MOSCOW, July 29. /TASS/. The Russian Defense Ministry plans to create a new tank army in the Western Military District by December 1 and another, combined army, will in fact be formed anew, a senior source at Russia’s General Staff has told TASS.
"According to a directive of the chief of the General Staff, the 1st Guards Tank Army and 20th Guards Combined Army are to be formed within the western military district by December 1, 2015," the source said.
Major-General Alexander Chaiko has been appointed commander of the 1st Tank Army. Before, he was in charge of the 20th Army. The latter’s new commander is Major-General Sergey Kuzovlyov (previously chief of staff of the 58th Combined Army).
"The staffs of both armies have been formed. They are located in Bakovka, the Moscow Region, and in Voronezh respectively," the source said.
He explained that the existing 20th army will in fact be formed anew. A large share of its units will be transferred to the yet-to-be formed tank army. New ones will be formed in their place.
According to the source, the 1st Tank Army will incorporate the Tamanskaya Mechanized Infantry Division and the Kantemirovskaya Tank Division, as well as the 27th Sevastopolskaya Mechanized Infantry Brigade and the 6th Tank Brigade.
"Reformatting the 20th Combined Army, which has been stripped of most of its combat units is a more complex task," the source said. "At the moment it has incorporated the 9th tank brigade in Nizhni Novgorod. Other tank and mechanized infantry brigades for that army are being formed."
There will be no great difference in the make-up of the 1st and 20th armies. Each will have one reconnaissance and one air missile brigade, as well as a logistics brigade, missile and artillery units a helicopter regiment and other units, including reconnaissance and attack drone units. The tank army will have more tanks and the combined army, mechanized infantry combat vehicles.
The 1st Guards Tank Army, which Russia is establishing, and the newly-formed 20th Combined Arms Army will be the first to receive the newest Armata tanks and Kurganets infantry fighting vehicles, a high-placed source in Russia’s General Staff told TASS on Wednesday.
"During 2016-2017, work will begin to rearm the 1st Guards Tank Army and the 20th Guards Combined Arms Army with the newest armor. In particular, the operational tanks will be replaced with Armata tanks. These armies will also be the first to receive the Kurganets IFVs," the source said.
The new Tank Army is expected to be formed near Moscow by winter. The existing 20th Combined Arms Army will be formed anew also by this time and most of its units will be assigned to the new force.
Armata tanks and Kurganets IFVs were demonstrated at the Military Parade in Red Square in Moscow on May 9 devoted to the celebration of the 70th anniversary of the Soviet Union’s Victory over Nazi Germany in World War Two.
Russia is expected to start the serial production of Kurganets IFVs in 2017 and Armata tanks in 2017-2018.