Yaroslav Vyatkin has offered his view of the Russian military’s year in Argumenty nedeli. He sees some of the same roadblocks as Stepanov below, but he also provides a list of what defense industry may have delivered to the armed forces this year.
He begins by describing how the five-day war with Georgia and unready Russian forces led to the decision to concentrate a large, but skeletal, ground force structure into 85 permanent readiness brigades. He believes several years are needed to make these brigades more than ‘half-finished.’
However, not everything planned has been done. Contract service failed, providing less than half of the soldiers promised, according to Vyatkin. Likewise, the current professional sergeant corps program is slipping. This year’s premium pay initiative had to be modified, because of dissension and jealousy in the ranks, to cover all officers in the best units. Vyatkin also notes that, in the RVSN, Spetsnaz, and units stationed abroad, every officer will get the premium on a non-competitive basis.
Military reform has not been easy; there are unhappy officers and warrants who had to relocate or got dismissed, and personnel have often been treated like cogs in the military machine.
On the positive side, Vyatkin expects Russia’s 5th generation fighter, the T-50, to fly in matter of days now. He offers his count of the results of defense production for 2009: 6 mobile and 3 silo-based SS-27/Topol-M, a battalion’s worth of new RS-24 ICBMs, for a total of 20 strategic missiles, new aircraft including 3 Su-34SM (sic?), 9 Yak-130, 16 Mi-28N, and 2 Ka-52, 82 new T-90A1 tanks, 50 BMP-3, 200 other armored vehicles, 150 BMD-2 and BMD-4, and for the Navy, Neustrashimyy-class frigate Yaroslav Mudryy, and one submarine (maybe the Sankt-Peterburg, Nerpa, or Yuriy Dolgorukiy). Who knows which one is being counted.