A brigade armed with the latest Buk-M3 and Buk-M2 anti-aircraft missile systems will appear in the Southern Military District. It is expected that the unit will become part of one of the combined arms armies. SAM “Buk-M3” has already received the name “anti-aircraft guns” in the army. They are capable of detecting and shooting down targets at ranges of up to 70 km and repelling massive cruise missile raids. According to experts, the brigade will become a mobile reserve. The compound will protect not only the skies of southern Russia – if necessary, it can be quickly deployed to the Crimea or to the western direction.
In 2021, a new anti-aircraft missile brigade of the Ground Forces will be formed in the Southern Military District (YuVO). The unit will be included in one of the three combined arms armies stationed in the south of the country. Its feature will be the presence in service at the same time of divisions with complexes “Buk-M2” and the latest “Buk-M3”, sources in the Ministry of Defense told Izvestia. Earlier, military air defense units tried to equip with one type of equipment.
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As the commander of the Southern Military District, General of the Army Alexander Dvornikov, said earlier, the district is the leader in terms of rearmament rates. At the end of 2020, the district received about 3 thousand new and modernized models of weapons and military equipment. As a result, their share reached 70%. Structural reforms are not stopping either. Recently, the 19th motorized rifle division has been recreated in the south, and a missile and artillery brigade has been formed. In the coming year, several more units and connections will be added to them.
The Chief of Air Defense of the RF Ground Forces, Lieutenant General Alexander Leonov, previously reported that all new deliveries to the troops of medium-range anti-aircraft missile systems (SAM) will go already in the Buk-M3 version. The production of the previous generation variants has been discontinued.
“According to the plans, such anti-aircraft missile brigades should be in every army, but the industrial capacity does not allow to instantly re-equip everyone,” military expert Viktor Murakhovsky told Izvestia. – The brigade includes a large number of weapons. In addition to the air defense systems themselves, there are also control vehicles, logistics, repair vehicles, etc. Therefore, when new complexes are received, the subdivisional option is allowed when the brigade will have a mixed composition: some of the subdivisions on the Buk-M3, and the rest on the Buk-M2.
If necessary, the brigade can be quickly transferred to any direction. Such questions are regularly practiced during surprise inspections and strategic command-staff exercises, the specialist noted.
According to the general director of the Tikhomirov Research and Development Institute, where the Buk-M3 was developed, there are no analogues to it among medium-range mobile air defense systems in the world. This is the fourth and most modern generation of the complex. Among its main advantages is the ability to track and fire multiple targets at once.
The division of the upgraded Buk missiles, deliveries of which began in 2016, can simultaneously fire at 36 targets. Previous versions had only four missiles ready for launch. The self-propelled launcher of the M3 version has six of them. Another 12 are placed on the transport-loading vehicle, which can also fire at external target designation. This increased the number of ready-to-use ammunition several times over.
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“These are good tracked air defense systems,” Lieutenant General Aytech Bizhev told Izvestia. “They can fight all existing aerospace attack weapons. For echeloned anti-aircraft missile defense “Buk” is irreplaceable. He is also good for his mobility.
In general, such brigades are intended for the protection and defense of the combined arms army, the expert said. When troops move, they go along with the tanks and cover them from air strikes. But if necessary, the complexes are quickly assembled and either thrown by airplanes, or get under their own power to an area where political instability or the danger of a military conflict has arisen.
The missiles for them have also been upgraded. A new version 9M317M was developed especially for Buk-M3. According to experts, the range has doubled in comparison with the ammunition used on the Buk-M2, and reached 70 km. The ceiling for hitting targets has also been increased to 35 km.
But the main advantage is the high automation of the complex. It can detect, identify and engage airborne and ballistic targets with minimal human intervention. At the same time, the self-propelled gun mount is capable of operating both completely autonomously and under the full control of the battalion headquarters. During the exercises, the military regularly work out the interaction between the Buk-M3 and the air defense missile system.
Last fall, the Buk-M3 took part in an experimental military air defense exercise to create an echeloned defense against modern threats. At the training ground in the Astrakhan region, they operated under the same control together with other modern air defense systems: long-range S-300V4, short-range Tor-M2 and even Typhoon-VDV armored cars with anti-aircraft gunners armed with portable systems. Together, they created a continuous field of destruction within a radius of 3 km to 200 km.
Previously, such an operation would have been impossible. For more than 15 years, the Air Defense Forces of the Ground Forces received almost no new equipment. Priority was given to updating the air defense systems of the Aerospace Forces, which received massive amounts of S-400 Triumph and ZRPK Pantsir.
The situation has changed in recent years. The Ground Forces have recreated air defense brigades with modernized S-300V4 systems. Complexes capable of intercepting air and ballistic targets are subordinate to districts. The rearmament of army echelon regiments and units of military air defense in divisions and brigades also began.
In addition to the Buk-M3, other modernized models of air defense equipment are now being developed for the Ground Forces. Among them are the caterpillar “Pantsir-SM-SV” with an increased target range of up to 40 km, the “Ptitselov” air defense system for equipping combined arms and airborne formations and the anti-aircraft self-propelled gun “Derivation-PVO” with a 57-mm cannon. All of them are created taking into account new threats, primarily drones and high-precision guided weapons.