On Monday, Voyennoye obozreniye took a look at the VDV and their rearmament needs. It notes they’ve received virtually nothing new since the USSR collapsed, and what new equipment has arrived came in small amounts.
The composition of the VDV has shrunk from 65,000 personnel in seven divisions to about 35,000 in four divisions (Novorossiysk, Tula, Ivanovo, and Pskov) today. Its airborne combat vehicles include BMD-1, BMD-2 Budka, BMD-3 Bakhcha, and BMD-4 Bakhcha-U, armored personnel carriers include BTR-RD Robot and BTR-3D Skrezhet.
Here’s a RenTV video about the Bakhcha and Bakhcha-U.
Artillery includes ASU-57, ASU-85, 2S9 Nona-S, 2S25 Sprut-SD, and howitzers 2A18 D-30 and 2A18M D-30A.
In January 2007, then VDV Commander, General-Colonel Aleksandr Kolmakov said the troops would soon be getting BMD-4, 2S25 Sprut, BTR-D3 Rakushka, KamAZ-43501, D-10 and Arbalet parachutes, and new infantry and special weapons. In 2010, the Defense Ministry reportedly said it was buying Italian-made IVECO LMV combat vehicles for its “winged infantry.”
According to VO, the press says VDV has gotten more than 300 BMD-4 since they were accepted for service in 2004. The BMD-4M, however, basically remains in testing, and only 10 of them are being used in the VDV. Its future with the airborne troops might be in doubt. Last December, VDV air defense sub-units got their first Strela-10M3 self-propelled anti-aircraft systems. They will replace aged ZU-23-2 anti-aircraft guns.
VO concludes the VDV need to reestablish both their air and ground mobility. VTA has degraded and can’t support airborne operations large enough to seize and hold strategic or tactical objectives in enemy rear areas, or to destroy enemy government and military command and control systems:
“As it was in the USSR, so it is in the RF, airborne troops are really used like the best trained motorized rifle units — for example in Chechnya, Ossetia.”
For off-road mobility, VO says VDV need Tigr, Vodnik, dune buggies, and ATVs.
It argues VDV divisions need their own fixed- and rotary-wing aviation, including multipurpose, transport, strike, and reconnaissance aircraft and UAVs.
The missions of the VDV need to be formulated like Spetsnaz, so they aren’t used like regular infantry.
Finally, VO says the VDV need to be fully professional, with career personnel, and pay twice the country’s median wage. It can’t be done with today’s contractees who are mostly lazy and drunk, but this is the fault of the army’s reformers, according to VO.
Then, VO concludes, the VDV would be a real elite of the Russian Army.