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Analysts: Russian army shows qualitative growth

December 14, 2015, 21:36 UTC+3 Zamyatina Tamara
© Alexander Alpatkin/TASS

MOSCOW, December 14. /TASS/. The Russian armed forces’ fast qualitative buildup will guarantee the country’s security for years ahead, polled experts have told TASS.

At last Friday’s enlarged board meeting of the Russian Defense Ministry, attended by the commander-in-chief, President Vladimir Putin, Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu reviewed the latest achievements of Russia’s air group in Syria in its operations against the terrorist organization calling itself the Islamic State. Over the past two months Russian warplanes flew about 4,000 sorties to wiper out eight thousand IS targets. The damage to the terrorists was described as "significant."

Shoigu said Russia’s nuclear triad — strategic aircraft, inter-continental ballistic missiles and nuclear powered submarines — are armed with up-to-date weapons 55%. 95% of strategic nuclear missile launches are in a state of permanent combat readiness. The number of drones, crucial to ground operations, has been increased from 180 to 1,720. The Russian Armed Forces continue to be armed with latest generation weapons.

The chief of the Military-Political Studies Center at the Foreign Ministry’s Moscow state institute of international relations MGIMO, Alexey Podberyozkin, believes that the creation of the Aerospace Force in 2015 was one of the greatest achievements of the Russian Armed Forces of late. "The Aerospace Force emerged not just as a result of merger of the Air Force and Aerospace Defense Force, but through the qualitative reorganization and upgrade of both structures. Now they boast newly-launched space satellites and fifth-generation fighter-planes that only Russia and the United States have at their disposal," Podberyozkin said.

Russia’s nuclear triad undergoes systematic upgrade. Russia’s fleet of strategic aircraft has been complemented with newly-built Tupolev-160, Tupolev-95MS and Tupolev-22M3 bombers. Two nuclear missile submarines — The Aleksandr Nevsky and The Vladimir Monomakh — are in a state of permanent combat readiness. More nuclear-powered submarines are being built. The sea-launched intercontinental ballistic missile Sineva having a range of 8,300 kilometers has undergone successful testing. Solid propellant inter-continental multiple warhead-armed ballistic missiles Yars — both mobile and silo-based — continue to be manufactured.

"It is noteworthy that the Russian armed forces are equipped with advanced radio-electronic warfare equipment, in some respects surpassing its US counterparts, and also attack drones," Podberyozkin said.

As a successful example of efforts to upgrade Russia’s defense industries Podberyozkin mentioned the Almaz-Antey concern. "Just recently — 7-10 years ago — Almaz-Antey was falling apart and operating at a loss. By now the concern has built manufacturing shops the size of several football pitches, all equipped with cutting-edge machinery and tools. Once a debtor, Almaz-Antey is now among the industry’s leaders and in the world’s top ten weapons manufacturers."

Almaz-Antey’s air defense systems S-300 and S-400, as well as the newest system S-500, still in the testing phase, are unparalleled in the world. The waiting list of potential customers eager to acquire these weapons is full for ten years ahead," Podberyozkin said.

In his opinion in their current condition Russia’s armed forces are one of the world’s best and can reliably guarantee the country’s national security.

The head of the International Security Centre under the Russian Academy of Sciences, Aleksey Arbatov, sees the main parameter of qualitative growth in the Russian armed forces not in the newest equipment, but in the human factor.

"The share of military personnel serving under contract grew by 10% over the past year to 325,000. The need for having more contract servicemen than conscripts has been discussed for the past 25 years. The goal has now been achieved for the first time. Sophisticated weapons require qualitatively new personnel. In contrast to conscripts contract servicemen are professionally motivated. If they prevail in the armed forces, society’s attitude to the armed forces will change and enhance its morale and combat potential," Arbatov told TASS.

According to a poll by the Public Opinion Fund the number of those who believe the army is not just being revived but begins to display its best features has grown eleven-fold over the past 8-9 years. According to the national public opinion studies centre VTsIOM, 86% of Russians in 2015 said that the army would be able to defend them from a military threat.

TASS may not share the opinions of its contributors