A series of air crashes, the Air Force has halved
In June and July, four different types of aircraft suffered accidents: two MiG-29 fighters, Su-34 fighters and Su-24 fighters (another Su-24 crashed in February of this year), two Tu-95 strategic bomber (one crashed, the other, reportedly, rolled out of the runway, the cause was engine failure).
After the incident, flights on the above-mentioned aircraft are suspended. According to reports, Russia has 1573 units of various combat aircraft, 688 of which stopped flying, which is 43 percent of the total. It is noticeable that the recent serious air crashes have largely affected the country's air force.
Not surprisingly, the Western media immediately rushed to gloat, saying that Vladimir Putin’s tough position was to blame for everything. According to the Western press, the Russian army lacks highly skilled pilots, technical maintenance is also not up to par, but ultimately led to similar disasters by increasing the combat capability of the army in order to fully resist the West. Some people can't wait to find out: “How will the Kremlin fight with us when he has only half of what happened in his arsenal?”
The disaster that struck 12 July added fuel to the flames even more: the collapse of the barracks in Omsk, which crushed 42 officers and soldiers. Of these, 23 people died.
Cause of accidents: post-80-x syndrome
Of all of the above aircraft, only the Su-34 is new. The rest were developed in the 70-s and 80-s of the last century. Collapsed barracks were also built in the 70's.
It is usually said that the Russian military equipment is “strong and durable”, but in fact almost all Soviet weapons have a relatively short lifespan: after 10 – 20 years, it needs to be changed to something newer. Before the cold war ended, the USSR had ambitious plans to upgrade its weapons, to replace the equipment created in the 70 – 80-x with a new one — the 90-s.
Of course, we all know that the plans were unsuccessful. Some weapons have been used for more than 30 years, they are obsolete, and this seriously affects the capabilities of the army. We can say that Russia is faced with the syndrome of "post-80-x."
At one time, X-NUMX Su-1400 bombers were in service; now there are fewer than 24 left. Since this is one of the best reconnaissance aircraft and bombers, it is not surprising that it is constantly in operation. Now mostly in service with aircraft designed in the middle of the 280-x and later, their condition is more and more causes of concern. Over the past few years, about two Su-80 have been crashed annually.
Since last year, the X-NUMX aircraft of the Su-84 type have been repaired, these aircraft have been modernized and refitted. It is not clear whether the recently crashed Su-24 belongs to old aircraft or the modernized type Su-24М24. If this is an upgraded version, then you should doubt the effectiveness of such updates. In February of this year, another Su-2 crashed. However, then the Russian army did not stop the operation of this model and did it only after the recent plane crash. So it is quite possible that this time it really is about the Su-24М24.
In addition, not so long ago there was an accident with another aircraft - Su-34, which was just about to replace the 196 Su-24. Su-34 is the latest Russian fighter-bomber. It is a rather “fresh” aircraft, and the causes of the accident are not very clear. Termination and troubleshooting may affect the production plan of a given bomber. So far, only 59 units have entered service.
As for the MiG-29, its fate is even sadder than the Su-24. They were all produced around 1600. However, only 291 has been converted from them, and they are idle. In 90-s, due to lack of funds for maintenance and lack of money for storage, most of the MiG-29 aircraft simply stood and rotted at the airfields. Now the attitude of the army towards this aircraft is also rather dismissive: it is rotting, but oh well. But not so long ago, two MiG-29 crashed. During one of them, the pilot, who is also responsible for flight safety, was catapulted. Perhaps everything was conceived specifically to once again confirm the presence of faults in the aircraft.
It is still unclear whether Russia intends to retire the MiG-29. However, the Air Force of the country in the future is unlikely to use it. Maybe only the Navy (Navy) will leave it as a deck plane.
In recent years, the focus of attention of the press constantly appears Tu-95. Since Vladimir Putin announced in 2007 about the need to resume production of the Tu-95, which ceased in 1992, this aircraft has been seen next to many important world-class facilities.
In 2008, Russia announced the termination of the operation of all relatively old bombers, which at that time were about 15 – 18 years old. However, the Tu-95 can be called a veteran among the rest, since the production of most of these aircraft fell on the 80. Recent air crashes are associated with the ignition of engines, the likelihood of malfunctions in which is very high. Obviously, it's all about the age of the Tu-95MS. After all, aircraft of this type also survived the crisis 90-x, and the possible damage may be more serious.
Today, the causes of such frequent accidents involving Russian military aircraft are still being studied. But the preliminary results of the investigation of the collapse of the barracks have already been published. According to reports, in the collapsed building in 2014, there was a repair, during which violations were discovered. The Russian military blames the military reforms conducted by former Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov.
During his term Serdyukov carried out reforms that caused strong discontent from the army. They were considered unrealizable, they did not take into account historical the continuity of the Russian army, and some generally considered outright nonsense. However, to blame for the crash and collapse of the barracks of a person who is already retired is also wrong. I'm afraid this is just the easiest way to blame others.
How much money is needed for the revival of the Russian industry?
So why does Russia still continue to use the fruits of the Soviet Union and does not change outdated weapons?
After 2009, the Russian army announced plans to replace all obsolete weapons by 2020. All large factories and firms began to receive orders. However, in the 90-s industrial base of the country due to the accumulated problems almost completely stopped working. Huge funds are needed to restore and reorganize military factories, much more than directly to the production of weapons. Although in recent years the Russian Federation has begun to spend more money on military needs, they are still not enough.
For a long time the machine-building industry did not have enough new equipment, as well as money to hire or train highly qualified specialists, it was faced with the problem of reducing the innovative potential. Production has now more or less stabilized, but the factories still rely on Soviet weapons projects, albeit partially modernized.
Let's look at the aircraft industry. Russia has repeatedly praised aviation 117С engine, however, it still has problems with ignition, which at all stages of work pursued the designers of the fifth generation T-50 fighter.
Another classic example is the production of the Su-34. Due to the lack of orders for a long time, the production capacity of the Novosibirsk Aviation Plant has decreased significantly. For ten years, only 59 aircraft were designed, which is not enough to implement the plan to replace all Su-24.
And yet the aviation industry is by no means the most neglected industry in Russia. What the country has never been particularly strong in, is in even more deplorable condition.
For example, the last ten years, the electronic and optical industries have struggled to fill the gaps in the creation of infrared imagers for tanksHowever, in the end they could only copy the French Catherine-FS thermal imager (Catherine FC), the recognition range of which is two kilometers shorter than that of the original. And such success is a rarity for the Russian electronic industry. Domestic radars with a ship-based phased array antenna and airborne radars with an active phased array antenna remained at the development stage for a long time and could not be applied in practice. Russia could only boast about its technologies for creating passive phased antenna arrays that have “special properties”, but Moscow could not replicate the success of copying the French thermal imager.
In May, 2015, Russia announced the successful application of 65 nanometer technology in the development of the central processor. Nevertheless, it is two generations behind the world advanced level. And the YotaPhone, which Putin presented as a gift to leaders of other countries (for example, Xi Jinping. - Approx. Per.), Is actually made in China from parts designed by American companies. RF was responsible only for software development and marketing.
However, stories from the life of the electronic industry still cannot fully and completely show how outdated Russian industry is. Let's take another example: Russia has traditionally been considered a country - a manufacturer of machine tools, and now it imports 90 percent of machine tools. The country used to produce trucks, but before amendments were made to plans to control exhaust emissions, 80 percent of the trucks were imported from China. Moscow will not be able to realize its grandiose plans for the construction of an aircraft carrier with a displacement of about 100 thousand tons overnight. All this indicates that Russian industry has sank almost to the bottom.
Some readers may ask: Hasn't Russia spent huge sums on military needs in recent years? How to restore industry without money?
Will the military industry of the country save big military expenses?
In fact, high spending on the military industry does not affect the recovery of the industry. Russia has the money to buy and produce the necessary weapons, but they are not enough to completely reconstruct the production base. Therefore, the country can only rely on imports.
According to the article "Analysis of the economic impact of Russian spending on national defense on the country's military strategy and society" from a Chinese magazine devoted to research in Russia, Eastern Europe and Central Asia, a sharp increase in defense spending strongly hits the national economy.
As long as the government spends state budget resources on national defense, this in no way contributes to improving living standards in terms of consumer spending, nor does it increase the inflow of investments in public productivity. So such expenses are unprofitable for the healthy, balanced and sustainable development of the national economy.
It is expected that from 2014 to 2017 year, the share of spending on the national economy will only decrease (from 16,3 to 12,1%). It is difficult to estimate how much will be spent on building and restoring industry, but I am sure that they will not be enough anyway.
In other words, high military spending does not encourage investment to rebuild the industry. And this space is very difficult to fill in a short time.
Even more people are alarmed by the fact that there are too many so-called secret expenses in the Russian military industry. In 2009, they accounted for 10 percent of the budget; in 2014, they were already 16,7 percent. According to forecasts, by the year 2017 they will reach 28 percent, although the generally accepted reasonable limits for such expenses are 1 – 3 percent and no higher than 8 percent. Such huge secret expenses have long gone beyond the control, they are associated with high corruption risks.
We see that due to Western sanctions, falling oil prices, budget cuts, large military spending is hitting the national economy of Russia. If the situation is not managed correctly, their negative impact on the stabilization of the social economy and balanced development can only intensify.
Judging by the latest trends in the Russian army, people realize that the West has set a goal to force Putin to use up his country's forces for confrontation. Now we see symptoms of “post-80-x” in the Russian Federation, I am afraid that over time, more serious problems may appear.
Will Russia lose?
When you think about the fact that Russia, on its own initiative, started a confrontation with the West, it was forced by the international situation, it is powerless. Moscow had to make this decision in order to prevent the loss of its main strategic interests.
However, Russia is ultimately in third place in terms of military spending, so it cannot be argued that its troops are a paper tiger and the West only needs to gain time.
It should be noted that those airplanes whose flights Russia has so far suspended have been a relatively weak link of the Russian Air Force. Currently, the country's main tactical fighter is the Su-27, it was often used during the Chechen war and conflict with Georgia. In addition, over the past few years, the Russian Federation has purchased several hundred completely new Su-27CM3, Su-30CM3 and Su-35. In addition, some aircraft such as the Su-27S also decided to extend life - to maintain the performance of this large-size fighter aircraft. In recent years, the MiG-31 interceptor has also undergone preventive maintenance. These aircraft have repeatedly played an important role in the air confrontation with the West.
Even if you do not take into account other types of combat aircraft, and talk only about the multipurpose fighters of the Su-27 series, they are already enough to suppress the small-sized European Air Force.
And if you still remember that the core of Russia's military spending goes to intercontinental guided missiles and nuclear weaponthen the threats towards the West about the possibility of applying the latter do not seem so empty. This once again confirms the phenomenon of the so-called asymmetrical conflict (the term “asymmetrical war” is used when the weaker adversary faces a stronger one and when methods of combat are used that are significantly different from traditional military tactics. It is the use of non-traditional methods that allows the weaker side stand up against a stronger enemy. - Approx. per.).
So far, Europe is neither psychologically nor actually ready for a military conflict. If Russia will continue to provoke, one day it can go on harsh measures. Let now her strength is not the same as once, I am afraid that it may still complicate the life of Europe.
However, from the malevolent notes about the recent Russian catastrophes, we see that the vast majority of people do not even think about the worst-case scenario. Perhaps this is the biggest misfortune.