for this army to shift into contract service. You have to treat soldiers differently if they are professionals. Many of the officers aren't prepared to do this.''


Anonymous said...

And this article is just about the nuts-and-bolts. Its electronic surveillence and radar are "not up to par" to say politely. I'm afraid they'd probably mistake a measly meandering duck for an ICBM and go off half-cocked.

Actually, the installation of US missille defense in Poland and elsewhere would be a benifit to Russia. In two ways. 1) Its American technology and dollars keeping things up to date, and 2) the allies are doing the watching and could alert the Russians should someone launch something aimed for Moscow from the south. The Russians don't need to spend a dime, or break a sweat.

Artfldgr said...

The reality turned out to be far different. The new patrols are done mostly by aging Tu-95 "Bear'' bombers that have turbo- prop rather than jet engines, carry no nuclear weapons and are limited to about one flight a week by budget and equipment constraints

There is one constant in the west. That technology is a panacea, that without the latest and greatest gizmo, your at a disadvantage. That everything is in the tech, not in the tactics. That’s why America walked away from a win in Vietnam after Tet, they had such superior weapons and such we said no way, right? no, they had primitive weapons, tactics, and leftists posing as pacifists in the west (I say posing because real pacifists wouldn’t make apologetics for soviet atrocities and pick and choose).

Yes, the runs are MOSTLY done by tu bears…. But define mostly. 51/49 would be one definition… the other point made is that a prop somehow makes a bomber inferior. Does it?
Russian Bear bombers conduct cruise missile practice

Seems to me that if this author was the person in charge of defense, the country could be taken over by anyone that went at it with inferior equipment.

A prop plane flying low only needs to get within CRUISE MISSILE RANGE, not DIVE BOMBER RANGE… Air warfare has changed since “little boy”, the nuclear weapons are now mounted in their own vehicles.

lets put it this way… Russian cruise missiles cant fly from Russia to say England or the US, however, tu bear bombers can fly in international space and launch from their. This means that once desensitized to them, the system becomes a random launch platform situated at the legal limits of national sovereignty.

The runs are ALSO being done by tu 160 Blackjack bombers. These are decidedly different than the other bombers. Meanwhile the author doesn’t realize that dry runs in props are good training runs.

The purpose of the aircraft is the delivery of nuclear and conventional weapons deep in continental theatres of operation. The aircraft has all-weather, day-and-night capability and can operate at all geographical latitudes. The performance of the Russian Tu-160 is often compared to the US B-1B.

And they have just gotten upgrade packages.

So is the author being honest? No… but he hides his dishonesty by quoting some person at a PEACE institute in Oslo. Of course, that makes his information correct, when a bit of cursory checking would show that he is not saying anything that is cognizant of the real world.

The Tu-160 is capable of carrying the strategic cruise missile Kh-55MS, which is known in the West by the NATO designation and codename AS-15 Kent. Up to 12 Kh-55MS missiles can be carried, six in each bay. The Kh-55MS is propelled by a turbofan engine. The maximum range is 3,000km, and it is armed with a 200kt nuclear warhead.

So the bears, both kinds, are carrying cruise missiles with 3000km ranges… take a compas and draw a circle from some point, say Washington, London, etc… out to say 1000km, THEN mark off where the bears have been…

The closer you can get the missile to launch, the more likely it can strike, and not be shot down.

While they build missile shields in Europe, the propeller planes are flying the nuclear weapons PAST the missile shields, so they are launch able behind the shields. is an interesting link to the size of explosions…

you can see that russials tsar bomba was the largest weapon ever made and tested… 50,000 kilotons (if you read about it special, you will find that its test was so powerful that it made the earth ring as it bounced around inside).

Little boy was 15kt… Fat Man was 21…

And these cruise missiles are 10 times more powerful than fat man… while not as powerful as icbm, which may be 10 times more than that…

They are not delivery systems, they are launch platforms understanding the difference is critical…

The weapons bays are also fitted with launchers for the Kh-15P, which has the NATO designation and codename AS-16 Kickback. The Kh-15P Kickback has solid rocket fuel propulsion, which gives a range up to 200km. The Kickback can be fitted with a conventional 250kg warhead or a nuclear warhead.

So the whole thing is figuring out whether you can use the shorter range kickback and bring the launch platform closer, or need the longer range missiles from the tu 160s. the final answer will be blended. Some mix of the two… however, if the countries were more strict at keeping them away, the blend would turn out to be different… and so would their manufacturing choices and short term future focus.

Then the author says…
The most modern sub, the 11-year-old Yuri Dolgoruky, was designed as a platform for the Bulava-M long-range nuclear missile.

Then goes on about how they were designed for some old thing…
Then how does he explain this?

Russia launches new nuclear submarine

I guess he didn’t get the press release…

The Yury Dolgoruky, a Borey-class nuclear missile submarine, was built at the Sevmash plant in the northern Arkhangelsk Region. It will be equipped with the Bulava ballistic missile, which is adapted from the Topol-M (SS-27).

Turns out the bulava is still a fine missile.. and has also been upgraded…

Two other Borey-class nuclear submarines, the Alexander Nevsky and the Vladimir Monomakh, are currently under construction at the Sevmash plant, with a fourth submarine on the future production schedule list.

And Russia is clever… they named the new missile the same as the old missile… and yuck yucks above think it’s the same.

Moscow (RIA Novosti) Aug 08, 2007
Russia has moved to a higher level in the design of strategic sea-based nuclear systems. Admiral Vladimir Masorin, commander-in-chief of the Russian Navy, said the Bulava-M (SS-NX-30), a naval derivative of the land-based missile Topol (SS-27), had been approved for mass production. It will be supplied to the new fourth-generation Project 955 Borey-class strategic submarines.

So yeah… they are going to have bulava missiles… but which ones? Anyway… the nx30 is intercontinental…

and remember years ago when the Chinese got flack for stealing the tech for making propellers and such… well they put it to good use… since they popped up in the middle of a military exercise and were COMPLETELY undetected before that. Here is a bit on china’s sub build up.

and here is a piece on their superior (russias) squal torpedoes..
In 1995 it was revealed that Russia had developed an exceptionally high-speed unguided underwater missile which has no equivalent in the West. Code-named the Shkval (Squall), the new weapon travels at a velocity that would give a targeted vessel very little chance to perform evasive action. The missile has been characterized as a "revenge" weapon, which would be fired along the bearing of an incoming enemy torpedo. The Shkval may be considered a follow-on to the Russian BGT class of evasion torpedoes, which are fired in the direction of an incoming torpedo to try to force an attacking to evade (and hopefully snap the torpedo's guidance wires). The weapon was deployed in the early 1990s, and had been in service for years when the fact of its existence was disclosed.

You will find that they started working on it in the 1960s… so things are not so simple as tin soldiers, and plastic tanks. …

However it does show that unlike the west, Russia is more secretive, and so any judgements as to what they have and how much, and so forth, can be way way off. Even more so if the info comes from a group with an agenda to push. Peace institute is like saying neo-soviet shill organization… why? Because the task is to do what was done after tet… it worked, its effective, and its cheap…

Russia still fields a formidable nuclear arsenal, with 4,237 warheads deployed on 875 missiles and bombers as of July, according to data compiled by the Arms Control Association, a Washington research group. Only the U.S., with 5,914 warheads on 1,225 missiles and bombers, has more.

Sorry… this one is misleading… note the word DEPLOYED… that means that they have more that are not in the field… if you check the numbers, Russia has almost as many nuclear weapons DEPLOYED as the US has in its whole stockpile! Its estimated that Russia has between 15,000 and 20,000 weapons… given that they have cheated on every agreement, and have been caught many times, these estimates can be low.

Note tha the compared the TOTAL ARSENAL of the US with the DEPLOYED ARSENAL of RUSSIA.

And didn’t he just say that the bombers weren’t carrying nuclear weapons? Now he says they are? I guess he doesn’t even read his own work and quotes.

But even so… the person is arguing that Russia is not a threat..but he is saying that someone with 4000 OPERATIONAL nuclear warheads that are operational is not a threat.

The Moscow researchers said that if present trends continue, attrition will reduce Russia's intercontinental missile arsenal to between 100 and 200 in a decade.

To which they just gave up on some treaties, and announced building a bunch of them… but in the article above, you can see that their strategy is to build them, but not assemble them….

The treaties only count assembled units… so if you make a missile in three pieces and theya re not put together… (but can be assembled fast as part of prep time), your nuclear arsenal can be totally hidden from treaty as incomplete missiles don’t count.

If it takes a couple of hours to put the functional segments together, then the real number of operational missiles is a lot higher, and will not shrink in a decade, but will grow, as the accounting numbers shrink.

The author goes on as if the justifications of whatever excuse to increase the missle counts are ok (after all they are putting up a defensive weapon… and so Russia needs more offensive weapons is the logic).

He goes on as to the amount of their military spending… how did he come to this amount? His amounts for spending is the low figure for the yearly amount in weapons sales…

So if this were to be believed… Russia makes nothing for itself, and everything for the world… but it never sells to bad people, it sells to people who THEN sell to bad people.

There is no way to account for the money… which is why its so important that oil and such is under the control of a few… it makes it easier to cook the books…

He just claimed a 200+ times increase in profit for the same material… and yet, where is the money? what is it going to?

Is there mention of them upgrading yamentau mountain? A nuclear bunker the size of the Washington beltway… one of many… estimates of housing 100,000 or more… there are also many other facilities and they are all underground… (which is the natural progression once you have satellites.

Even at the end… he makes a concept that a contract force is better than a core hardened force… the abuse makes them some of the worlds toughest soldiers… the point here is that he used bad information… didn’t prove his point by doing so.. and so the end of him saying…. Go back to sleep, go back to sleep, they are tiny and cant hurt you..

Tell that to the person that got malaria from mosquito… or whose family member dies of pneumonia...

Total ignorance, arguing from total ignorance, to prove a point in ignorance.

But he gets paid for it.

avi said...

The one thing that will allow Putin to increase his army 100 times is a world-war. Like Stalin before him, Putin may be in 1937 now, and has 1941-2 before him, but the war goes on the he surely will have the people on his side. Craving to die and give whatever they have, as long as Putin is capable of presenting them with a cause.

Artfldgr said...

Russia test launches new RS-24 ICBM
18:5925/ 12/ 2007

Moscow, December 25 (RIA Novosti) - Russia has conducted a second test launch of a new intercontinental ballistic missile with multiple warheads, a Strategic Missile Forces (SMF) spokesman said Tuesday.

"The RS-24 ICBM equipped with a multiple independently targetable reentry vehicle (MIRV) warhead was fired at 4.10 p.m. Moscow time (1.10 p.m. GMT) from the Plesetsk space center [in northwest Russia]," the official said.

He said the missile hit a designated target at the Kura test site on the Kamchatka Peninsula, in the country's Far East, without specifying, however, precisely when that had happened.

The RS-24 is a new-generation Russian intercontinental ballistic missile, which was first tested on May 29, 2007 after a secret military R&D project, to replace the older SS-18 and SS-19 missiles by 2050.

It is expected to greatly strengthen the SMF's strike capability and Russia's nuclear deterrent, as well as that of its allies until the mid-21st century.

The SMF commander said last week that new missile systems to be adopted soon will enable the force to infiltrate any missile defense systems, even those that have not yet been established. He declined to specify the systems he was referring to.

Col. Gen. Nikolai Solovtsov said Russia is putting an average of three mobile and three or four fixed-site missile launching systems into operation every year, and that Russia would double its test launches of intercontinental ballistic missiles after 2009.

Russia will operate 48 fixed-site Topol-M (NATO reporting name SS-27) ballistic missiles by the start of 2008, an SMF spokesman said.

The SMF said previously that the system would be equipped with multiple independently targetable reentry vehicles (MIRV) in the next two or three years, adding that the new system would be able to penetrate missile defenses more effectively.

As of December 2006, Russia's SMF operated 44 silo-based and three mobile Topol-M missile systems.

Artfldgr said...

Russia to Revive Serial Production of Strategic Tu-160 Bombers
October 4, 2007

Given that strategic Tu-160 bombers have resumed their regular patrol, Russia will probably have to revive their full-scale serial production at Kazan Aircraft Production Association, Interfax-AVN reported.

“In Kazan, there are the planes [Tu-160], which construction hasn’t been completed. One of them is to be handed over to Air Force this year, the next one – presumably in a year.

Afterwards, of course, we have to resume all production cycle and revive all cooperation releasing component parts,” said Tu-160 Chief Designer Valentin Bliznyuk. “Then it will be really good support to Air Force that has sharply brought momentum to the flights of long-distance aviation.”

Non-availability of required parts and components is one of the most acute problems today, Bliznyuk specified. “Lots of component parts were manufactured at least 20 years ago.

Since then, the element base has been materially upgraded and its replacement is nearly always associated with the need to make various elaborations and hold additional tests of the aircraft,” Bliznyuk said. According to the chief designer, elaboration and upgrade are aggravated by new economic requirements that specify holding tenders for buying equipment and R&D solutions. “All this delays the upgrade of the bombers,” Bliznyuk said.

Artfldgr said...

Russia’s strategic bombers trouble quiet Europe

Two F-16 fighter jets of Denmark’s Air Force took off for an on-call mission after Russia’s strategic bombers Tu-160 appeared near the country’s air space.

Radars of the Danish air defense system detected the target at about midnight local time. “We contacted Russians at 00:18 a.m. and escorted them for 18 minutes as they continued to fly in the south-western direction. We accompanied the Russian bombers until pilots of the British Air Force intercepted them. Afterwards, we returned to our airbase,” Danish pilot Peter Melgord said.

Russian bombers have never approached Denmark’s air space so close before. Danish news agency Ritzan said that it was the third incident with the participation of Russian combat aircraft near the borders of Denmark. The previous incident took place on October 30. The Russian bombers flew 120 kilometers far from the air space of the country, a member of NATO.

Russian president stated on August 17 that Russia was going to resume the flights of its strategic aviation in remote areas. The flights were suspended in 1992. Putin particularly stated that the Russian aviation should have a new life.

The bombers will patrol the areas of Russia’s active economic activities particularly connected with sea navigation, Putin said.

The news received an extensive coverage in Western press. Many foreign newspapers and magazines wrote that Putin’s decision to resume strategic flights had brought the world back to the cold war era.

Britain’s Typhoon fighter jets took off soon after Putin’s statement: a Russian bomber was approaching the British air space. The Tu-95 bomber eventually returned to Russia.

The Tupolev Tu-160 (NATO reporting name Blackjack) is a supersonic, variable-geometry heavy bomber designed by the Soviet Union. Similar to, but more complex and with more payload capacity than the B-1 Lancer, it was the last Soviet strategic bomber design and the heaviest combat aircraft ever built. Introduced in 1987, production of the aircraft still continues, with 16 currently in service with the Russian Air Force. Its pilots call the Tu-160 the “White Swan”, due to the surprising maneuverability and antiflash white finish of the aircraft.

The Tu-160 bears a strong resemblance to the North American B-1A Lancer, although it is significantly larger, faster and with far greater range. The Blackjack has a blended wing profile and variable-geometry wings, with sweep selectable from 20° to 65°. Full-span slats are used on the leading edges, with double-slotted flaps on the trailing edges. The Tu-160 has a fly-by-wire control system.

Source: Pravda