Russian General Staff Chief, Army General Nikolay Makarov briefed the Federation Council’s Defense and Security Committee today, and, according to Interfaks, he has made the decision to replace Russia’s six military districts with four that will function as operational-strategic commands (OSK). He said:
“We will propose on the base of six military districts to establish four military districts, to the commander of which all forces and means deployed on their territory, including Navy, Air Forces and Air Defense, will be subordinate. And subordinate not operationally, but directly.”
“Ground-, sea- and air-based nuclear deterrence forces will remain under the General Staff.”
“Our proposal on establishing four operational-strategic commands is now with the country’s president and I think that this issue will be favorably resolved soon.”
Infox.ru cited Makarov on the creation of three additional combined arms armies for several strategic axes:
“We conducted a careful analysis of current threats and challenges and came to the conclusion that it’s necessary to create additional combined arms armies on several strategic axes. There will be three in all.”
Makarov added that one army would be based in Chita, and six additional motorized rifle brigades will be formed to flesh out the newly created armies.
And Makarov wasn’t done . . .
According again to Interfaks, Makarov told these members of Russia’s upper house of parliament that ten combined air (8) and naval air (2) bases will be established in Russia. Until recently, the military had been talking about new “first- and second-rank air bases” that were basically Air Forces’ equivalents of Ground Troops’ brigades. This approach may have been abandoned in favor of a smaller number of larger air bases. The choice of the word ‘combined’ [объединённые] makes these things sound like they’re now equivalent to armies.
Makarov explained that Russia has 245 airfields:
“The approximate cost of using one airfield is 1 billion rubles per year. This amount is prohibitive, therefore we took a decision on enlarging air bases.”
After this change, Russia will only have 27 airfields, according to the General Staff Chief, and the combined air and naval air bases will be spread out over Russia in cities like Voronezh, Chelyabinsk, Domna (near Chita), and Komsomolsk-na-Amure.
Makarov said the goal was not only excellent conditions for fulfilling flight missions, but also for the everyday lives of servicemen and their families:
“We’re doing everything so that our pilots and their families can live in human conditions.”
Makarov told the assembled lawmakers that Russia will complete contract to buy Mistral from the French:
“Concerning Mistral, the contractual obligations are practically ready. I think we’ll buy this ship.”
“We need such a ship. In the Far East, it’s simply essential.”
He went to say, it’s needed around the Kurils which “generally have nothing to defend them.” And he elaborated:
“Earlier there was an army there. There’s no one there to cover them, we need mobile means so at the necessary time we can deliver a landing force quickly.”
He repeated his past comments to the effect that Mistral is 4-5 times bigger than Russia’s largest amphibious ship, the Ivan Rogov class.
Tomorrow it’s Serdyukov’s turn to speak to the Federation Council, so prepare for some more news.