Tag Archives: KShU

Strategic Maneuvers

Russian General Staff Chief Valeriy Gerasimov told foreign military attachés this week that Vostok-2018 is not a strategic command-staff exercise (KShU) like other major annual drills of past years. He called Vostok-2018 strategic maneuvers.

Army General Valeriy Gerasimov

Army General Valeriy Gerasimov

Gerasimov explained:

“This is the distinction: strategic exercises, as a rule, are conducted with one military district in one strategic direction under the Genshtab chief’s leadership. Maneuvers are on several strategic directions, take the participation of several military districts, in this case the Central and Eastern military districts, Pacific and Northern fleets, units of central subordination [usually Moscow-based MOD or other headquarters-level elements — ed.], and are conducted under the RF defense minister’s leadership.”

He said the choice of maneuvers is not sensational:

“It’s nothing special, their turn just came up. This is the annual training cycle for the RF Armed Forces, and this year they decided to combine two military districts.”

“There’s no other subtext.”

The Genshtab chief said such large-scale maneuvers have never been conducted on RF territory. Closest in scale, he noted, was the Soviet-era Zapad-81 exercise in the Belorussian, Kiev, and Baltic Military Districts and the Baltic Sea.

But Vostok-2018 will be much larger than its distant predecessor. Counting all personnel in the Central and Eastern MDs, the Russian MOD says 297,000 troops will take part. Tens of thousands of armored vehicles, helicopters, aircraft, and UAVs will be used.

Gerasimov concluded:

“‘Vostok-2018’ will exceed ‘Zapad-81’ in spatial scale and depth of regrouping.”

Moscow will proclaim that Vostok-2018 is not related to current international events and situations, but these “strategic maneuvers” are, in fact, a rehearsal for mobilization, deployment, and operations in a multi-theater, if not global, war.

The “strategic maneuvers” beginning on September 11 will be a military effort not attempted by Russia. They are designed to show average Russians that rubles spent on the military (not on health care, science, education, infrastructure, or pensions) are well used. As a RUSI commentator puts it:

“Putin’s narrative for the past decade has been that hardship is necessary in the short term, enabling the resurrection of Russia as a great power. The demonstration that Russia can conduct exercises at a scale comparable to the Soviet Union is presented as proof that the privations of recent years have allowed genuine and substantial progress in revitalising Russia’s military.”

Despite the skepticism often expressed on these pages, Russia’s military has been revitalized over the past five years. Big questions remain, however.

Can Russian conventional forces really stack up with their peers (U.S., NATO, China) in the unlikely event of conflict? Will they in ten or twenty years? Is it even necessary given Moscow’s nuclear modernization efforts? Have privations in favor of the military eroded the economic, social, and political bases of Russia’s potential greatness?

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BMD-4M Update

BMD-4M

An item on pending troop testing of the BMD-4M for VDV . . . .  No, they aren’t in the force yet.  Despite the optimism expressed below, it remains to be seen if the Defense Ministry will actually order the system upon completion of troop testing.  It sounds like the designers and builders have footed the bill — 200 million rubles — for the system’s development thus far.

From this week’s Voyenno-promyshlennyy kuryer:

“Troop testing of the modernized airborne combat vehicle BMD-4M is being conducted in the course of the 98th Airborne-Assault Division’s command-staff exercise (KShU), which will take place from 23 to 28 August near Ivanovo.”

“During the airdrop of military equipment, seven BMD crews will be inside the combat compartment of these vehicles.  Immediately on landing, the crews will move out to fulfill combat missions on unfamiliar terrain in the notional enemy’s rear area.”

“An airdrop of parachute troops and military equipment from aircraft of Military-Transport Aviation will occur in the course of the divisional KShU, which will be directed by VDV Commander General-Lieutenant Vladimir Shamanov.  In all, it’s planned to airdrop 15 pallets with military equipment, including the BMD-4M.”

“After the completion of troop testing of the modernized combat vehicle, development of which Kurganmashzavod, the Volgograd Tractor Plant and other enterprises of the ‘Tractor Plants’ Concern are engaged in, it will be accepted into the arms inventory of the ‘winged infantry’ and included in the state defense order.”

“Development and production of the BMD-4M is being conducted with the agreement of the Defense Ministry at the concern’s expense.  Expenditures on the first test models amounted to nearly 200 million rubles.”