Wednesday, June 03, 2020

Russia dawdles on improving naval infantry equipment

via Shepard Media.
An official keel-laying ceremony is expected in the coming weeks for two Project 23900 amphibious assault ships at the Zaliv Shipyard in Kerch, as Russia aims to show it can build large warships without using foreign expertise or technologies.

The programme is certainly ambitious and its implementation by Russia is a matter of international prestige, to compensate for the suspension by France of the sale of two Mistral-class vessels in 2015.

Project 23900 does raise one pressing question: how capable and combat-ready is the Russian Naval Infantry (RNI)?

Amphibious assault ships would add the capability to carry out expeditionary operations all over the world – but in conflicts involving the Russian armed forces over the last 20 years, marines were involved mainly as ordinary motorised infantry or to perform security functions.

The RNI therefore requires new equipment to meet the demands of modern amphibious operations. Specifically, it urgently needs highly protected AFVs capable of carrying out over-the-horizon landings and providing fire support during amphibious assaults.

The current RNI inventory is a mishmash of mostly obsolete and unsuitable APCs (the BTR-80 and its modernised BTR-82A version); the PTS-M tracked amphibious vehicle; MT-LB light auxiliary tracked vehicles; T-80BVM and T-72B3 MBTs; and the BMP-2 IFV.

As the backbone AFV for the RNI, the BTR-80/82 APCs have been repeatedly criticized for poor seaworthiness. This has led to numerous accidental deaths during exercises.

The armoured vehicles available to the RNI do not meet the specific requirements of naval infantry, being almost completely identical to the platforms used by the Russian Ground Forces. Consequently, the vehicles possess the same drawbacks such as inadequate survivability, weak mine protection and poor ergonomics.

Re-equipping the RNI has been repeatedly raised as a priority by the Russian MoD, yet decisions to develop and purchase new types of armoured vehicles have constantly been postponed.
Story here. 

I thought that things had changed after Russian operations in Crimea where Russian Naval Infantry played a bigger role than they had previously but the truth is that Russian Airborne Forces have always been the preferred unit of action.

If we follow the money looks like that remains the case.

Funny thing?

The RNI could credibly claim to be more powerful than the USMC after we finish stripping our forces of firepower and become essentially a raid and missile force (won't even go into a comparison of the USMC and Chinese Marines in a few years).

Despite the fact that they're operating older vehicles they're still going to match up well with the USMC.

By holding in place they're actually moving ahead of us...especially since we're going in reverse.

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