C-400 "Triumph" at the Ashuluk training ground in the Astrakhan region during tactical exercises of the Russian aerospace defense forces. Photo: Ruslan Krivobok / RIA News
The experience of Iraq, Yugoslavia, Libya showed that it is criminal to save on air defense
Pleasant memories are still alive in Russia about the enormous losses the American suffered. aviation from domestic anti-aircraft missile systems (SAM) in Vietnam in 1965-1973, and the Israeli - over the Suez Canal in 1970 and 1973. At the same time, one cannot but admit the fact that after Vietnam aviation always won over ground air defense (including in 1973 in the Middle East). Especially revealing are the defeats that Israeli aviation carried out by Syrian air defense in the Lebanese Bekaa Valley in June 1982, and the US and its allies by Iraqi air defense in January - February 1991. These two examples are taken because the air defense of Syria and Iraq were considered powerful and modern (unlike the air defense of Yugoslavia in 1999 or the same Iraq in 2003). In June 1982, the Israelis lost only one Kfir fighter (shot down by the S-75 air defense system), in July - one Phantom (the Osa air defense shot down), and the Syrian anti-aircraft artillery shot down several helicopters. During the Desert Storm, the United States and its allies lost about 40 aircraft from Iraqi ground-based air defense systems. The defeat of the air defense was in this case in both cases complete and absolute.
In addition to technical and tactical aspects, the victory of aviation over ground defense is explained by the fact that the former always has the initiative, and the latter is forced to wait passively. Moreover, it is impossible to change this situation in any way.
It is impossible to do without ground defense. She, unlike aviation, is all-weather, she does not need to return to the airfield after completing a combat mission, her staff, despite the complexity of technology, is easier to prepare than the flight crew (at least in terms of physical fitness), it does not require a huge amount of fuel and lubricants (on the other hand, it can be connected to external power sources), it, as a rule, has more ready-to-fire ammunition than aviation. In addition, the very fact of the presence of air defense requires the diversion of aviation forces to its suppression. And the stronger the ground defense, the more aviation is needed to suppress it. Accordingly, aviation is distracted from the solution of the main tasks of defeating objects of the armed forces, infrastructure, industry, and government of the enemy. Thus, the air defense system automatically solves its task - to cover everything listed from enemy aircraft. At least that distracts enemy aircraft to themselves.
American F-105D shot down by Soviet RZK over North Vietnam. Photo: photo archive of Evgeny Bogun
Judging by the open data, today the Russian air defense system (the one that is included in the Air Force) has a 34 regiment with C-300PS, C-300М and C-400 air regiments. They consist of one hundred divisions - ninety-one C-300 and nine C-400 (those five regiments where there are C-400 divisions, each include C-300М division, since these systems are compatible). This number includes the training center of combat training of ZRV in Ashuluk of the Astrakhan region, where there are two C-300P divisions, while strictly speaking it is not a combat unit. In addition, five anti-aircraft missile brigades transformed into regiments were transferred to the Air Force from the air defense forces of the ground forces - two 2 divisional brigades C-300В and "Buk" and one mixed one (two C-300В divisions, one division "). In total, therefore, we have 39 regiments that include the 107 divisions (or 38 and 105, excluding Ashuluk). At first glance it seems a lot.
However, all this is distributed over a giant territory of the country extremely unevenly. Of course, Moscow is best defended, around which there are ten C-300P regiments (two of them have two C-400 divisions), as well as all five regiments of the Russian strategic missile defense system with A-135 missiles. By the way, this is the only existing missile defense system in the world, because the United States today has only a decade of talks about missile defense, followed by a decade Moscow hysteria. In 2011, all these regiments, as well as all the missile attack warning systems on the territory of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan, were composed of the Aerospace Defense Forces (WKO) troops. Why this Moscow only is worthy of the EKR and why the C-300P / C-400 Moscow regiments are organizationally torn out of the rest of the country's air defense system - questions that are still unanswered.
Of course, St. Petersburg is well covered, of course, with four regiments of C-300P and a mixed regiment of C-300В / "Buk". Satisfactory can be considered as defense of fleet-based locations. In the region of Murmansk, Severomorsk, and Polar, three C-300P regiments are stationed, in the Vladivostok and Nakhodka area - two C-300P regiments, and the Nadkinsk regiment received two C-400 divisions. In the Kaliningrad region, where the main base of the BF is located, there is one regiment C-300В and one regiment C-300П / С-400. Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky is covered by one C-300P regiment, Novorossiysk is also covered by one that has already received two C-400 divisions.
The situation in the Khabarovsk area is relatively acceptable - one regiment C-300P and one C-300В in the neighboring Jewish Autonomous Region. Another regiment C-300P covers Komsomolsk-on-Amur.
That's all good or at least relatively satisfactory ends.
In the Central District outside the Moscow Region - one regiment of the C-300P near Voronezh. In the North-West region (except St. Petersburg and the Murmansk region) there is one C-300P regiment in the Novgorod region (it covers the elite dachas in Valdai). In the North Caucasus (except for the Novorossiysk regiment) - one regiment C-300P near Rostov-on-Don and one regiment of the Buk air defense system in the Krasnodar Territory. Moreover, the latter can only conditionally be considered part of the country's air defense. “Beech” is a purely military air defense missile system, its inclusion in the air defense system is artificial and obviously erroneous. For all the Volga region (except for the Ashuluk landfill) there are two C-300P regiments (near Samara and under Engels in the Saratov region). Say that it is a lot, somehow it does not work. But in the east things are incomparably worse.
For the whole of the Urals, "the stronghold of the empire", with its military industry - one regiment C-300P near Yekaterinburg. For the whole of gigantic Siberia (the inhabitants of the European part, as a rule, absolutely do not represent its real size) - three regiments C-300P (Novosibirsk, Irkutsk, Achinsk, Krasnoyarsk Territory) and one regiment “Buk” (in Buryatia), which was said , can only be conditionally attributed to the country's air defense.
Everything that is in the even gigantic Far East has already been listed above (one regiment C-300P / C-400, four regiments C-300P, one regiment C-300В in the areas of Vladivostok - Nakhodka, Khabarovsk - Birobidzhan, Komsomolsk-on Amure and Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky). "Holes" between air defense facilities in the east of the country are several thousand kilometers, and anyone and anything in any quantities can fly into them. However, not only in Siberia and the Far East, but throughout the country a huge number of critical industrial facilities and infrastructure and locations of strategic nuclear forces (not to mention conventional aircraft) are not covered by any air defense.
Within the framework of the State Armaments Program, it was supposed to have twenty-eight X-NUMX-divisional regiments of C-2 and up to ten divisions of the latest C-400 aerial defense system (the latter supposedly should perform tasks not only of air defense and tactical missile defense, but also strategic missile defense) by 500. Now there is almost no doubt that these plans will be thwarted, although in fact they also seem to be very modest and insufficient to ensure an adequate air defense of the country.
In particular, at the beginning of the production of C-400, it suddenly turned out that we lacked the capacity to produce it, because many enterprises had long been destroyed by their own “effective managers”. Therefore, the construction of factories in Kirov and Nizhny Novgorod began in an emergency way, which, naturally, will take time and money. However, when the plants are completed, it will also suddenly become clear that for them there are not enough workers and engineering personnel. Those whom we have been breeding in recent years, that is, these very “effective managers”, as well as “stars” of pop music and sports, “politically active” Seliger youth and other “best people of the country”, for the production weapons unsuitable. Moreover, they are not suitable for solving the most difficult scientific problems of creating new military equipment. It will take quite a bit of time - and, again, it suddenly turns out that brainwashing and religion cannot be replaced by science, and without science, after a not very long period, they will take us with their bare hands.
The situation complicates the fact that air defense equipment is very expensive. The price of one regiment (even if there are only two divisions in it) with a modern air defense system is comparable to the price of a large warship. In this case, it is impossible to build a smaller regiment, because only it is a full-fledged combat unit. In addition, now there is a problem that practically was not in the air defense forces of the USSR: air defense facilities, even if they are located in the interior of the country, require considerable cover from the ground from the actions of terrorists and saboteurs special forces. Forces of the personnel of the anti-missile regiment itself cannot solve this task. In addition, they must be protected from the air by short-range air defense systems. Today, regiments with C-400 are received for this by the Pantsir-S air defense missile system (2 per division), but C-300P and B are not covered with anything.
The launch of the missile with the Pantsir-S anti-aircraft missile system as part of the exercises of the air defense forces at the Ashuluk training ground in the Astrakhan Region. Photo: Mikhail Fomichev / RIA News
In connection with the problems of re-equipping the air defense system with new equipment, we sometimes offer a seemingly sound palliative solution: to ensure that the air defense forces cover only the SNF facilities, that is, to make a “shield for the sword”, which is, of course, cheaper than covering the entire country. The essence of the idea is that in this case no adversary will be able to suddenly disarm us, and, therefore, will not risk attacking. Alas, this idea is only sensible at first glance.
As is known, the main drawback of the C-300 and C-400 systems is in the low rate of reloading of launchers. Therefore, if the strike is truly massive, then even with high accuracy of firing they may not have enough missiles to destroy all targets. Accordingly, if these missiles are few, then those two adversaries who may want to disarm us (the US and China) will be able to simply crush them with a mass of missiles, airplanes and UAVs, while at the same time the SNF will also suffice. In addition, these two opponents can choose another option - to start smashing non-nuclear weapons on our industry, infrastructure and conventional aircraft, which are not covered by anything. In this case, will we launch a nuclear strike on them, knowing that we will get a similar answer? Unfortunately, there is not the slightest confidence in this. With this option, we can stay with the "sword and shield", but without a country.
Therefore, no matter how expensive it is, it is necessary to cover as many of the most important objects as possible and even just the territory. In general, the more there will be a ZRS, the less there is even a possibility for the strongest opponent to crush them with mass. And in this particular case, his desire to commit aggression will sharply decrease.
The experience of Iraq, Yugoslavia, Libya showed that if you save (and primarily on air defense) a conditional million today, this could result in the loss of a billion tomorrow. That is, such “economy” is absurd from a purely economic point of view. Moreover, the experience of European countries shows that the savings on the Armed Forces, leading to their ultimate reduction, that is, purely automatically, to the loss of combat capability, as a result also results in much greater, and often completely senseless costs. But it’s not very common for us to learn not only from others, but also from our mistakes.