THE RUSSIAN ARMY, 1990-2010
Unit Data for Boots, Tracks, and Rotors and Emcon C
by Mike J.
The J-8 Shop


The Russian military has suffered a massive and precipitous loss of military capabilities in the 1990s. The breakup of the Soviet Union, which left major components of the Soviet military outside of Russia's borders, was only the beginning of the slide. The economic crisis that followed, and from which Russia has yet to recover, inflicted lasting damage on combat readiness and effectiveness of the remaining forces. The sharp drop in the number and extent of training exercises, combined with the gradual retirement of older cadres, has led to a virtual "de-skilling" of the Russian military. Economic hardships of military service, combined with better opportunities outside of the military, have depleted the ranks of company- and field-grade officers. Corruption is widespread, in the form of bartering fuel and military supplies (and, in some cases, weapons), and renting out soldiers as cheap labor force. Although as a result of the mass retirement of older weapons systems, in part mandated by treaties like CFE, the Russian military is on average equipped with more modern equipment than the Soviet Army had in the 1980s, it is far less adept at using it operationally. Worse, the pace of procurement has dropped off to almost nothing, and R&D expenditures have dropped off as well. The qualitative lag between Russian and NATO militaries, already apparent in the 1980s, has widened considerably in the 1990s despite the reduced military outlays by NATO. The situation has deteriorated to the point Russia is in danger of being surpassed by China in terms of the quality of its armed forces, a process that is being facilitated by the Russian sales of advanced arms to China. While these sales are motivated chiefly by the desire to earn badly needed cash for the dying Russian arms industry (and not, as is sometimes claimed, as part of a Russo-Chinese alliance against the United States) the net result of them is a qualitative boost for the Chinese military, which is a development of considerable concern for the Russian government which views China as a potential adversary, not an ally.

Unsurprisingly, the Russian military has not fared well in operations it has conducted since 1991. The Chechen conflict has revealed the dire situation afflicting the Russian Army. The first war, which ended with a Russian withdrawal in 1996, represents one of the few cases where an irregular, insurgent force (albeit it must be noted that many, if not most, of the Chechen soldiers and commanders are Soviet Army veterans) defeated a regular military on the field of battle. The low readiness of the ground forces forced the creation of composite regiments and even battalions, scraped together out of whatever battleworthy units still existed. Even the once-elite VDV and naval infantry units have not lived up to their reputations. While the Chechen conflict is sometimes touted as a "school of battle" for the Russian Army, in actuality it only undermines its combat effectiveness by accelerating the wastage of its AFV and, especially, helicopter fleets, and drawing funds away from badly needed modernization programs.

No progress has also been made in creating a professional NCO corps, in no small part because of the institutional resistance within the Russian military which abhors the sort of "division of powers" that exists in most NATO armies between the officers and the NCOs. Use of "kontraktniki" has yielded, at best, mixed results, and these contract soldiers are more akin to mercenaries than to professional soldiers of Western armies. Transition to an all-volunteer force is unlikely due to lack of funding and, once again, institutional resistance. In the meantime, military service has become massively unpopular within the Russian society, and the quality of the conscripts has declined due to the mass evasion and the health care crisis that is afflicting Russia. Cases of suicide, death at the hands of one's officers, desertion, and even mutiny are frequent and on the increase.

The situation is even worse in the air force and the navy, whose combat effectiveness depends on the upkeep of their complex and expensive weapon systems. While both of these components remain numerically impressive, these numbers include a very large proportions of unserviceable ships and aircraft, and conceal the absence of qualified personnel to operate them. The pace of training in the air force has declined to such an extent (a fighter pilot's annual flying time is only 10-20 hours) that a pilot may reach a retirement age without reaching the top level of qualification ("Sniper Pilot"). Advanced aircraft designs like the Su-35 languish at advanced stages of development for lack of funding, and modernization of existing platforms is proceeding at a slow pace.

Naval exercises are likewise hamstrung by lack of fuel. The degree of fuel scarcity (which is made worse by pilfering and corruption) is illustrated by the fact that the Kursk SSGN rescue operation consumed nearly the entire yearly fuel allowance for the Northern Fleet. While the Navy boasts a handful of relatively modern and capable ships, such as the Admiral Kuznetsov CV and Petr Velikiy CGN, neither of the two can be considered to be fully operational. Other modern platforms, such as the Admiral Chabanenko DDG, remain in prototype form or, as in the case of the Severodvinsk SSN, are being constructed at glacially slow pace. Nevertheless, this article assumes (against all evidence) that at least a pair of each of these ships will have been completed, in order to incorporate them into the game.

Organizationally, the Russian military is very similar to the Soviet military of the 1980s, with the chief innovation being the increase in the number of separate brigades (a remnant of the stillborn transition from the regiment-division-army structure to brigade-corps one). Much of the older equipment (T-55, T-62 MBTs, BTR-70 and -60 APCs) is no longer in service, although some still soldier on with the MVD. 2S3 152mm howitzers have trickled down to brigade and regiment levels, with divisional artillery increasingly equipped with 2S19s.  It is unlikely that  many significant changes will take place by 2010, and possibly even 2020.


Ground Units

Russian Army Tank Division, 1990s
 3 Tank Regiments, 1 MR regiment, 1 Artillery Regiment, supporting units. T-80U tanks, BMP-2 IFVs, 2S19 SP howitzers. Trained, Tech 4.
Size Strength Armor Fire Support Air Defense Mobility Doctrine
5
8 (4)
III/VIs (V/VI*)
7 (3) 2
[4]
4/3 M
7

Russian Army Motorized Rifle Division, 1990s
 As Tank Division, but with proportion of Tank and MR regiments reversed. Trained, Tech 4
Size Strength Armor Fire Support Air Defense Mobility Doctrine
5
8 (6)
II/VIs (V/VI*)
7 (3) 2
[4]
4/3 M
7

Russian Motorized Rifle Brigade, 1990s
 1 Tank Battalion, 4 MR battalions, 1 Howitzer Battalion, 1 MRL battalion. Regular, Tech 4
Size Strength Armor Fire Support Air Defense Mobility Doctrine
1.5
3 (3)
II/VIs (V/VI*)
2 (4) 2
[4]
4/4 M
8

Russian Naval Infantry Brigade, 1990s
 2 Tank Battalions, 4 MR battalions, supporting units. Regular/Veteran, Tech 4.
Size Strength Armor Fire Support Air Defense Mobility Doctrine
2
5 (4L)
II/VIs (III/VI*)
2 (4) 2
[3]
4/4 M
8/9

Russian Airborne Brigade, 1990s
 4 battalions with BMD-1/2/3 IFVs, one artillery battalion. Regular/Veteran, Tech 4.
Size Strength Armor Fire Support Air Defense Mobility Doctrine
1
3
I/I (V/V*)
1 (2) 2
[1]
4/4 M
8/9

Russian Artillery Brigade, 1990s
Up to 5 battalions of self-propelled 152mm howitzers or guns. Regular, Tech 4
Size Strength Armor Fire Support Air Defense Mobility Doctrine
-- -- -- 6 (4)
-- 4/4 M --

Russian MRL Brigade, 1990s
4 battalions of Smerch MRLs. Regular, Tech 4
Size Strength Armor Fire Support Air Defense Mobility Doctrine
-- -- -- 4 (10Hr)
-- 4/4 M --


Russian SA-10 'Grumble' SAM Brigade, 1990s
3 battalions, for a total of 9 batteries and 27 SA-4 launch vehicles. Regular, Tech 4
Size Strength Armor Fire Support Air Defense Mobility Doctrine
-- -- -- -- 9 (5)
4/4 M --

Russian Attack Helicopter Regiment, 1990s
A total of 40 Mi-24 'Hind-D' attack helicopters. Regular, Tech 4.
Size Strength Armor Fire Support Air Defense Mobility Doctrine
-- 1 (0) I/I (V*/V*) -- -- 4/4 M (6A) 9

Russian Composite Transport Helicopter Regiment, 1990s
A mix of Mi-8/18, Mi-26 transport helicopters. Regular, Tech 4.
Size Strength Armor Fire Support Air Defense Mobility Doctrine
1L + 1H
--
-- -- 4/4 M (8A) 9


Air Units

 Russian Su-27 Regiment, 1990s
40 Su-27 fighters. Trained, Tech 4.

Size

Detection

Air

Surface

ASW

Survivability

Movement

Special

4 F
--
4
--
--
4 [1a]
2/4/8


Russian MiG-29 Regiment, 1990s
40 MiG-29 fighters. Trained, Tech 4.

Size

Detection

Air

Surface

ASW

Survivability

Movement

Special

4 F
--
3
2
--
4 [1a]
1/2/3


Russian Su-24 Regiment, 1990s
40 Su-24 'Fencer' aircraft. Trained, Tech 4.

Size

Detection

Air

Surface

ASW

Survivability

Movement

Special

4 A
--
1
6
--
4 [1g]
1/3/5


Russian Su-25 Regiment, 1990s
40 Su-25 'Frogfoot" attack aircraft. Trained, Tech 4.

Size

Detection

Air

Surface

ASW

Survivability

Movement

Special

4 A
--
1
0
--
3 [1]
0/1/2


 Russian Il-76 "Mainstay" AEW flight, 1990s
2 Il-76 AEW aircraft. Trained, Tech 4.

Size

Detection

Air

Surface

ASW

Survivability

Movement

Special

.2 7/7
--
--
--
3 [4]
4/8/16


Russian Tu-22M-3 Backfire Squadron, 1990s

Trained, Tech 4. Anti-ship strike platform armed with Kh-22 [AS-4 'Kitchen'] anti-ship missiles.

Size

Detection

Air

Surface

ASW

Survivability

Movement

Special

.8 B

--

--

8

--

4 [3h]

2/5/10

 


Naval Units

 Admiral Kuznetsov CV

Regular, Tech 4. 16 SS-N-19 Shipwreck SSMs (8 reloads), SA-N-9 air defense systems, Kashtan gun/missile CIWS. Air group:Designed to operate up  to 52 aircraft, a mix of Su-27s, Su-25s, and ASW helicopters. Absence of carrier-qualified pilots means the actual number of aircraft embarked during exercises in the 1990s was  around 20.  Lack of catapults permits only air-to-air missions to be flown.

Size

Detection

Air

Surface

ASW

Survivability

Movement

Special

1 [2 a]

7/8

-- [4s]

6h [2]; 1

3

C (+1)

7 [90]

 



Petr Velikiy [Peter the Great] CGN

Regular, Tech 4. The fourth and final unit of the Kirov class.20 SS-19 Shipwreck SSM, 96 SA-N-6 Grumble SAM, SA-N-9 point defense, SS-N-16 ASW missiles, 533mm ASW torpedoes, 130mm guns, Kashtan gun/missile point-defense systems, 2 helicopters.  Statistics assume a picked crew. 

Size

Detection

Air

Surface

ASW

Survivability

Movement

Special

1 [.2 a]

7/8

6  {1} [4s]

8h [2]; 3

4

C (+3)

7n

 



 Admiral Chabanenko DDG

Trained, Tech 4. Udaloy II class. SS-N-22 Sunburn SSMs, SS-N-16  ASW missiles, SA-N-9 SAMs, VDS, 2 helicopters.

Size

Detection

Air

Surface

ASW

Survivability

Movement

Special

1 [.4 a]

4/6

-- [4s]

3 [1]; 3

4

E

7

 



Severodvinsk SSN

Regular, Tech 4. 533mm torpedoes, Oniks/Yakhont SSMs.  Data  below assumes a specially picked crew, as befitting the most modern Russian Navy SSN.

Size

Detection

Air

Surface

ASW

Survivability

Movement

Special

1

--/4

--

6r [2]; 6

5

E

8n

 



Bars (NATO designation Akula) SSN

Trained, Tech 4. Armament includes 533mm and 650mm torpedoes, AS-15 and AS-16 ASW missiles.

Size

Detection

Air

Surface

ASW

Survivability

Movement

Special

1

--/3

--

5

3

E

8n

 




Mike J.
=
====
The J-8 Shop
Wargame Rules, Variants, and Orders of Battle
http://www.geocities.com/pmj6/


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