Eastern command exercises completed

A week ago, the Russian military completed the largest spot check exercise it has conducted since 1991. The MOD has put out some information on the scale and units involved. The slides were helpfully reproduced by Ruslan Pukhov in his blog.  They are done in the usual Russian style — it’s all about how many planes flew, how many tons of equipment were moved, etc. Nevertheless, there are some interesting tidbits. Here are some highlights.

The exercise involved 160,000 personnel from all three military branches. Ground forces from all four Eastern district armies and the 41st army of the Central district were involved, including 9 infantry brigades, the 18th artillery division (based in the Southern Kurils), a tank brigade, 2 air assault brigades, a naval infantry brigade, 5 signal brigades, 2 artillery brigades, 2 rocket brigades, 1 MRLS brigade, 2 air defense brigades, 2 NBC defense brigades, 4 logistics brigades, and 2 equipment storage bases. 12,000 vehicles were activated.

The air force activated 130 aircraft and helicopters from four commands (Long Range Aviation, Military-Transport Aviation, 2nd Air and Air Defense Forces Command — Yekaterinburg, 3rd Air and Air Defense Forces Command — Khabarovsk). The specific air force units involved were the 6952nd LRA Base from Amur Oblast, the 6955th MTA Base from Tver, the 6980th aviation base from Chelyabinsk, and the 6983rd aviation base from Primorskii Krai.

Naval participation included 70 ships from the 36th surface ship division, 165th surface ship brigade, 10th and 25th submarine divisions, 19th submarine brigade, 100th assault ship brigade, 114th coastal defense ship brigade, and the 520th independent coastal missile-artillery brigade.

One infantry brigade arrived by sea, while 30 transport aircraft moved 8,500 personnel over 167 flights. 1000 reservists were involved, from Primorsky Krai. 45 field control centers were activated, most at the brigade level. 8 UAVs completed 22 flights. One of the 12 long range aviation planes failed to complete (or maybe to start?) its flight.

The overall assessment of these exercises from the military has been largely positive, though some areas did come in for criticism. Yuri Borisov noted that 3-4% of vehicles broke down during the exercise, either because of errors made by the  operators or because the equipment was old. This is not ideal, but is certainly a better statistic than in the bad old days a decade ago. Shoigu criticized the state of the communications system, noting that military communications are only 18% effective. It’s not clear what that number actually means, but it’s clearly not good. Marksmanship also came in for criticism, in part because of a lack of practice.  He was pleased with military transportation, highlighting in particular that railroad transportation functioned at almost double the allotted rate of travel (1000km/day vs 600km/day). He also noted that changes may be made to the structure of the air force, primarily by dividing up the air bases that were created a few years ago and and re-opening some of the military airports closed by Serdyukov.

UPDATE: Aleksei Nikolskii wrote to say that Shoigu’s statement on the communications systems being 18% effective referred to R&D efforts on C2 systems not producing results, rather than the systems’ effectiveness during the exercise itself.  He also notes that the actual number of troops involved was much lower. For each infantry brigade, only battalion-size tactical groups were mobilized, for other brigades, composite detachments were formed to represent each brigade. About 15,000 troops were moved by rail and aircraft (8,200 of these by air). Cooperation across military branches was problematic, with the naval infantry unit getting an unsatisfactory rating. The problems with firing accuracy were mostly among conscripts, who also were responsible for the lion’s share of technical problems with equipment.


Ground Forces Structure and Locations: Part 2

Here are the other three districts. Ground forces only for now. I also updated the locations on part 1, based on some additional sources. For Russian readers, much of this information is available on the forums at ryadovoy.ru, though there are contradictions in places. Warfare.ru also has some info, though much of what they have hasn’t been updated to take the recent structural changes into account (thus my effort here).

Siberian Military District

  • Combat formations:
    • 5th Tank Brigade (Ulan Ude, Buriatia)
    • 32nd Motorized Rifle Brigade (Novosibirsk)
    • 35th Motorized Rifle Brigade (Aleysk, Altai Krai)
    • 36th Motorized Rifle Brigade (Borzya, Zabaikalskii Krai)
    • 37th Motorized Rifle Brigade (Gusinoozersk, Buriatia)
    • 74th Motorized Rifle Brigade (Yurga, Kemerovo Oblast)
    • 11th Airborne Brigade (Ulan Ude, Buriatia)
    • 24th Special Forces Brigade (Irkutsk)
  • Missile and Artillery formations:
    • 103rd Missile Brigade (Ulan Ude, Buriatia)
    • 232nd MLRS Brigade (Shelekhov, Irkutsk Oblast)
    • 120th Artillery Brigade (Shelekhov, Irkutsk Oblast)
    • 200th Artillery Brigade (Gornyi, Zabaikalskii Krai)
  • Air Defense formations:
    • 140th Air Defense Missile Brigade (Domna or Telemba, Zabaikalskii Krai)
    • 792nd Air Defense Command Center
    • 61st Air Defense Missile Brigade (Biysk, Altai Krai)
    • 868th Air Defense Command Center
  • Engineering formations:
    • 27th Engineer Regiment (Yasnaya, Zabaikalskii Krai)
    • 60th Engineer Regiment (Achinsk, Krasnoyarsk Krai)
    • 457th Independent Engineer Battalion
  • NBC Defense formations:
    • 11th Flamethrower Battalion (Drovianaia, Zabaikalskii Krai)
    • 126th NBC Defense Battalion (Borzya, Zabaikalskii Krai)
    • 254th NBC Defense Battalion (Topchikha, Altai Krai)
  • Communications formations:
    • 50th (Territorial) Communications Brigade
    • 101st (Hub) Communications Brigade (Chita)
    • 1271st Electronic Warfare Center (Ulan Ude, Buriatia)
    • 175th Communications Regiment (Borzya, Zabaikalskii Krai)
    • 235th Communications Regiment (Kochenevo, Novosibirsk Oblast)
    • 154th (Rear) Communications Battalion
  • Logistics formations:
    • 53rd Material Support Regiment (Chita)
  • Reserve formations:
    • 103rd Reserve Base (84th Motorized Rifle Brigade) (Shilovo, Novosibirsk Oblast)
    • 104th Reserve Base (85th Motorized Rifle Brigade) (Aleysk, Altai Krai)
    • 187th Reserve Base (86th Motorized Rifle Brigade) (Nizhneudinsk, Irkutsk Oblast)
    • 225th Reserve Base (29th Motorized Rifle Brigade) (Yasnaya, Zabaikalskii Krai)
    • 227th Reserve Base (87th Motorized Rifle Brigade) (Ulan Ude, Buriatia)
    • 7018th Artillery Reserve Base (Drovianaia, Zabaikalskii Krai)
    • 7019th Artillery Reserve Base (Shelekhov, Irkutsk Oblast)

Far Eastern Military District

  • Combat formations:
    • 18th Machine Gun-Artillery Division (Goryachie Klyuchi, Sakhalin Oblast)
      • 46th Machine Gun-Artillery Regiment
      • 49th Machine Gun-Artillery Regiment
    • 38th Motorized Rifle Brigade (Yekaterinoslavka, Amurskaia Oblast)
    • 39th Motorized Rifle Brigade (Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk, Sakhalin Oblast)
    • 57th Motorized Rifle Brigade (Bikin, Khabarovsk Krai)
    • 59th Motorized Rifle Brigade (Sergeyevka, Primorskii Krai)
    • 60th Motorized Rifle Brigade (Kamen-Rybolov, Primorskii Krai)
    • 64th Motorized Rifle Brigade (Khabarovsk)
    • 70th Motorized Rifle Brigade (Barabash, Primorskii Krai)
    • 69th Independent Brigade (Babstovo, Jewish Autonomous Oblast)
    • 14th Special Forces Brigade (Ussuriysk, Primorskii Krai)
    • 83rd Airborne Brigade (Ussuriysk, Primorskii Krai)
  • Missile and Artillery formations:
    • 20th Missile Brigade (Spassk-Dalny, Primorskii Krai)
    • 107th Missile Brigade (Birobidzhan, Jewish Autonomous Oblast)
    • 165th Artillery Brigade (Belogorsk, Amur Oblast)
    • 305th Artillery Brigade (Ussuriysk, Primorskii Krai)
    • 338th MLRS Brigade (Novosysoevka, Primorskii Krai)
  • Air Defense formations:
    • 8th Air Defense Missile Brigade (Razdolnoe, Primorskii Krai)
    • 641st Air Defense Command Center
    • 71st Air Defense Missile Brigade (Srednebeloe, Amur Oblast)
    • 643rd Air Defense Command Center (Panino, Amur Oblast)
  • Radar formations:
    • 76th Radio Technical Brigade (Vyatskoe, Khabarovsk Krai)
    • 94th Radio Technical Battalion (Ussuriysk, Primorskii Krai)
    • 1889th Radio Technical Battalion (Belogorsk, Amur Oblast)
  • Engineering formations:
    • 37th Engineer Regiment (Berezovka, Amur Oblast)
    • 58th Engineer Regiment (Razdolnoe, Primorskii Krai)
    • 2463rd Engineer Battalion (Ussuriysk, Primorskii Krai)
  • NBC Defense formations:
    • 16th NBC Defense Brigade (Galkino, Khabarovsk Krai)
    • 70th Flamethrower Battalion (Razdolnoe, Primorskii Krai)
    • 122nd NBC Defense Battalion (Ussuriysk, Primorskii Krai)
    • 135th NBC Defense Battalion (Khabarovsk)
  • Communications formations:
    • 104th (Hub) Communications Brigade (Khabarovsk)
    • 106th (Territorial) Communications Brigade (Dalnerechensk, Primorskii Krai)
    • 17th Electronic Warfare Brigade (Matveevka, Khabarovsk Krai)
    • 54th Communications Regiment (Belogorsk, Amur Oblast)
    • 86th Communications Regiment (Ussuriysk, Primorskii Krai)
    • 156th (Rear) Communications Battalion (Kniaze-Volkonskoe, Khabarovsk Krai)
  • Reserve formations:
    • 237th Reserve Base (89th Motorized Rifle Brigade) (Bikin, Khabarovsk Krai)
    • 240th Reserve Base (90th Motorized Rifle Brigade) (Belogorsk, Amur Oblast)
    • 243rd Reserve Base (92nd Motorized Rifle Brigade) (Khabarovsk)
    • 245th Reserve Base (93rd Motorized Rifle Brigade) (Lesozavodsk, Primorskii Krai)
    • 247th Reserve Base (94th Motorized Rifle Brigade) (Sibirtsevo, Primorskii Krai)
    • 261st Reserve Base (95th Motorized Rifle Brigade) (Blagoveshchensk, Amur Oblast) (according to some reports, may not actually exist)
    • 230th Reserve Base (88th Motorized Rifle Brigade) (Dachnoe, Sakhalin Oblast)
    • 7020th Artillery Reserve Base (Ussuriysk, Primorskii Krai)
    • 7021st Artillery Reserve Base (Nikolskoe, ????)
    • 7027th Engineer Reserve Base

North Caucasus Military District

  • Combat formations:
    • 8th (Mountain) Motorized Rifle Brigade (Borzoi, Chechnya)
    • 34th (Mountain) Motorized Rifle Brigade (Zelenchukskaya, Karachaevo-Cherkessia)
    • 17th Motorized Rifle Brigade (Shali, Chechnya)
    • 18th Motorized Rifle Brigade (Khankala, Chechnya)
    • 19th Motorized Rifle Brigade (Vladikavkaz, North Ossetia)
    • 20th Motorized Rifle Brigade (Volgograd)
    • 136th Motorized Rifle Brigade (Buynaksk, Dagestan)
    • 205th Motorized Rifle Brigade (Budennovsk, Stavropol Krai)
    • 10th Special Forces Brigade (Molkino, Krasnodarskii Krai)
    • 22nd Special Forces Brigade (Aksay, Rostov Oblast)
    • 56th Airborne Brigade (Kamyshin, Volgograd Oblast)
    • 33rd (Mountain) Reconnaissance Brigade (Botlikh, Dagestan)
    • 100th (Experimental) Reconnaissance Brigade (Mozdok, North Ossetia)
    • 4th Military Base (Java & Tskhinvali, South Ossetia)
    • 7th Military Base (Gudauta & Ochamchira, Abkhazia)
    • 102nd Military Base
      • 73rd Motorized Rifle Brigade (Yerevan, Armenia)
      • 76th Motorized Rifle Brigade (Gyumri, Armenia)
  • Missile and Artillery formations:
    • 1st Missile Brigade (Krasnodar)
    • 291st Artillery Brigade (Maykop, Adygeia)
    • 439th MLRS Brigade (Znamensk, Astrakhan Oblast)
    • 943rd MLRS Regiment (Maykop, Adygeia)
    • 573rd Artillery Reconnaissance Battalion (Vladikavkaz, North Ossetia)
  • Air Defense formations:
    • 67th Air Defense Missile Brigade (Volgograd)
    • 1138th Air Defense Command Center
  • Radar formations:
    • 131st Radio-technical Brigade (Rostov)
    • 48th Radio-Technical Battalion (Vladikavkaz, North Ossetia)
  • Engineering formations:
    • 11th Engineer Regiment (Prokhladny, Kabardino-Balkaria)
    • 57th Engineer Battalion
  • NBC Defense formations:
    • 118th NBC Defense Battalion (Troitskaya, Ingushetia)
    • 860th Flamethrower Battalion (Oktyabrsky, Volgograd Oblast)
  • Communications formations:
    • 175th (Hub) Communications Brigade (Aksay, Rostov Oblast)
    • 176th (Territorial) Communications Brigade (Novocherkassk, Rostov Oblast)
    • 234th Communications Regiment (Vladikavkaz, North Ossetia)
    • 148th (Rear) Communications Battalion (Zernograd, Rostov Oblast)
    • 395th Communications Battalion (Vladikavkaz, North Ossetia)
    • 97th Electronic Warfare Battalion (Vladikavkaz, North Ossetia)
    • 1270th Electronic Warfare Center (Kovalevka, Rostov Oblast)
  • Other formations:
    • 32nd Material Support Regiment (Stavropol)
    • 474th Transport Battalion (Millerovo, Rostov Oblast)
  • Reserve formations:
    • 7016th Artillery Reserve Base (Maykop, Adygeiia)

New attack on General Staff and military reform

It seems that opponents of Russian military reform have launched another effort to derail it. Over the last week, a number of articles in generally even handed newspapers such as Nezavisimaia Gazeta have focused on the continuing problems with the implementation of reform. What’s more, these articles have been quite direct in blaming General Makarov, the chief of the General Staff. Given his close ties to Anatolii Serdiukov, this seems to be a direct attack on the defense minister himself.

The key figure in these reports is Mikhail Babich, the deputy chairman of the State Duma’s committee on defense. He has done two interviews in recent days, one on the subject of the recent housecleaning in the military’s top ranks and another on the subject of the state of preparedness of troops in the Russian Far East and the Pacific Fleet.

In mid-January, an MOD review commission found that the state of the Far Eastern Military District and the Pacific Fleet is poor. It didn’t help that on the last day of the review, a Su-27 fighter aircraft crashed in Khabarovsk during training. (The Air Force subsequently suspended all Su-27 flights until the cause of the crash is determined.) The goal of the review was to determine how prepared the region’s military forces were to work in the new command system implemented last year. While the final report of the review has not yet been issued, General Makarov publicly announced that the state of region’s armed forces was not satisfactory. Continue reading