MOSCOW, August 10. /TASS/. The Russian Defense Ministry is in the process of creating new, expanded armies.
In the Western Military District (created in 2010 on the basis of the Moscow and Leningrad military districts and the Northern and Baltic Fleets with headquarters in St. Petersburg) there has been created the 6th Leningrad Air Force and Air Defense Army. Its area of responsibility includes 2 million square kilometers of airspace and 3,000 kilometers of the state border. It is armed with Sukhoi Su-34, Su-35S and Su-30MS jets, Kamov Ka-52, Mil Mi-28N, Mi-35, and Mi-MTV5 helicopters, and S-300, S-400 and Pantsir-S air defense systems.
As the Defense Ministry’s press-service and information department said on Monday, the 6th air force and air defense army "incorporates units subordinate to the 1st Air Force and Air Defense command stationed in the 28th territories of the northwestern and central federal districts. Among them there are fighter, bomber, military transport and army aviation units and also radio-technical and air defense missile units."
Also, the Western Military District has formed the 14th Air Force and Air Defense Army, with its area of responsibility consisting of 29 territories of Russia and more than 3,000 kilometers of the state border. It is armed with MiG-31BM interceptor fighters, Sukhoi Su-24M frontline bombers, Mil Mi-8AMTSH, Mi-24 and Mi-26 helicopters and S-300 PS air defense systems. As assistant to the district’s commander, Yaroslav Roshchupkin, told TASS earlier, "the army includes units of the 2nd Air Force and Air Defence Command stationed in the Volga River area, the Urals and Siberia.
In the Western Military District the Defense Ministry plans to create a new tank army by December 1 and another, 20th combined army, will in fact be formed anew. As a senior source at Russia’s General Staff told TASS earlier, most of the units that have been organic to the 20th combined army are being transferred to a newly-created tank army and will have to be replaced by new ones.
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 Nizhny Novgorod. Other tank and mechanized infantry brigades for that army are being formed."
The 1st and 20th armies 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. Both will be armed with new generation armoured vehicles - Armata platform-based tanks and the mechanized infantry combat vehicle Kurganets.
Another tank army will be formed near Moscow by December.
"This work is already in progress," a source at the General Staff said. "Research is underway into the locations of control centres and the combat potential and strength of the units. No official documents for creating a second tank army have been signed yet, though," the official added.
Earlier, Airborne Troops Commander Vladimir Shamanov said that on the basis of Russia’s paratroops a rapid reaction force was to be created. The force would have a dual capability of operating on its own or in combination with ground troops.
"We have plans for building up the strength of our airborne and airborne assault divisions to three regiments," Shamanov said. A source at the General Staff told TASS the strength of airborne troops would grow from 45,000 officers and men to 60,000.