It's the article of Lieutenant General Vladimir Shamanov, the Chief ot the Main Combat Training and Service Directorate of the Armed Forces of the
-> Vladimir Shamanov - Chief ot the Main Combat Training and Service Directorate of the Armed Forces of the
, Lieutenant General Russian Federation
The training year Aat has just begun is undoubtedly special for the Russian Army because combat training will take place during the transition to a new organizational structure of the Armed Forces. In 2009, units and large units will be trained according to an interim combat training program prepared with due account for the scope and time frame for their organization and establishment reforming activities.
Jointly with combat training bodies of services and branches of the Armed Forces, the RF MoD's Main Combat Training and Service Directorate is to prepare new combat training programs according to which the training of troops under a new organizational structure will begin on December 1, 2009. Another feature of this year is a steady growth in funds allocated for the army training, which helps efficiently solve problems related to fuel and ammunition supplies. In addition, following a thorough analysis of results of the peace enforcement operation in
in August 2008, current plans for equipping the Armed Forces with new armament and military equipment will be updated. Georgia
The previous training year saw several large-scale exercises of the Armed Forces involving units, large units, and HQ elements. Most significant of them was an operational-strategic exercise codenamed Tsentr 2008 (Center 2008) with participation of Volga Ural Military District's troops, units of services and branches of the Armed Forces, as well as military units of
's Armed Forces. Summing up results of the previous training year, Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov noted that the opportunity to employ so many forces and facilities within a single combat training event had appeared for the first time in the past thirty years. Kazakhstan
Last year, the efficiency and level of combat training were tested in real combat during the peace enforcement operation in
. Highlights of the operation include a «test by fight» and the accumulation of actual experience in employing the troops. Assessing the results of our units' actions during the operation, it is necessary to state that despite the low rate of army reequipment with new materiel, the combat training system has proved to be acceptable in general and the troops have shown a high level of combat readiness. This was the decisive factor entailing the defeat of Saakashvili's regime in the five-day war. Airborne units, army aviation and the Black Sea Fleet's task force were praised. Motorized rifle, tank and front-line aviation units turned out a bit less effective. Georgia
At the same time, the operation exposed some weaknesses in establishing control, while recon units often provided scarce data about the enemy. It clearly showed that our army aviation desperately needed aircraft. In addition to powerful weapons, air defense and reconnaissance capabilities, a battle group commander must have facilities to quickly transfer troops to a required area and sector to fight effectively. Military transport aviation is the facility for the operational level, while army aviation, i.e. helicopters, is used at the tactical level. We were able to lift a great number of battalion tactical trooper groups to the conflict area within two days thus quickly increasing manpower in the South Ossetian and Atohazian sectors, owing to the capabilities of our military transport fleet inherited from the Soviet Army. However, our army aviation fleet turned out clearly insufficient for mobile fighting, which was a negative factor restricting the pace of advance.
If at least two full-fledged army aviation regiments equipped with combat-ready helicopters had been used in the South Ossetian sector, then attack helicopters could have effectively supported our peacekeepers, while airborne units could have intercepted the basic routes of advance of Georgian all-arms columns and inflicted fire damage to them at the approaches to Tskhinval. For the same reason - shortage of our helicopter fleet - jammer helicopters were not used in the initial phase of actions in the South Ossetian sector to suppress Georgian air defenses. The result is known: in the first days of war the Georgian air defenses shot down several our planes using Ukrainian-made SAM systems. However, there were no aircraft losses in the
Abkhazian sector where at an air base in Senaki alone airborne units seized a Buk SAM battery. The secret is simple: jammer helicopters started operating right after the beginning of actions thus preventing the effective operation of enemy air defenses.
Experience of the peace enforcement operation in
has shown the necessity of achieving qualitatively new characteristics of the entire system of armaments. To this end, tactical level C2 and operational reconnaissance capabilities need improvement. Moreover, the two components should be integrated with field artillery fire control systems and tank units. This is the world trend of future warfare involving combined arms units so we can no longer use outdated combat methods when building the competitive Land Forces. Even Georgian trophy tanks seized in sufficient numbers in the attack areas of both battle groups included components of an Israeli-made integrated weapon system of this kind. Using a group of aircraft (including reconnaissance UAVs) and operational reconnaissance facilities such systems allow an almost automated target assignment to weapons on the battlefield. Fortunately, the Georgian tankmen failed to take advantage of the system due to their poor training. The Russian industry has developed similar products, and their prompt introduction is another priority in the reequipment of our army. Georgia
The need to develop a new integrated identification friend-or-foe (IFF) system and its installation not only on planes and helicopters, but also on ground vehicles is critical. After all, all our neighbors - former
Soviet Union republics and socialist countries - are still equipped with Soviet-made weapons carrying the same IFF system that we use. Moreover, their tanks and aircraft look like ours. How then will one distinguish between «friends» and «foes» in combat when each second costs much? In addition, the newly developed IFF system should be able to identify the enemy in no time, which is dictated by the swift nature of modern combat.
Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) - first of all scout drones able to effectively conduct reconnaissance without exposing the reconnaissance personnel to danger - must enter service with our units in the near future. As to the performance of domestic UAVs, despite long development efforts undertaken by a variety of enterprises engaged in this area, all available UAVs still fail to meet the requirements as was demonstrated by their use in
South Ossetia as well. The Defense Minister's opinion about using UAVs and equipping troops with all required facilities is extremely clear: if the national industry is unable to offer our Armed Forces a competitive product, we shall buy it from foreign manufacturers. So, there should be no surprise for the national developers not responding to the needs of troops when they find out that, for instance, Israeli recon UAVs entered service with the Russian army. The Defense Minister has tasked the General Staff, heads of central military administration bodies, main commands of services of the Armed Forces and commands of branches of the Armed Forces to carry out detailed analysis of our industry's production capabilities. And if today's industry capabilities give no way to develop this or that item of armament or military equipment meeting modern requirements, they should analyze a possibility of purchasing a similar item from foreign manufacturers. For instance, we are currently buying thermal imagers for armored vehicles and aircraft in France and . Of course, it is important for us to support local manufacturers. However, top priority in the Ministry of Defense's procurement policy - and the Minister has emphasized this -will be the need to supply fighting units with all requisite items to effectively conduct combat and win it. This reason seems rather obvious, but I'll give you another vivid example. In the same Abkhazian sector, Israel 's Israeli-made UAVs regularly flew above the positions of our troops. In most cases we were forced to be reconciled to this. Shooting down such an UAV by the Buk SAM system is too expensive, while the Strela MANPADS cannot lock-on it because infrared radiation emitted from such a UAV is too low. As for the basic air defense weapon of airborne teams, the ZU-23-2 AA gun, the UAVs flying at altitudes of around Georgia 3,000 m were simply beyond its range.
Unfortunately, I should admit that the outfit of Georgian soldiers and their modern individual fighting equipment has shown our backwardness. Specifically, the so-called battlefield kit for both troopers and infantrymen needs a radical improvement. Armor and fighting load vests from different manufacturers poorly match each other, while ancient clam shovels impede the soldier to move across the battlefield. At the same time, you can easily buy a similar but convenient hand-held foldable shovel in any hunting shop! Or another example: after the peace enforcement operation in Georgia I showed the Chief of the General Staff a US-made individual device used by Georgian infantrymen to mark their own front line. It is a small flashlight which, if lifted above head, is easily seen by friendly planes and helicopters flying from the rear area, while remaining invisible from the front side. At war, such a device is desperately needed: a strike or army aircraft pilot attacking the forward line of enemy troops at night will easily see friendly positions. Our Armed Forces use so-called orange smoke flares for the same purposes thus showing the enemy our forward edge's outline.
Our troops have been equipped with the Kalashnikov assault rifle for over 60 years. Presently, however, small arms of each soldier should be fitted with a sighting unit allowing effective fire both day and night. Cumbersome field glasses and R-159 and R-160 heavy tactical radios ineffective in combat are still in service. Batteries of these radios that lose capacity too quickly were a problem as early as the Afghan war (1980s), but they have never been replaced in troops.
Four years ago the Main Combat Training Directorate was vested with ordering functions and could directly influence the procurement of equipment and weapons necessary for troops. Being finalized is the issue of setting up a coordinating council, which will be affiliated to the first deputy defense minister and determine the scope of armaments and soldier fighting equipment required for the Armed Forces, Naturally, the Main Directorate responsible for training the troops and, thus, making them ready for war should play a leading role in the council. Only then our recommendations will form the basis for not only procurement, but also for requisite R&D.
As part of efforts to restructure the training range system, we have drawn up a plan envisaging the reduction in the number of ranges from 296 to 163. The decision on its implementation will be made by the Defense Minister before long. In this regard may I note that reduction in the number of ranges will favor the quality of combat training: having got rid of scarcely used ranges, the maintenance of which costs much money every year, our units and large units will get an opportunity to properly equip gunnery ranges that are really needed for combat training.
Last year efforts were launched throughout the Armed Forces to fulfill Defense Minister's Order #400, which specified requirements for rewarding the best officers of the Armed Forces with money.
The basic category of officers eligible for reward includes the tactical-level military. Criteria used to
select the best officers in the training year of 2008 included: a high level of individual training and model behavior of the officer, results of the accomplishment of training tasks by units and large units, results of overall inspection in 2008, and performance indicators achieved in exercises and trainings at various levels. An accurate account of the officer performance results has made the process objective.
According to last year's results, the officers to be rewarded with money during 2009 will get monthly allowance as follows: platoon commander - 35,000 to 60,000 rubles, general commanding officer -110,000 to 150,000 rubles.
In general, the accomplished work suggests that the measures taken to reward the best officers with money will considerably enhance competence motivation among officers, increase the prestige of military service, and create a foundation for stabilizing the structure of officer teams during transition to a new organization of the Russian Armed Forces. The task of establishing a competitive environment is coming into the foreground.
Preliminary analysis shows that basing on the results for 2008, it is necessary to concretize approaches to follow-up activities on rewarding officers with money. The necessity of adjustment is primarily caused by the specifics of tasks handled by officers. Along with the participation in combat training, active service and combat alert, in 2009 there will also be activities related to transfer of armament, military equipment and materiel stocks, accompaniment of military cargoes and many other issues which are commensurable in intensity with the accomplishment of tasks stipulated by the existing order.
With a transition to a new organizational structure of troops, the strength of personnel in the Land Forces will change in 2009: the number of platoon, company, and battalion commanders will increase, while the number of deputy company and battalion commanders and equivalents, as well as regiment control officers will simultaneously decrease. Similar changes in the strength by basic officer categories will take place in other services and branches of the Armed Forces.
Given the experience of 2008, reducing the posts of deputy company and battalion commanders allows expanding the categories of officers eligible for reward. Under review is the issue of adding to the list the officers of engineer, EW, NBC defense and railway units and also Air Force's maintenance personnel previously not taken into account.
Considering the growing importance and intensity of efforts in training the technicians for permanent readiness units and large units, it is essential to add district-level training centers as well as service and branch training centers to the list.
I would like to mention the officers who have been enrolled in
Service Academies and the . They are the best officers, and by the time of their entry in the academies they had served 10 months in troops. I think they are worthy of encouragement, the more so this will boost the aspirations among officers to be the best and also will socially support their families during the education period. General Staff Academy
The issue of including officers of operational and operational-strategic commands into the list of categories eligible for reward should also be considered.
Today it is important to prevent outflow of the cadre officers rewarded with money for their 2008 results. To this end, as part of the efforts for transition to a new structure of the Armed Forces, it is necessary to ensure priority review of their appointment to posts in new structures of units, large units, and military control elements. Individual work with them should be started, including the explanation of the fact that they are the focus of attention among not only their colleagues, but the public as well. Each of the officers rewarded with money should understand that whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required. Field work should be focused on raising the authority of this category of officers, making them an example for others. Their active involvement in training as instructors supporting military unit commanders must become a rule.
Coming back to the list of combat training objectives in 2009,1 would like to note that the troops training process will feature deeper changes in the organizational structure of services and branches of the Armed Forces. The Land Forces will switch to a three-tier command and control system: military district -semistrategic command - brigade. Accordingly, the combat training system will be built in a new manner.
In line with the priority of efforts to switch to a new configuration of the Armed Forces I shall provisionally single out four categories of units and large units.
Category 1 - units and large units that will retain their structure and will not change their deployment sites. They are to switch to the tables of organization and equipment before February 1, 2009. Their combat training will be conducted in full cycle. If the units are staffed by contract servicemen, this will be a year-long cycle, with two weeks of control sessions between winter and summer training periods. For military units manned by a mixed principle, i.e. involving both conscripts and contract soldiers, training sessions and exercises will be conducted according to a five-month combat training program.
Category 2 - units and large units to be reformed before June 1. Until their transition to a new structure is completed, only individual combat training will be conducted. And starting from June 1 they will begin a five-month teamwork development phase followed by company and battalion tactical exercises and, subsequently, a brigade tactical exercise.
Category 3 includes units and large units that are to change their deployment sites, move from several small towns to one, transport large quantities of materiel, armament and ammunition, and also make organization and establishment changes. Their reforming is to be completed by December 1, 2009. Relying upon the calculations by district, operational command and large unit HQs, military district commanders are instructed to determine the schedules stipulating the time when these units and large units will be engaged
in individual combat training or reforming activities.
And, finally, Category 4 of units and large units - participants in large-scale exercises scheduled for 2009: Kavkaz 2009, Osen 2009, Zapad 2009, and Ladoga 2009. Combat training of these units and large units will be organized with account for scope and objectives of organization and establishment changes, with mandatory platoon and company teamwork development, battalion-level tactical exercises, and mandatory field exercises of air defense and special units.
By March 1, it is scheduled to complete new combat training programs for the Land Forces, Airborne Troops and Coast Guard Force. Basing on these programs, work on combat training methods for services, branches and special troops will be completed by September 1. Training of the Armed Forces according to new combat training programs tailored to a new army organization is to begin on December 1, 2009.
National D E F E N 8 E <
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