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Lee_Vincent

Armata soon to be in service.

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Russia is operating several totally different flavors of MBTs, IFVs, APCs, rifles manchine guns, etc, etc etc.  If it just picked one and said "okay, screw you T-80/T-72/T-62 etc, everything from now on is T-90 based" it'd save a lot of money and result in a force structure that was not nearly so uneven in capabilities.  While some of it is a reflection of the cold war leftovers Russia has been saddled with, it's also a reflection of the sort of dualistic pretending it's still 1989 and that mission set is both valid and realistic, while making robot guards/bearsuit body armor/not being able to figure out which more or less the same rifle it needs to buy to replace a rifle that honestly just needs a better way to mount accessories to prepare for a "future" conflict that's still pretty poorly defined.

 

More focus in equipment (with something more realistic than the Armata given the budget at hand), and a more realistic mission would likely go a long way in allowing Russia to accomplish national security objectives with less overhead and redundant capabilities, or questionable thinking.

You also haven't answered the questions that I've asked :)

First of all, everything starts with a country's military doctrine. And Russia's military doctrine is focused on defending the homeland - the largest border of all. And inside those borders, lies the largest country, with so many different landscapes and environments, one can go mad. To deal with local conflicts around those borders, there are Armed Forces. To deal with major enemy (like NATO), the only thing that can work is nuclear weapons. So nuclear weapons get the priority in upgrades. And Air Defenses that can save from enemy's nuclear weapons. And I am actually under the impressions that these are being upgraded more than the usual branches of Armed Forces.

 

So, I've asked you the question - who do they need to be better than? Like, in an immediate future. (right today?) I don't see them fighting anyone in an open conflict (contrary to Ukrainian conflict) against a country that's got a superior Armed Forces. And, given how bad they were doing back in 2008, they've still managed to defeat the superior numbers of Georgians (16 thousand Georgians vs 10 thousand Russians in South Ossetia). And their equipment was second grade even by their own standards - T-62s, BMP-1/2s, BTR-80s. So, since 2008, they've improved immensely in that regard. And keep doing that. But it's not like there's something critical is missing that they should get ASAP for their ground forces. Javelin-like ATGM is desirable IMO, but not absolutely critical.

 

Now lets talk vehicles and equipment. I do agree that having only 1 model of each type of equipment is very efficient. I very much support commonality and unification (no pun intended). But, it appears to me that you haven't really studied what are the Russian plans are for next gen stuff. There are 3 new generation armored vehicle chassis in the works, Armata, Kurganets, Boomerang. Each is suppose to be used for like 8 vehicles. Armata chassis is going to be used for:

  1. MBT,
  2. heavy IFV,
  3. repairs-evac vehicle,
  4. SPA,
  5. mine cleaning vehicle,
  6. engineers vehicle,
  7. bridge laying vehicle,
  8. BMO (flamethrower guys vehicle),
  9. heavy flamethrower system (like Buratino),
  10. heavy flamethrower loading vehicle.

So that's actually 10, not 8. You wanna keep talking about commonality? Alright. Same thing can be said about Kurganets and Boomerang, there are many roles that need to be filled with those chassis as well - command vehicles, recon, medium arty/mortars, SAM, etc. And all new gen APCs/IFVs are suppose to be equipped with the same unmanned turret (Epoch).  Ain't that a commonality?

 

AK-12 vs A-545? Yeah, that's a funny story indeed. But there's no way both would be used for mass production. I'm pretty sure it'll be AK-12.

 

Armata price? It hasn't been disclosed yet. How can one speculate on that? Especially, given that pre-mass production model costs way more than mass production model. I do agree that making a super costly MBT is stupid, but there are too little details yet to discuss it more seriously.

 

Now lets talk personnel. Many of you here seem to be too far from the reality in this regard. Russian Armed Forces are slowly moving to become almost 100% professional army. They are already more than 50% professional (Army: 295k prof, 273k conscripts - dec 2014 numbers). Each year the amount of conscripts is decreasing. While training standards are increasing. You get large scale maneuvers few times a year, since, like, 2011, where people come to unfamiliar training ranges (and not their own home ranges). You get numerous simulators, both PC based and natural-model based.

 

I do not think that conscription will cease to exist entirely in the near future, but even if professional personnel would stay at 70-80%, it's be more or less enough, IMO. Eventually, conscription may be entirely replaced by reservists force.

 

So, I'd say that your "problems" with Russian stuff are due to your low knowledge, first of all. I do not want to sound like an apologist or anything, but they are just not as bad as many of you seem to picture them.

 

EDIT:

 

Oh, and I forgot to comment regarding existing stuff that's in use. Stagler have answered on that already, but I'll reiterate.

 

Russian current MBTs: T-72, T-90. They have very high part/ammo commonality. T-80 is barely used, in like one unit, and only due to the fact that they can service them right on that spot, where all the supplies for them are situated, IIRC. They've stopped producing T-90, and just upgrading T-72 with low cost upgrades to make them on par with T-90A, to wait it out until the new MBT is ready for mass production. I don't see how you can save more money than that. That is actually a money saving solution. And what are these T-62s are you talking about? O_o T-62s were retired in 2011.

 

Russian IFVs. BMP-2 and BMP-3. There's like 7000 BMP-2s. While there's like 500+ BMP-3s. They do currently produce BMP-3s, in low quantities, to support factories/production lines. There's no sense in mass producing BMP-3s to completely replace BMP-2, because new gen vehicles  are on the horizon (heavy IFV T-15 on Armata chassis, medium Kurganets-25). And because you'll need a load of money. When they'll apear, it'll be time to retire BMP-2s.

 

Russian APCs. There are basically two now. Wheeled BTR-82A, and trucked MT-LB for mountains/arctic. Old BTR-80s are being refitted into BTR-82AM (equals fresh factory-made BTR-82A). Will be replaced by Boomerang chassis vehicles. MT-LBs are good for cross country mobility, and may eventually be replaced by Kurganets chassis vehicles (which are suppose to be light enough, if not equipped with add-on armor).

 

Guns? AK-74M, PKP, RPG-7. Everything else is being phased out slowly. AK-12 and the new 5.45 MG to follow. Should I mention M4, M16, M249, M240, M27, SMAW, M3 MAAWS?

 

Bottom line: you can't just say "that's it, we're using X instead of Y", and get the same amount of X as you had Y. That's not saving money, that's throwing them around like crazy.

Edited by L0ckAndL0ad

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I do not want to sound like an apologist or anything, but they are just not as bad as many of you seem to picture them.

 

Seems a common thing on here sometimes  :rolleyes:

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A decent article from the post...

 

http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/russias-military-is-the-largest-in-the-region-but-it-isnt-the-same-force-as-in-soviet-times/2014/03/10/b3b955b8-a48c-11e3-a5fa-55f0c77bf39c_story.html

 

Russian tankers average less than 30 training rounds a year compared to 150 for other countries.

Edited by Thewood1

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A decent article from the post...

 

http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/russias-military-is-the-largest-in-the-region-but-it-isnt-the-same-force-as-in-soviet-times/2014/03/10/b3b955b8-a48c-11e3-a5fa-55f0c77bf39c_story.html

 

Russian tankers average less than 30 training rounds a year compared to 150 for other countries.

Not really, no. Outdated.

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Not really, no. Outdated.

 

I just read the article.  Nothing jumped out to say that the information was outdated.  Having said that, nothing really jumped out to say that the info was super new either.  What do you base your  assertion that it is out dated on?

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Oh, lets see. It's of March 2014. I gave you contracted personnel numbers of Dec 2014. Oboronservis has been dealt with and reorganized. Rheinmetall didn't finish the training complex in Mulino, and Russians had to finish it by themselves. Then there are Mistrals, status of which is very well known to everyone, I guess. What else was there? Oh, the shells, yes. As the article says, head of MoD said that they need to shoot more. So they did increase the number of ammo expended during training. Don't remember where I read it, must have been twower's LJ or otvaga forums.

 

But, you see, it's not "decent" just because it's outdated. It has a certain smear smell to it. Any article with that is not decent by default in my book.

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Oh man - I just re read the date again - I skipped over it being 2014.  Oops, my brain must be stuck in 2014 or something.  Not that being a year old alone is a huge issue.  Plenty of stuff written about the US army or the Canadian army a year ago could still be quite valid if nothing had changed in those areas.  You just outlined a bunch of things that have happened in the last year.  So, yeah seems like an update to that article might be warranted.

 

Smear smell?  Your categorizing it that way seems bit off though.  If we rolled the clock back to when the article was first published I don't see how there is any smear there.  Just because someone is critical of and army does not make it smear.  

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Smear smell?  Your categorizing it that way seems bit off though.  If we rolled the clock back to when the article was first published I don't see how there is any smear there.  Just because someone is critical of and army does not make it smear.  

True. I am critical of certain things about Russian Forces as well, there's nothing wrong about it. But this one strongly focuses on just how bad stuff is with Russian military. Hell, it even mentions birth rate decline and health issues. How would you westerners treat a Russian article that's doing exactly that, but talking about NATO armies? What would be the purpose of such article? How objective would it be? One can bring up number of things, like obesity problems in the US.

 

What I am saying is, anything with that kind of smear smell about it, should be dealt with caution, at the very least. That's why I won't suggest relying on such articles and personally see them as indecent. I get that neutral journalism is hard to come by these days, but still.

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And let me illustrate my point. A person reads the article about how bad everything is in Russian military. Then he goes and says:

 


Russian tankers average less than 30 training rounds a year compared to 150 for other countries.

 

When the point of the words of the head of MoD was to confirm and address this issue, which they corrected by increasing the ammo used for training. But what gets into focus? 30 rounds. That's the message people carry around. That's how a smear works. People like to focus on how bad their enemies are doing.

 

This is how we end up with forums of people who don't know the real state of things in Russian Army. I mean, how many of people here actually knew about the fact that more than 50% of Russian Army personnel is professional, and not conscripts? As you see, and no disrespect intended, but people like panzersaurkrautwerfer come up with the ideas of how Russian army of 2015 is filled with different incompatible equipment, including loads of T-80s and T-62s.

 

People should be cautious, especially nowadays.

Edited by L0ckAndL0ad

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How would you westerners treat a Russian article that's doing exactly that, but talking about NATO armies? What would be the purpose of such article? How objective would it be? One can bring up number of things, like obesity problems in the US.

 

Ah I see.  Well for starters as an example the Canadian Army has had recruitment problems in past years.  There have been problems of housing not being up to standard.  Recruitment campaigns coming up short. Pay being too low and families having to use food banks.  Various issues like that.  And it has been reported.  I saw it as highlighting real problems that my government should pay attention to.  But in Canada the press is free to report those kinds of embarrassing things so they do when they happen.  So, if a Russian paper was reporting those kinds of problems but no Canadian ones were I would be very suspicious.  On the other hand if a Russian paper was reporting the same things as a Canadian paper that would not be an issue.  That would not bother me one bit.  It might even help embarrass our government some more. :)

 

The problem is the reverse scenario is just not available.  No Russian paper could report those problems if they were true.  So the only papers that can are from outside the country.  Which, as you say, makes people suspicious. I get it.  I think you should view things differently.  What if they are right?  Taking just one issue as an example: What if there really is high reject rate due to health issues shouldn't your government be aware of that and make changes?  There are a number of reasons that number could be that high even it it is correct.  First of all what is the number in other countries? We might find it is quite a normal number.  Another possibility is recruitment efforts are not reaching the intended target or perhaps conscripts are cooking their tests to avoid service.  Those issues are all things the government can make changes to address.  But they can only do that if they know about it.  And frankly speaking often a free press is the only thing that can prod a big bureaucratic organization to do better. 

 

So in a nut shell there is no free press in Russia so press reports critical of government bureaucracies likely be from papers outside the country. That does make it harder for you to tell if the motivation is suspect or not but I don't think you should just dump all of it into the suspect pile.

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Look, this article isn't 10 years old.  It is one year old.  It is by a fairly respected journalist in a very respected newspaper.  They are not 100% accurate all the time.  But they are usually directionally correct.

 

You have to admit the Russian Army went through some very bad times in the 90's and early 2000's.  It takes a long time to fix major doctrinal and personnel issues.  Just saying they are going to fix them is only the start.  You don't change the corruption issues overnight.  50% conscript/50% volunteer is great progress, but still a long way from being where they wanted to be.  Discharging 1M people is the way they got to the 50% number.  Now the hard part begins...recruiting the next 50% for volunteers.  The equipment is the easy part.  And most of the discussion around Russian Army development is under different economic conditions.  Most of the defense budget was/is driven by energy income.  With the price of oil bottomed out, Russia will struggle to pay the army's growth and import technology.

 

That $90B defense budget won't look very good if the economy doesn't improve.  It took literally $100's of billions of dollars a year through the 80's and into the 90's for the US DoD to transition itself to where the Russian military wants to be.  It will not happen overnight, or in 10 years.  People can fantasize all they want about fancy new tanks, airplanes, and ships, but fielding them and the people to use them takes a lot of money, time, and infrastructure.  It takes decades to put that infrastructure back in place.

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I was writing my previous while you were writing this (yeah I took a long time - lunch break)
 

When the point of the words of the head of MoD was to confirm and address this issue, which they corrected by increasing the ammo used for training. But what gets into focus? 30 rounds. That's the message people carry around. That's how a smear works.

 
Ah, that was slightly annoying but that is just sensationalist journalism. Smear would have been if the never mentioned that corrective actions were being considered.  Actually that would probably not even be smear just crappy journalism.
 

People like to focus on how bad their enemies are doing.


Actually I think that is incorrect.  I remember the first gulf war how much talk there was about how good the Iraqi army was.  I remember how the press talked it up quite a lot.  I personally was suspicious but the press were *not* focusing on how bad the enemy was they were focusing how how good they were.

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Ah I see.  Well for starters as an example the Canadian Army has had recruitment problems in past years.  There have been problems of housing not being up to standard.  Recruitment campaigns coming up short. Pay being too low and families having to use food banks.  Various issues like that.  And it has been reported.  I saw it as highlighting real problems that my government should pay attention to.  But in Canada the press is free to report those kinds of embarrassing things so they do when they happen.  So, if a Russian paper was reporting those kinds of problems but no Canadian ones were I would be very suspicious.  On the other hand if a Russian paper was reporting the same things as a Canadian paper that would not be an issue.  That would not bother me one bit.  It might even help embarrass our government some more. :)

 

The problem is the reverse scenario is just not available.  No Russian paper could report those problems if they were true.  So the only papers that can are from outside the country.  Which, as you say, makes people suspicious. I get it.  I think you should view things differently.  What if they are right?  Taking just one issue as an example: What if there really is high reject rate due to health issues shouldn't your government be aware of that and make changes?  There are a number of reasons that number could be that high even it it is correct.  First of all what is the number in other countries? We might find it is quite a normal number.  Another possibility is recruitment efforts are not reaching the intended target or perhaps conscripts are cooking their tests to avoid service.  Those issues are all things the government can make changes to address.  But they can only do that if they know about it.  And frankly speaking often a free press is the only thing that can prod a big bureaucratic organization to do better. 

 

So in a nut shell there is no free press in Russia so press reports critical of government bureaucracies likely be from papers outside the country. That does make it harder for you to tell if the motivation is suspect or not but I don't think you should just dump all of it into the suspect pile.

Not true. Would I be correcting the article if it was? We're talking about the head of MoD coming out and saying "yeah, we're not doing enough in training, we need to do better", are we not?

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Look, this article isn't 10 years old.  It is one year old.  It is by a fairly respected journalist in a very respected newspaper.  They are not 100% accurate all the time.  But they are usually directionally correct.

Oh, actually, I've been very fond of BBC for the past year. I considered them to be neutral. That opinion has changed recently.

 

Let me make myself clear. Criticism is good. I did not say that the article was a smear or false. I said it had that certain smell, and that's it's already outdated. I do not think that articles like that can help people getting a good idea about the state of the Russian Armed Forces. And seeing quite a few statements about Russian Armed Forces that are far from reality, I realize that I have to keep caution people about what they read.

 

Can we get back on track here now?

Edited by L0ckAndL0ad

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First photos of Armata (covered, on railroad platform)

http://icdn.lenta.ru/images/2015/03/23/20/20150323203939590/pic_9b8904dd957d7435422c17600ab57c67.jpg

Link to news record (Russian): http://lenta.ru/news/2015/03/23/armata/

Chassis seen on phot have 7 wheels.

Welp, now we're talking. Something. Kinda.

 

There's a higher (kinda) res picture:

 

Hv3ML5JLhHY.jpg

 

Khlopotov says that it appears that the turret is facing backwards, and that the side armor plates are taken off.

Edited by L0ckAndL0ad

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Welp, now we're talking. Something. Kinda.

 

There's a higher (kinda) res picture:

 

Hv3ML5JLhHY.jpg

 

Khlopotov says that it appears that the turret is facing backwards.

 

Backwards facing turret is quite usual for transportaion of tanks. What surprises me a lot is overall height of tank. Unless there is some suprestructure to conceal actual form of turret, tank is suspiciously too high. I expected unmanned turret to reduce height of tank.

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The height does not surprise me at all. It should be high enough to be functional. Optics should be able to reach certain level. Then there are antennas, meteo station masts, etc. And if it indeed has some kinda 2nd and 3rd medium caliber weapon, it has to be put somewhere too.

Edited by L0ckAndL0ad

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The height does not surprise me at all. It should be high enough to be functional. Optics should be able to reach certain level. Then there are antennas, meteo station masts, etc. And if it indeed has some kinda 2nd and 3rd medium caliber weapon, it has to be put somewhere too.

 

Still I bet on camouflaging suprestructure to hide actual turret form and details.

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Nice pic! Is Kurganets amphibious?

Yep. Base model is suppose to be light. Additional protection comes from add-on armor. Note the frontal moving "knife-plate" similar to the one on BMP-3. It sticks out on the sides.

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