Let's break this tradition today and try (at least partially) to sum up the results of the military operation in Syria. Naturally, it is impossible to claim a comprehensive analysis in our case. Too much is still classified and hidden from view. The battle is not over. The battle is not over. The war is not over.
The Russian army lost about 120 soldiers and officers in this war. And it doesn’t matter how these people died. In battle, or it was the so-called non-combat losses. People who died in the war die precisely in the war. Someone in a bayonet attack, someone under the bombs, someone in the collapse of the bridge or the explosion of the roadway. These are all victims of war. About 120 victims of war from our side ...
Ultimately we won
Today everyone knows in what circumstances Moscow made the decision to launch a military operation in Syria. For some reason, it’s not customary to recall the very 2015 year when any person who understands military affairs knew that the days of the Bashar al-Assad regime were numbered. The Americans and their slime-dogs waged some kind of war of their own. Outwardly, everything looked pretty pretty, but in fact, the coalition forces did everything to destroy Assad and his government in any way.
Today, many cities in Syria are well-known, and more recently, the world community knew only that the fighting was in Damascus and terrorists (whatever they were called by the Western media) were already penetrating the central regions of the Syrian capital. The largest city of Syria, Aleppo, was occupied by militants. In practice, if we discard the talk of some desert territories, there were only a few large cities in the hands of government troops.
What happened in Syria with the advent of the Russian army? Although, to be honest, the army we had there was scanty. I will not reveal a big secret, but even in the “hottest” times, the number of Russian forces did not exceed 7 thousand people. And the number of "huge" aviation grouping, again during periods of exacerbation, there were only about 70 aircraft. Of course, it is worth considering our strategists who simply flew in, fulfilled their goals and flew away.
So, the results of the war for today. The territories on the west bank of the Euphrates are completely liberated. Even the border strip with Turkey, recently controlled by the Kurds, today, albeit with the help of our military police, has come under the control of the Assad government. Militants from Syria disappear. The Russian army received an air base and a naval base. The authority of Russia and the Russian army is undeniable. Likely opponents study our experience in their military academies.
What did the Russian army learn?
Again, without discovering America, I will tell you about some well-known facts. To begin with, today, tens (exactly) of thousands of Russian army officers have combat experience in participating in events in Syria. And among the senior officers, probably, except for the Strategic Missile Forces rocket, it is almost impossible to meet an officer without such experience. Almost all senior officers in Syria visited.
If you look at the appointments of recent years, especially to the positions of brigade commanders, commanders and above, it turns out that almost all commanders went through this war. And commanders of armies and districts are generally appointed only after some time they have commanded or were chiefs of staff of a group in Syria.
There was another crucial aspect of the Syrian operation. These are combat tests of military equipment and weapons. It is clear that it is necessary to test equipment and weapons at landfills in “greenhouse conditions”. However, it is simply impossible to create real combat conditions. Syria "buried" or sent for revision several dozen models of weapons and equipment. Moreover, those that have already passed all the tests and were at the stage of final adoption.
Little is written about this, but many civilian experts from defense enterprises have passed Syria. The Ministry of Defense took such a step. Equipment and weapons fell into the hands of designers, engineers and workers directly from the battlefield. This made it possible to reduce the time for finishing the machines and weapons as much as possible. Factory workers today can proudly talk about their labor exploits. Such promptness has not yet been eliminated in the Russian army.
In general, if we talk about the global results of the Syrian campaign, we can say that the Russian army after Syria is a completely different army. Army with a different motivation. With a different approach to the training and education of soldiers and officers. With other requirements for equipment and weapons. Even with a slightly different organizational structure.
What conclusions can be drawn today?
In general, the Navy has shown its necessity in carrying out tasks on the territory of other states. Largely thanks the fleet the success of the entire operation was ensured. Especially at the initial stage. But it was the fleet that showed the other side of our aircraft. We will say so, the negative side of the Russian concept of using the Navy.
To begin with, to put it mildly, it is with the failure of our Navy. From a blind copy of the American strategy of using large ships for local operations. About "Admiral Kuznetsov" and his adventurous campaign to the Syrian coast. The campaign, thanks to which everyone is laughing at Russian sailors even today.
The Americans, sending aircraft carriers to foreign shores, initially had a real warship, with well-trained flight crews and airplanes intended for operations against ground forces. We, sending "Admiral Kuznetsov" to Syria, understood that the ship was not able to somehow change the situation. Moreover, the campaign itself seemed a gamble.
What could the cruiser boast of? Su-33 fighters equipped with outdated avionics and without armament to operate on ground targets? By the new MiG-29 KR carrier-based multipurpose fighters, which are still being mastered by the pilots of the 100 OKIAP? And what is the result? Two lost planes and a cruiser miraculously reaching the repair dock.
Failure? Yes, failure. But, in my opinion, failure is with a plus sign. Remember the many publications about the construction of new large ships? Including aircraft-carrying cruisers. The audience is divided in these disputes into supporters and opponents of large ships. Those who wanted a little, but really large ones, and those who wanted smaller ships, but many at once. I think that "Admiral Kuznetsov" really showed not so much his own impotence as our high expectations from its use. This campaign delayed the construction of new ships of the same type of years on the 15-20.
Now about the victories of the fleet. Perhaps the experts will disagree with me, but, as I think, the main victory of the Russian fleet is to provide the grouping of troops with weapons, personnel, equipment and everything that is necessary for the normal life of troops on foreign territory. Just think about the numbers.
The Russian Navy has ensured the delivery to Syria of more than 1,5 million tons of various cargoes! But this is nothing more and nothing less than 95% of all delivered goods! The sailors delivered 4500 units of equipment and weapons. Including our C-400 systems. Yes, and 3250 people were delivered by sea! In general, if we count the flights of the Navy ships for the entire period of the military operation in Syria, the ships delivered various military cargoes to Tartus base more than 400 times!
The safety of these shipments was again ensured by the fleet. Warships managed to create a situation around these shipments, in which our "allies" did not even have thoughts to somehow disrupt the plans of our sailors. Combat missions were performed by both surface and submarine ships.
By the way, a flaw in our fleet also emerged here. BDK, which were necessary for transportation, we simply do not have. In fact, since 2017, cargo has been transported by civilian vessels. The fleet needs transports and large landing ships like air.
The most spectacular operation of our fleet is the use of Caliber cruise missiles. Remember 14 September 2017 year? Then the “Caliber” hit the submarines of the 06363 project Veliky Novgorod (B-268) and Kolpino (B-271). Remember 7 on October 2015 of the year when the Dagestan missile defense system and the Uglich, Veliky Ustyug and Grad Sviyazhsk missile systems launched 26 missiles from targets in Syria from the Caspian Sea? On November 20, these same ships dealt another blow to the militants. 18 rockets!
And there was another hit by the “Caliber” of the Rostov-on-Don submarine from the underwater position in the Mediterranean Sea on December 9 of 2015. There were RTOs "Zeleny Dol" and "Serpukhov" in the same place, but on 19 of August 2016 of the year. There were launches from the frigate Admiral Essen and the Krasnodar submarine (B-265) on 30 on May 2017. There were punches of 23 of June of 2017 of the year and 3 of September of 2017 of the year.
Probably, for the first time it became clear that, in the presence of perfect weapons, which were carried out by large ships, combat missions can now be performed not only by small ships, but also missile boats. The mosquito fleet can cause serious damage to the enemy's Navy, while its losses will be minimal. And the firing range of several thousand kilometers makes even missile boats on rivers dangerous.
To summarize the fleet. We don’t need huge ships today. For completely mercantile reasons, we should focus on keeping the ships in combat readiness. And we must build frigates and universal landing ships. And to deter particularly active amateurs to walk along our shores, nuclear-powered submarines are needed. The rest is in perspective ...
Without VKS there would be no victory
Syria is the triumph of the videoconferencing. Syria is the largest air operation of the Russian aerospace forces, not only in the number of vehicles and crews involved, but also in the complexity and intensity of combat use and the remoteness of the theater of operations. There are simply no analogues of such operations of the videoconferencing.
Moreover, this operation for the first time brought to the first roles not the ground forces, but aviation. For the first time, aviation won the battle. Land units, however, performed a secondary role. Those components that the Russian army was and remains strong (artillery, Tanks, motorized rifle) in Syria were not the main ones.
The intensity of aviation reached hundreds of sorties per day! On average, each aircraft made 2-3 flights per day! Every plane! At the same time, departures of helicopters, reconnaissance and transport aircraft are not included in this number. I’ll try to surprise even the pilots with one digit - 45000! That's right, more than 45 of thousands of sorties during the operation were performed by pilots of the Russian airborne forces.
The flight time for a combat pilot is one of the most important indicators of his training and qualifications as a pilot of a combat aircraft. There is only one indicator, which, according to many pilots, is more important than raid. This is part of the fighting. The real job of completing a combat mission during the war. As one pilot said: “We must survive combat stress, combat fatigue ...”
Here the numbers are generally sky-high. Almost the entire flight crew of the VKS visited one way or another in the Syrian sky. Data at the end of May 2019 year. The participation of crews of operational-tactical and army aviation - 90%. The participation of crews of military transport aviation - 98%. Long-range crew participation - 60%. The participation of air defense specialists - 32%.
The use of ground forces in Syria was extremely limited. Initially, ground units in Syria were not used. The concept of the operation itself did not provide for their input. However, MTR units and intelligence units of the rapid response units were planned. War is, first of all, knowledge of the enemy, the location of his units, plans for military operations. This is intelligence.
Alas, it should be noted that while we are clearly behind the leading armies in the use of special reconnaissance equipment, UAVs. The heroism of our MTR fighters simply needs to be reinforced technically. It is necessary to increase not only the quantity and quality of reconnaissance equipment, but also space reconnaissance and aviation reconnaissance. intelligence intelligence. It seems to me that the MTR fighters will have enough work where you can show heroism and dedication. And if there is an opportunity not to go to hell, but to get information without much risk, then it should be used at 100%.
The work of our military police is interesting. Of course, we can say that they perform a somewhat unusual function for them. Almost replacing the still weak Syrian police. However, in fact, the military police of Russia does exactly its job. Provides order in the war zone. And it makes it so that even Western countries admire.
VP units were selected very well. The presence of Muslims and Christians in the ranks of the Russian military police ensured confidence among Syrian citizens. For the East, this is the most important factor. Moreover, it was this, not to mention some additional actions of the Russian and Syrian military leadership, that provided a quick suppression of the centers of resistance of the militant gangs. Former fighters wouldn’t lay down their arms without trust.
In conversations with those who have visited Syria, one event strangely pops up, which many have already forgotten, but which played a very significant role in stopping the resistance by the militants and surrendering weapons. I am about the platoon of our military police in the area of the city of Hama 19 September 2017 year.
It was then that a large detachment of militants, provoked by an attack by American intelligence services, tried to destroy the observation post of our military police in the de-escalation zone. Then local policemen from the Muali tribe came to the aid of our policemen. This tribe, before signing an agreement with government forces, actively fought on the side of the militants.
The Syrians from this tribe were then struck by the very fact that the commander sent his fighters to the very heat and guarded strangers. For those who fought long enough and knows the attitude of NATO soldiers and officers towards the natives, this caused shock and a desire to show the Russians that they also know how to fight. The Syrians climbed after the police to the most dangerous sections.
And after a two-hour battle, when the SSO fighters approached under the leadership of the Hero of Russia General Viktor Shulyak, when the positions of the militants were repeatedly handled by Su-25 attack aircraft, it turned out that the two hundredth were only among the muali fighters. The police came out of the battle without loss. MTR had three three hundredths.
Today this история overgrown with fabulous details about how the Russians drove out the fighters of the tribe in order to save their lives, how they saved others. Any Syrian boy will tell his version of the heroism of Muali and Russian police. But, most importantly, the story reached the militants. And she works. She is killing the war. The militants are returning to peaceful life.
Equipment and weapons
It is clear that the leading role of the aerospace forces in the military operation in Syria has determined the greatest innovations in the field of equipment and weapons namely the aerospace forces. But I'll start again with the Navy. More precisely, with a quote:
“The next year should be a record in the number of combat and auxiliary units laid down for the Navy. In shipyards in various regions of the country, including the Crimea, it is planned to lay a total of 22 surface ships and boats, multipurpose nuclear and diesel-electric submarines, as well as an auxiliary fleet. ”
So, recalling what has been written above about the Navy, we note that in 2020 at the Zaliv plant (Crimea) two universal landing ships will be laid down. At the Severnaya Verf shipyard, 2 upgraded frigates of the 22350 project (each with 24 shock missiles) will be laid. Two nuclear submarines of the 885M project code Yasen-M will be laid at Sevmash. Three submarines of the 636.3 Varshavyanka project and a submarine of the 677 Lada project will be laid at the Admiralty Shipyards.
In addition, corvettes, small missile boats, anti-sabotage boats and various auxiliary fleet ships will be laid at various plants. Agree, the experience of using the fleet during a military operation in Syria is taken into account. Volumes have not yet struck the imagination, but dashing trouble began.
Back to the videoconferencing. And start with the planes. To be honest, the Syrian sky has become a “gold mine” for our aviation industry and design bureaus. They have never received such a volume of critical information about their own products. Moreover, first-hand information.
Remember the most famous heroes of the sky among airplanes. These are new machines based on the T-10 platform. Su-35С, Su-30СМ and Su-34. Two fighters and a bomber. Each of them today has become completely different. As many upgrades in the short time as carried out on these aircraft, it was possible to carry out only during the Great Patriotic War ... And today modernized machines were ordered at the State Defense Ministry Defense Ministry.
By the way, there is a negative experience. In Syria, the MiG-29 SMT light front-line multipurpose fighter did not show itself in any way. Which is pretty strange. Indeed, in service with the VKS, this machine is.
We should also mention our strategists. The use of the Tu-95 and Tu-160 strategic bombers in Syria actually opened up a completely new field of combat work for these aircraft. We have always considered these aircraft as part of Russia's nuclear triad. Doomsday aircraft that are capable of independently delivering a nuclear strike against the enemy. The Syrian sky became the birthplace of the new aviation of Russia. Strategic aviation with a wide range of non-nuclear weapons. To some extent, this is a revolution.
There is another type of aircraft, which, in my opinion, is undeservedly forgotten when talking about Syria. This is a UAV. We are used to the fact that imported drones are better than ours. That, for example, Israel is much better able to make drones than we are. But Syria gave such a powerful kick for the development of our drones that we jumped like hell out of a snuffbox into the world leaders in the development and production of drones.
I understand that now I will run into many protests. Therefore, I will again quote the figures from the operational reports on Syria. Every day (!) In the sky of Syria worked up to 70 drones. The total number of UAV sorties during the operation is over 25 000. In total, the Russian drones “Outpost”, “Orlan-10” and others opened the enemy’s 47 522 object.
Today, in the Russian army, UAVs are used not only for reconnaissance and surveillance, but also for guiding the WTO. I can’t say that we are the best in the production and development of drones. Such information is not publicly available. But the fact that our operators and operators are among the best in the world is a fact.
Huge changes have occurred in the arsenal of the air forces. More precisely, they are happening today. The fact is that with the frequent use of aviation in residential areas, the problem of high-precision weapons has become acute. In this component, we traditionally lagged behind the West.
I will not paint all the bombs and missiles that appeared on the arsenal of the VKS. I will list only a few. Long-range aviation guided bombs with satellite guidance UPAB-500 (K08BE) and UPAB-1500 (K029BE) with penetrating warhead. 9-A-7759 modular guided aerial bomb. By the way, the first bombs of the above were created by the Tactical Missile Weapons Corporation in record time.
Today, 50 and 100 caliber bombs are coming. Small-sized guided bombs for the Russian army, as Syria showed, are necessary as air. Also ends the development of ammunition for use with UAVs.
More interesting is missile weapons. X-59 MK2 multi-purpose operational-tactical cruise missiles, X-38 tactical missiles, long-range multi-functional missiles for helicopters. But the main thing is still the Kyrgyz Republic (cruise missiles).
Above, I mentioned the non-nuclear weapons of the Tu-95 and Tu-160 strategic bombers. During the operation in Syria, these vehicles repeatedly struck enemy targets with non-nuclear weapons. High-precision cruise missiles have become the hallmark of strategic aviation in Russia.
In general, the military campaign in Syria can be considered successful. And from a military point of view, and from a political one. The army showed its best side. The military leadership gained experience in command and control of troops in a combat situation. Equipment and weapons tested in battle. And the understanding of what we most need here and now has come. So, there was confidence in their own abilities and capabilities. And this is a lot ...