Tag Archives: Air-Space Defense

Aerospace Defense Troops

Svpressa.ru’s Sergey Ishchenko published an interesting piece on VKO late last Friday.  He wrote that Space Troops Commander, General-Lieutenant Oleg Ostapenko recently reported to the Federation Council on the creation of VKO, making it clear that Ostapenko’s branch, as reported earlier and elsewhere, will be the basis of Russia’s unified VKO due to stand up by 1 December.

Ishchenko makes these additional points:

  • The long-range missile for the S-400 is still in testing.
  • He doubts the S-500 will be delivered in 2015.
  • His interviewee believes the new Aerospace Defense Troops will get all or some of Russia’s SAM force from the VVS.
  • The interviewee thinks the S-500 is on schedule.

Ishchenko says the debate over the lead for VKO didn’t necessarily center on what’s best to protect Russia’s security, but rather on who would receive new resources and general officer billets.

The Air Forces argued they were best suited to lead it, but the Space Troops apparently argued persuasively that they were better prepared to handle Russia’s future transatmospheric threats.

Now, a quick editorial aside from Ishchenko’s narrative . . . this decision is probably a good thing for the Air Forces, which already have their hands full and don’t need more missions.  They stand to lose only some part of the surface-to-air missile business (which hasn’t always been a core mission for them anyway).  And the VVS will benefit by concentrating on their most important tasks.

But back to Ishchenko . . . he provides a fine review of the USSR’s space weapons and space defense efforts, which, arguably, met or exceeded those of the United States.  He notes President Yeltsin’s 1993 decree on creating VKO, for which no one moved so much as a finger, at least partially because of the country’s economic and budgetary predicament at that time. 

Then Ishchenko gets more interesting.  He details the danger posed to Russia by U.S. “noncontact” wars in Iraq (sic), Yugoslavia, and Libya.  These, however, are really wars of the past rather than the future, he says.  Ishchenko moves on to the threat of Prompt Global Strike.

He talks about a hypersonic bomber cruising at Mach 5-7 speeds and altitudes up to 30,000 meters, beyond the reach of Russia’s current SAMs.  Of course, IOC isn’t before 2025, but Moscow needs to start thinking today about how to counter it.  Meanwhile, the state-of-the-art Russian SAM, the S-400, is barely fielded and its extended range missile is still being tested.  Its successor, the S-500, is supposed to be ready in 2015, but Ishchenko is skeptical.

The end of Ishchenko’s article is a brief interview with the chief editor of the journal Vozdushno-kosmicheskaya oborona, Mikhail Khodarenok.  Khodarenok’s a retired colonel, professional air defender, graduate of the General Staff Academy, and former staffer of the General Staff’s Main Operations Directorate (GOU).  In the late 1990s and early 2000s, he was an outstanding military journalist for Nezavisimoye voyennoye obozreniye, but by 2003 or 2004, he left for VKO and Voyenno-promyshlennyy kuryer, both wholly owned by air defense system designer Almaz-Antey.

Ishchenko asks what Khodarenok knows about the process of creating the Aerospace Defense Troops.  The latter hems about not having access to secret directives and documents before concluding:

“But I can say that much has already been determined.  In particular, it’s decided that Space Troops will be the basis of VKO.  Although there were other proposals.  The Air Forces, in particular, proposed taking their service as the basis.”

Asked about this tug-of-war for VKO within the Defense Ministry, he says:

“And this is a beloved Russian pasttime.  In our Armed Forces, they are constantly getting rid of something or resubordinating.  What happened, for example, with army aviation.  In my memory, five times it was given to the Air Forces, then returned to the Ground Troops.  Usually then five years of complete confusion.  Billions lost.  And it all begins again.”

Asked what will be in VKO:

“The basis is the Space Troops.  Evidently, the surface-to-air missile troops (ZRV) will be transferred to them from the VVS.  Fully or partially.  This isn’t determined yet.”

Finally, asked whether Almaz-Antey General Director Igor Ashurbeyli was replaced because of problems with the S-400’s long-range missile or issues in the S-500’s development, Khodarenok says:

“Ashurbeyli’s resignation was not connected with engineering problems in any way.  Neither with difficulties on the S-500, nor on the S-400.”

“I have my suppositions on this score.  But I don’t want to share them.  I repeat:  the most important thing is that the S-500’s development is on schedule.  And this system really will very much help the country’s aerospace defense.”

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VKO Game On

Yes, it’s game on in the fight for control over Russia’s future unified aerospace (air-space) defense or VKO.

General Staff Chief Nikolay Makarov’s recent statements sound like he’s hard over on putting VKO under the General Staff’s immediate control.  But the Space Troops (KV) definitely aren’t out of the game, and even the Air Forces (VVS) – running third right now – are still in the competition to own VKO.

Say VKO falls under the General Staff, is it up to the job of running what will amount to a service or major command?  This at a time when it’s been cut back, and refocused on strategic planning?  And, entirely aside from organizing or reorganizing for VKO, there’s an issue how much a unified VKO will actually improve current Russian capabilities.  Acquiring new capabilities is a different problem altogether.

But let’s recall how we reached this point.  In late 2010, President Dmitriy Medvedev set the task of unifying the command and control of VKO under a single strategic command by 1 December 2011.  He cited this as his third major task for the military in his 18 March speech before the expanded Defense Ministry collegium:

“This year a unitary air-space defense system must be established.  It is necessary to unite existing anti-air and anti-missile defense, missile attack warning, and space monitoring systems under common command and control.  Moreover, this needs to be done not in the abstract, on paper or in electronic form, but in the context of the current situation, including the decision of the issue of our participation or nonparticipation in the system of European anti-missile defense which is being established.  It is necessary to form several large air bases, taking into account the deployment of units.  This will increase the mobility of sub-units, and allow for the establishment of military infrastructure echeloned along main strategic axes.”

Medvedev sounds like he’s saying he won’t be fooled by bureaucratic paper lash-ups or procedures.  He wants blood drawn — forces and systems taken from one command and given to the new VKO command, whatever its shape or subordination.  The real sticking point, of course, is anti-air defense assets now under the VVS.

Friday’s Rossiyskaya gazeta reported Army General Makarov and Defense Ministry Serdyukov are currently studying proposals on VKO.  But they’re keeping them within a small circle, and don’t intend to create public debate on the issue.  And the paper thinks the form and control of VKO will be revealed in the next months, if not weeks.

Let’s turn for a moment to what Makarov’s been saying.

Interfaks reported Saturday that the General Staff Chief said flatly:

“Air-space defense will be created in the General Staff, under the General Staff’s leadership, and the General Staff will command and control it.”

Vesti.ru said he dismissed the idea of the KV running VKO:

“The Space Troops are only one element of all the components of this air-space defense.”

Well, you can say that, but they also appear to have three of VKO’s four cited components.

At any rate, Makarov continued, saying VKO:

“. . . has to be multilayered, by altitude and by range, and has to integrate all forces and means that exist, but are very few of now.  We are counting on production taking off, beginning literally next year.”

He also noted:

“No one will take back those means which are now transferring to the districts [MD / OSKs].  This [VKO] will be implemented in Troop PVO.”

The chief of Ground Troops’ Air Defense (ПВО СВ) also said as much in late December.

None of this is very different from what Makarov’s said all along.

Rossiyskaya gazeta summed Makarov up this way on 15 December:

“The thing is various military structures are involved in securing the skies at present.  The Space Troops answer for orbital reconnaissance and the work of missile attack warning stations.  The Air and Air Defense Armies with the aid of radar companies and border posts inform staffs about approaching enemy aircraft.  The Special Designation Command covers the Moscow Air Defense Zone.  Air defense troops and fighter aviation cover other important facilities.”

“The system is built on the service [видовой] principle and is therefore uncoordinated.  We need to make it integrated and place it under the Genshtab’s command.”

Despite Makarov’s strong words, Rossiyskaya gazeta has been told that the leadership is still studying putting VKO under the KV’s control.  Especially since, as noted, it already has 3 of 4 of its components – PRO, SPRN, and KKP.  But, the paper thinks, no one is talking about putting SAMs (ZRK) or Air Defense Aviation (APVO) under the KV.  However, the KV might get independent radar brigades and some SAM units equipped with the S-300, S-400, and the future S-500.

On 24 March, the KV’s spokesman repeated earlier statements from its commander, General-Lieutenant Oleg Ostapenko, saying basic documents setting out the establishment of VKO on the basis of KV have been prepared and presented to the Defense Ministry and General Staff.

On 27 January, Ostapenko told RIA Novosti:

“There’s already a decision that the system of VKO will be built on the base of the Space Troops.”

It might also be worth noting Vedomosti’s Defense Ministry sources were, at least at one point, reporting that KV had the upper hand in the VKO sweepstakes.

Lastly, the VVS remains a possible home for VKO.  The Air Forces might not have much to recommend them over the Genshtab or KV, but they operate the existing VKO prototype in the Moscow region’s Special Designation Command (KSpN).

Walking Back Serdyukov’s Personnel Policies (Part I)

And so it’s begun. 

The first of Defense Minister Serdyukov’s major reform planks – cutting the officer corps from 355,000 to 150,000, or no more than 15 percent of the million-man army – has been reversed.

The Armed Forces’ officer manning level was apparently one topic in yesterday’s meeting between President Medvedev and his “power” ministers about plans to raise pay for servicemen in 2012.

Serdyukov told the media about the decision to increase officers in the Armed Forces by 70,000:

“A decision’s been taken to increase officer personnel by 70 thousand.  This is connected with the fact that we’re deploying additional military units, establishing military-space defense, that is, an entire service (of troops), and the increase is happening in connection with this.”

First, this raised some interesting questions about VKO.  Is it really going to become a service (vid or вид).  After all, the Space Troops are only a service branch (род войск) right now.  That’s quite a promotion.  And are we really supposed to believe the expansion of VKO or the Space Troops will require 70,000 additional officers? 

Of course not, it’s a convenient excuse to walk back a large part of the 50 percent cut in army officers Serdyukov announced when he launched his reforms in October 2008.

Most media outlets were pretty confused on what this means for officer numbers.  They assumed the Russian Army’s at 150,000 officers right now, just add 70,000 for a total of 220,000.  But it’s not so simple.

When Serdyukov started cutting officers, there were 305,000 occupied officer billets.  Krasnaya zvezda said the Armed Forces had 181,000 officers at the end of last year.  So a grand total of 124,000 officers were either discharged, placed outside the “org-shtat” at their commander’s “disposition,” or forced to accept an NCO billet between late 2008 and the end of 2010.  Returning 70,000 to the ranks might leave us wondering only about what happened to the other 54,000.  And 181,000 plus 70,000 takes the officer corps basically back to 250,000, or fully one-quarter of the million-man army.

The army officer corps has endured considerable sturm und drang in a little over two years all for the sake of shedding just 55,000 officers.

More on this tomorrow.

Early Bidding on VKO

2011 should be interesting on the Aerospace Defense (VKO or ВКО) front. 

The President’s poslaniye has been turned into orders, including Medvedev’s directive to unify missile defense (PRO), air defense (PVO), missile attack warning (PRN), and space monitoring systems under the command and control of a single strategic command before next December.

This issue will likely take more than a year to come to any kind of resolution.  Moreover, it’s likely to be a bruising bureaucratic battle royale over control and organization that does nothing to improve Russia’s military capabilities, certainly in the near-term and possibly longer. 

Both Deynekin and Svpressa.ru below make the point that there are real live officers who’ll get jerked around (again) by major moves in aerospace-related branches.  Konovalov wonders whether the Kremlin won’t spend too much effort against the wrong threat.

According to RIA Novosti, a Defense Ministry source says the issue of establishing this command by taking PVO from the Air Forces (VVS) and giving it to the Space Troops (KV) is being worked.  And he doesn’t rule out that “significant organizational and structural changes” could occur in the KV.  But, of course, the final decision on this strategic command lies with the Supreme CINC.

RIA Novosti interviewed former VVS CINC, Army General Petr Deynekin, who said:

“. . . the new structure [VKO] shouldn’t be subordinate to some new command.  It should go under the Air Forces, since they are the most modern service of the armed forces.”

He also warned the Defense Ministry against a reorganization which creates more tension in the officer corps.

Olga Bozhyeva in Moskovskiy komsomolets reviews the past history of transformations involving PVO and Missile-Space Defense (RKO), and concludes the VVS and KV will both end up subordinate to a new command under the General Staff.

Interviewed for Novyy region, Leonid Ivashov sees nothing new in Medvedev’s order on a unitary VKO command.  But it will be an uphill task.  He says Russia currently has practically no missile defense system.  The PVO system’s been reduced to point defense, and it doesn’t cover much of Russia’s territory.  More than anything, he sees it as a defense-industrial issue – can the OPK provide the military with new air and space defense systems?

Svpressa.ru concludes there’s no doubt aerospace attack is Russia’s biggest threat, but over the last two decades armed forces reformers have just played their favorite game of putting services and branches together and taking them apart again, and:

“No one considers the money and material resources expended, or even the fates of thousands of officers who’ve fallen under the chariot wheel of organizational-personnel measures.”

Svpressa.ru describes how RKO and the Military-Space Forces (VKS) went to the RVSN under Defense Minister Sergeyev in 1997, then PVO went to the VVS, and they had to create the KV as a home for elements the RVSN no longer wanted in 2001.  The article concludes that this kept VKO divided in half.  Now VVS and KV generals are already hotly debating how Medvedev’s new order on VKO will be implemented.

Svpressa.ru asked Aleksandr Konovalov what he thinks.  Konovalov says VKO is being created against the U.S., when Russia faces more immediate threats from countries without any space capabilities.

In terms of how a unitary strategic command of VKO might be established, Konovalov concludes:

“It’s still impossible to judge this.  I think Serdyukov doesn’t know the answer to this question yet.  Another thing worries me more.  Here we’ve created four operational-strategic [sic] commands – ‘East,’ ‘Center,’ ‘South,’ and ‘West’ – in the Armed Forces in the event of war.  And in peacetime on these borders four military districts remain.  I can’t understand how they will interact.  And it’s all right if I don’t understand.  It’s worse if the Defense Ministry itself is also ignorant.  Judging by everything, it’s impossible to rule this out.  And there are much more real enemies than the U.S. against these newly-minted operational-strategic [sic] commands and districts.  That’s something to think about.  But VKO . . .  If there’s extra money, VKO could also be created.  It could be useful some time.”

Medvedev Calls for Unified Aerospace Defense

Yesterday President Dmitriy Medvedev delivered the annual Federal Assembly address.  It was rather brief, uninspiring, and contained relatively little on the military, except his call for work on a unified aerospace (air-space) defense (VKO or ВКО).  This could be a death knell for independent Space Troops.  He also repeated his warning that an agreement on missile defense is needed, or another round of the arms race will ensue.

But let’s look from the beginning . . . Medvedev suggested the army’s modernization might help jumpstart the scientific and technical modernization of the economy.  He said the 20 trillion rubles for the State Program of Armaments will be doubly effective if they give Russia dual-use technologies that can help modernize production processes and develop both fundamental and applied research.  And Medvedev again mentioned creation of a Russian DARPA:

“Therefore we are creating a special structure which will research and develop breakthrough technologies for the defense sector.  There are such structures, you know, in other countries.  We are expecting many of them will find application in everyday life.”

There seems to be a huge disconnect between Medvedev’s almost offhand comments here and what military men expect out of that 20 trillion.  One doubts many in the armed forces see any of this funding going to R&D.  They see it going almost entirely toward procurement of existing weapons and equipment woefully lacking in today’s military inventory.  Perhaps it’s Medvedev’s way of selling (as if he needs to) these expenditures to the average citizen.  

At any rate, Medvedev then gets down to brief comments on the armed forces:

“The development of our state and society is impossible without effective support of national security and defense.  We have taken a course for a deep modernization of the Armed Forces, for conducting systemic, meaningful transformations in them.  The combat component of the Armed Forces, the combat readiness system, command and control, and material-technical support of troops have already been updated.  Our combat exercises have again become regular and, what’s of no small importance, large-scale.  Four military districts have been formed instead of six.  In the framework of the State Program of Armaments to 2020, troops are being outfitted with modern equipment.”

“What tasks still have to be resolved?  First.  In the next year, particular attention needs to be given to strengthening the country’s aerospace defense, to unify existing air and missile defense systems, missile attack warning, and space monitoring.  They should act under the unitary command and control of a strategic command.”

“Second.  Today’s Russia, it goes without saying, also needs a modern army and fleet, compact and mobile troops manned with high-class specialists and the newest weapons.  This requires both serious resources (I just stated the volumes of these resources), and new, sometimes complex, decisions.  At the same time, it is necessary to fulfill all obligations to people who chose army service for themselves, first and foremost to resolve the housing question within the planned time.”

“Third.  The army should free itself from ancillary tasks and noncore functions.  These functions need to be transferred to civilian organizations, to concentrate attention, most of all, on real combat training.  A young man only goes to the army for one year, and the program of training in military affairs is not becoming easier.  It is essential that every young man assimilate the program in full measure.”

Medvedev goes on to describe his discussions about European missile defense with NATO in Lisbon.  He repeats his warning that, if an agreement on missile defense isn’t reached and a full-fledged joint cooperation mechanism isn’t created over the next decade, another round of the arms race will begin:

“And we will be forced to make a decision on the deployment of new strike means.  It is perfectly obvious that this would be a very grave scenario.”

Is Alarm About Aerospace Defense Warranted?

In today’s Nezavisimaya gazeta, Viktor Litovkin tries to reconcile Kornukov’s and Sitnov’s extremely pessimistic views on the state and future of Russian aerospace defense with the optimistic ones of Colonel Sigalov, whom Ekho Moskvy interviewed on Saturday.  He’s commander of the 5th VKO Brigade based in Moscow Oblast, responsible for defending the capital.

Litovkin notes the retired generals’ roles as defense industry lobbyists, their defense of business interests, and efforts to acquire new orders.  And for his part, the colonel could never imagine or admit a chance that his troops won’t be able to carry out their missions.  What kind of commander would he be?

But the situation in the realm of air defense, and even more in anti-missile defense, is very complicated.  Yes, the troops of Sigalov’s brigade are ready to open fire on air-breathing enemy forces with 10 minutes warning.  But repulsing strikes from space is much more complex.  The troops simply lack the weapons systems to do it.  And this threat doesn’t exist yet.

So is there a contradiction or not?  Litovkin reminds that military men judge not just the current potential of probable enemies, but their ‘technical-technological possibilities’ as well.  And these are alarming.  According to Litovkin, many leading countries are working on ‘the problems of space weapons’ (although he mentions just China’s ASAT capability and the U.S. X-37B orbiter). 

And Russia has no response yet beyond the much talked about S-500 system, which, says Litovkin, lives now on paper only, and two (and maybe six more by some time in 2011) S-400 battalions around Moscow.  Litovkin claims the Defense Ministry will not order more S-400s after that.  Recall Almaz-Antey chief Ashurbeyli complaining on 30 April that the Defense Ministry has not signed contracts for S-400 production in 2012.

Litovkin says this might have caused genuine alarm in the two retired generals.  He speculates there could be more delays in producing missiles for the S-400 as well as for the S-500, which will need to operate against targets in near space.  Finally, he notes that, although the military doctrine contains an understanding of VKO, there’s still no Defense Ministry organization responsible for it.

On balance, it sounds like Litovkin believes Kornukov’s and Sitnov’s concerns are genuine, rather than commercially motivated.

Yuriy Gavrilov, writing in Rossiyskaya gazeta, concludes that recent talk about VKO means that Russia has to take immediate measures, or allow the distance between itself and the U.S. to increase each year.  He gives a little useful history.  Yeltsin’s 1993 decree said to create VKO, but the establishment of OSK VKO and VKO brigades amounted to little beyond changing the names of existing units, without changing their command, control, subordination, or weapons systems. 

Kornukov mentioned VKO relies on S-300s, MiG-29s, and Su-27s, and the few deployed S-400s, which still need work and rely on a single suitable missile.  All of which means, while waiting for the S-500, Russia has no real system for intercepting medium- and short-range ballistic missiles at an altitude up to 200 kilometers, or hypersonic cruise missiles.

Gavrilov quotes Sitnov:

“To develop modern systems that cover air and space, to develop new satellites for reconnaissance, and comms relay, missile attack warning, a super-modern component base, new materials, powders, new developments in the area of command and control are required.”

But that’s not all.  Gavrilov says VKO also needs one master, but aviation and PVO belong to the Air Forces, while anti-missile defense, missile attack warning systems, and control of Russia’s orbital grouping belong to the Space Troops.  Kornukov and Sitnov argue for giving it all to the VVS.

And Gavrilov says time is short.  By 2030, hypersonic and air-space vehicles, sixth generation UAVs, as well as weapons ‘based on new physical principles’ will already be in foreign inventories.

Aerospace Defense in Disarray

Retired Army General Kornukov

While Russian air and aerospace defenders were meeting in Tver last week, former Air Forces (VVS) CINC, Army General Anatoliy Kornukov gave Interfaks his opinions in a Moscow news conference.  

Kornukov is a member of a group calling themselves the ‘Extradepartmental Expert Council on the Problems of RF Aerospace Defense.’  He also advises the General Director of Almaz-Antey. 

He called aerospace threats the greatest danger for Russia’s security.  He said: 

“An attack from space decides everything now, strikes from space can be delivered to any point on Earth.” 

Kornukov thinks Russia’s aerospace defense (VKO or ВКО) concept’s been thought over long enough, and: 

“Unfortunately, there are still few practical decisions and concrete results.  New air defense systems are being developed very slowly.” 

“We, unfortunately, created a time lag of 20-30 years behind our possible enemy.” 

The ex-CINC says, although the VKO concept was approved in 2006, little has changed: 

“Years pass, but everything stays the same.  And to say that we’re ready for something now would be an exaggeration.  We can now resist an air attack from the standpoint of remaining S-300 systems.  As well as with those residual Su-27 and MiG-29 aircraft, the majority of which lack engines and spare parts.  The picture is simply terrible.” 

He also noted that new systems are progressing slowly, and are entering the armed forces’ inventory even more slowly.  He believes the Operational-Strategic Command of Aerospace Defense (OSK VKO or ОСК ВКО–the old Moscow Air and Air Defense District) can only destroy 1 in 5 targets: 

“If the reliability earlier was 96 or 98 percent, then now the effectiveness [of systems in the inventory] is in the range of 15-20 percent.  What’s meant is how many aircraft of 100 could get through without being countered.  Now about 80.” 

Kornukov recommends establishing VKO under the VVS, and under PVO specifically.  For example, he’d like the Moscow-based OSK VKO to control its own missile-space defense (RKO or РКО) formations and units.  He says: 

“Once all missile-space defense was in one set of hands–the PVO CINC.  He answered for PVO and for RKO.  Now the thinking is inexplicable:  each is dying by itself.  There’s not a person defined as responsible even for air defense.” 

“I think the correct decision would be for everything  to be located in one set of hands, and one person answering for the condition, training, employment [of PVO means]. 

He reminded the audience that, once the province of PVO, control of anti-missile defense went first to the RVSN, and now resides with the Space Troops.  Olga Bozhyeva reported that Kornukov wants RKO, specifically the 3rd Missile Attack Warning System Army to come to the Air Forces, and the latter should change its name to reflect its aerospace orientation.  He doesn’t like the idea of creating a new armed service called aerospace troops that would control PVO.  

Asked about Russia’s ability to defend against potential missile attacks from North Korea or Iran, Kornukov called the country’s capability to counter these threats ‘limited.’  He said, although the S-400 can cope with air-breathing threats, Moscow has no means for countering ‘operational’ (i.e. intermediate-range) missiles. 

Other members of the ‘Extradepartmental Expert Council’ had their say as well.  Former chief of PVO’s equipment ordering directorate General-Major Kolganov said: 

“. . . the VKO concept developed several years ago is not supported today organizationally or financially.  There is no targeted program for its realization.” 

Former Armaments Chief General-Colonel Anatoliy Sitnov says: 

“. . . in Russia they remembered about VKO only after the U.S. began to test the X-37 orbital glider.   . . . everyone’s occupied with a general assimilation of budget resources, and not at all with the development of new strategic technologies for modern space systems, reconnaissance, [and] missile attack warning satellites . . . .  This can’t come from a private businessman.  He comes to grab some budget money and sell what’s been made for scrap.” 

“We lost 300 super-technologies, primarily in aviation and air defense.  In particular, in the production of supergraphite, which is used in nose cones for missiles . . . .” 

Sitnov also criticizes poor organization for VKO: 

“There is no one to be in command, no one to command and control forces and means, no one to commission new air defense systems.” 

“It is time to move from words to deeds, to take purposeful directions and targeted programs for developing new aerospace defense systems.” 

“But we are waiting for someone to come and help us.  No one will.” 

Kornukov is an old PVO guy–albeit an Air Defense Aviation pilot; he was the first CINC of the VVS after it subsumed PVO.  Maybe he, and the others, are just shilling for Almaz-Antey to get even more from the State Defense Order.  Or perhaps their assessments are sincere.