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“As part of the Airborne Forces, there will be assault formations of a new type”


The Russian Airborne Forces have undergone serious reforms in recent years. In the future, they should form the basis of a rapid reaction force capable of performing missions in any region of the world. The commander of the Airborne Forces, Colonel-General Andrei Serdyukov, told Izvestia about the new type units and their capabilities, about the equipment for the “winged infantry” and about the Juncker-O parachutes.

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In the area of ​​special attention

– In recent years, the Airborne Forces have been actively reformed. What should they eventually come to and what range of tasks will they be able to perform?

– The Airborne Forces, like all the Russian Armed Forces, have gone through a series of reforms in recent years aimed at increasing their combat capabilities. The subunits receive promising models of equipment, the most modern weapons systems, as well as automated control systems, which allow commanders of all levels to quickly make decisions in any situation.

At the present time, the Airborne Forces consist of a command, airborne assault and airborne formations and military units, a special purpose formation, a “forge of personnel” – the Ryazan Guards Higher Airborne Command School named after General of the Army V.F. Margelov, as well as individual military units and specialized educational institutions that are part of the pre-university educational institutions of the Ministry of Defense.

As part of the Airborne Forces

airbornePhoto: Izvestia / Zurab Javakhadze

In addition, in the future, airborne assault formations of a new type will appear as part of the Airborne Forces, capable of independently acting in the enemy’s rear in cooperation with military units of army aviation. This will make it possible to quickly solve tasks of any complexity, including support for the actions of a group of forces.

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To date, the goal of the development of the Airborne Forces has become their improvement as the basis of a rapid reaction force with an optimal combat strength, equipped with the most modern weapons, military and special equipment.

The airborne troops must have a high combat potential and mobility, and must be able to perform tasks both independently and as part of inter-service groupings of troops (forces) in strategic and operational directions.

– What tasks did the Airborne Forces servicemen perform in the Caucasus-2020 exercise? What elements and tactics were worked out during the maneuvers?

– The formations were used as operational-tactical and tactical airborne assault forces in the depths of enemy defenses and on the flanks in order to increase efforts and ensure high rates of advance of the group of forces. The tasks of transferring efforts to threatened areas were solved by a mobile reserve as part of reinforced airborne assault battalions by helicopters.

In addition, various methods of joint actions with army aviation were practiced, as well as the transfer of artillery and ammunition to the designated area.

As part of the Airborne Forces

Helicopters Mi-28N "Night Hunter" during exercises on the offensive against a defending simulated enemy by airborne forces with the support of aviation at the Prudboy training ground in the framework of the Kavkaz-202 command and control squad

Helicopters Mi-28N “Night Hunter” during the exercises of airborne forces with the support of aviation at the “Prudboy” training ground as part of the “Kavkaz-2020”

Photo: TASS / Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation

For the first time, a parachute landing was carried out by a parachute company on a BMD-4M using the most modern means, as well as a separate airmobile medical detachment. In addition, a high-altitude landing of servicemen with special equipment was carried out from a height of 8 thousand meters.

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The landing of an experimental guided parachute-cargo system of one of the manufacturers was carried out.

– How did the joint exercises “Slavic Brotherhood – 2020” go on the territory of Belarus? What tasks did the Airborne Forces units work out? Will there be any innovations in the combat training program after them?

– From September 14 to 25, 2020, on the territory of the Republic of Belarus, battalion tactical groups from the Pskov, Ivanovo and Tula guards formations took part in the planned joint Belarusian-Russian tactical exercise “Slavic Brotherhood – 2020”. It was held under the leadership of the Deputy Minister of Defense of the Republic of Belarus, Major General Sergei Potapenko.

More than a thousand servicemen, 26 units of aviation equipment, over 200 units of weapons, military and special equipment participated from the Airborne Forces and the Russian Aerospace Forces.

As part of the Airborne Forces

Armored personnel carriers BTR-82 during the exercise "Slavic Brotherhood - 2020" with the participation of servicemen of the Pskov division of the Russian Airborne Forces

Armored personnel carriers BTR-82 during the exercises “Slavic Brotherhood – 2020” with the participation of servicemen of the Pskov division of the Russian Airborne Forces

Photo: RIA Novosti / Victor Tolochko

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In the course of the maneuvers, a build-up of the group of troops was carried out by the transfer of battalion tactical groups from the territory of Russia in a combined way. In particular, an airborne battalion with weapons and equipment was dropped from the Ivanovo-Severny airfield to the Brestsky training ground. At the same time, 20 aircraft of the Military Transport Aviation, 44 pieces of equipment and more than 500 military personnel took part in the landing. The landing range was 1.4 thousand km.

Battalion tactical groups of airborne forces coped with the assigned tasks in full. The personnel received practice in organizing joint actions to search for and destroy enemy sabotage and reconnaissance groups in the designated area. During the exercise, the units of the RF Armed Forces successfully coped with the assigned combat training tasks.

The Russian Airborne Forces, as the basis of the rapid reaction forces, have confirmed their ability to quickly regroup and successfully carry out assigned tasks in crisis areas.

Floating and landing

– Will the number of airborne units and formations that will receive guided parachutes be expanded?

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– Today, modern guided parachute systems for special purposes are supplied to all airborne forces. First of all, they are equipped with special purpose and reconnaissance units.

In accordance with the development plan of the Airborne Forces, this year the share of provision of formations and military units with modern guided parachute systems amounted to 100%. The troops were supplied with sets for high-altitude landing from a height of up to 10 thousand meters “Junker-O”, with the use of which the airborne troops were dropped on the Alexandra Land of the Franz Josef Land archipelago.

– Do you plan to expand the range of weapons and armored vehicles of the Airborne Forces?

– We are not standing still. Expanding the range of new types of armored weapons and equipment and equipping units and formations of the Airborne Forces with them is an absolute priority. But one must also understand that their development is a rather lengthy process. It can take several years from preparation, manufacturing and testing to serial production.

In 2020, the troops received about 300 units of modern armored weapons, military and special equipment (VVST). Including – BMD-4M airborne combat vehicles, armored personnel carriers BTR-MDM “Shell”, more than 100 units of various vehicles.

As part of the Airborne Forces

BMD-4M airborne combat vehicles

BMD-4M airborne combat vehicles

Photo: TASS / Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation

The troops are receiving modern parachute systems for personnel D-10 and “Arbalet-2”, the latest means of landing combat vehicles and cargo, strapdown systems PBS-950U for BMD-4M.

To increase the combat potential of the Airborne Forces, promising models of weapons and equipment are being developed and those already existing in several combat properties are being modernized: firepower, security, mobility and command control.

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The armored vehicles of the troops are capable of floating and landing and have no analogues in their characteristics. It is several times lighter than the models of ground forces equipment, but it is not inferior to them in firepower, and in speed, maneuverability and power reserve, it surpasses them in many respects. The same requirements apply to promising models.

Currently, serious work is being done to improve the artillery of the Airborne Forces. Our specialists, in close contact with manufacturers, carry out state tests of the new Sprut-SDM1 self-propelled anti-tank gun.

– What conclusions were made based on the results of the use of airborne assault units on the basis of the Ulyanovsk separate airborne assault brigade? Will such formations develop?

– Formations of a new type have the ability to be used in areas of combat designation and to conduct independent combat operations in the rear of the enemy, combining the fire of ground weapons and army aviation. The use of units on experimental models of light special vehicles transported inside the cargo cabins of helicopters significantly increases the maneuverability and fire capabilities of equipment.

As part of the Airborne Forces

Self-propelled anti-tank 125-mm gun "Sprut-SDM1"

Self-propelled anti-tank 125-mm gun “Sprut-SDM1”

Photo: TASS / Ladislav Karpov

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With the use of army aviation helicopters, airborne assault units can effectively counteract highly mobile formations of a potential enemy in various physical and geographical conditions and not depend on the airfield network. The use of army aviation significantly reduces the likelihood of hitting an assault force by enemy fire, increases the speed of movement, and increases the range of delivery to the designated area.

The formation of new type of formations will increase mobility, as well as increase the combat potential of the airborne forces.

I am sure that the creation of a new type of airborne assault formations is a long overdue trend of the times.


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