Actually, we will formulate all further remarks and suggestions from the point of view of military science in general and the author as an officer-operator of the headquarters in particular. We will group all this in the form of brief theses.
1. Protection and defense of the airfield Khmeimim.
“Minami from a 120-mm mortar-cheap mortar planes worth 50 million euros are easily incapacitated”
According to reports, the protection is carried out by the units of the Marine Corps of the Russian Navy. As the means of air defense are used ZRPK "Armor" and ZRK "Thor".
Recall how they organized the protection and defense of airfields earlier, in particular, in Afghanistan (only this experience really fits the Khmeimim airbase). At first, there were a lot of cones there. And only in 1981, the protection of facilities and communications in Afghanistan began to develop into a rather harmonious system. At the insistence of the Soviet military-political leadership in order to ensure security and public order, to prevent and suppress hostile actions of the opposition forces, the so-called 15-kilometer regime zones were created by the decision of the leadership of Afghanistan around important administrative centers, airfields, power stations, tunnels. In these zones, a special order of life and activities of the population. All males from 13 years and older who permanently lived in this territory had to be registered with the bodies of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Afghanistan and receive the relevant document, which everyone must always have with them (the Afghan population did not have any documents before). It was possible to hold events in the zone related to the accumulation of a large number of people in one place (weddings, funerals, etc.) only after consultation with local authorities of the Ministry of Internal Affairs. Any movement of people within the zone after the 23 hours is prohibited. Arrival in the zone and departure from it was allowed only through checkpoints with the mandatory registration of people and goods. There were other restrictions aimed at curbing the penetration into the zone of detachments and opposition groups. The internal security of the airfield facilities was organized by the commanders of the aviation units, who assigned guards for the direct protection and defense of the barracks, warehouses, aircraft parks, etc. Wire obstructions and signal minefields were created around the perimeter of the airfield and around its facilities. Dangerous approaches covered behind mine battlefields.
Defense restricted area of the airfield (option)
Anti-aircraft guns (most of them were ZSU-23-4, ZU-23, ZPU), in addition to covering the airfield from the air, they were preparing to defeat and ground enemy. The security and defense system that existed at that time did not fully ensure its reliability, as a result of which the airfields of Kandahar and Jalalabad were systematically fired upon by the enemy. Transport aircraft that landed at Bagram, Shindand and Faizabad airfields were attacked.
In the first half of 1983 alone, three Su-17 airplanes, nine Mi-24 helicopters, four Mi-8 air forces of the Air Force and an Afghan helicopter were damaged on the ground by rebel airfields Jalalabad and Kandahar. There were damage to the controls and flight support, injured personnel.
Opponent changed the ways of firing airfields, used for this purpose vehicles and other means. However, the security units of the 40 Army reacted poorly to these changes, mobile teams on armored vehicles were not created, and interaction with helicopters that were on duty at the airfields was not organized.
So, on June 3, 1984, mortar shells fired at the location of the control of the 108th Moscow Road and the firing position of the artillery battery defending the Bagram airfield. Located 400 meters from the enemy’s firing mortar, a post with a tank not only did not try to destroy him, but did not even notice him.
Verification of the protection of airfields in 1984 showed that in many cases they were not provided with protection against mortar fire. The entire security system was built on the fact that the enemy would use fire from rifle weaponswhile he went on to mortar shelling of objects.
Despite the measures taken, even by 1985, when the airfield security system was finalized, it was not possible to completely eliminate the shelling, which continued until the withdrawal of Soviet troops from Afghanistan. This is explained not only by the periodic (through 1,5 – 2) replacement of the personnel of the security units, but also by the inability to ensure the closure of the area of responsibility from the penetration of the rebels, since the difficult terrain and the presence of a large number of villages in the area did not allow it.
There were problems with the protection and defense of the US Air Force on the territory of Afghanistan. In particular, in September, a Camp-bastion military base in the Afghan province of Helmand was attacked by a Taliban on 2012. The attackers, armed with machine guns and grenade launchers, were wearing uniforms of the US military, they were wearing suicide bomber vests. Militants attacked airplanes and helicopters standing on the runway of the airfield, hangars and other structures of a military facility. As a result of the attack, six AV-8B Harrier fighters were damaged and two more were damaged. Three refueling stations, six light hangars for aircraft were heavily damaged.
Has the existing experience been fully taken into account in the organization of the protection and defense of the Khmeimim airbase? Let's hope that is the way it is. But doubts still remain.
2. Engineering equipment of the Khmeimim airbase.
It looks like it is absent as such at this air base. The aircraft are located wing to wing in open parking. And according to science, each squadron must be located in its own area of dispersal. In addition, each aircraft is located in a sheltered shelter, and even better - in the arched structure. There is no certainty that stocks of aviation weapons and fuel are at least in sheltered shelters. Not protected from automatic machine-gun fire and fragments of mines and artillery shells quartering of flight and technical staff.
The consequences of this may be the most disastrous. Urban development (private households) almost closely approach the runway and MRD of the Khmeimim airbase. As a result of the penetration into the vicinity of the airfield of enemy sabotage groups, the Hmeimim airbase can easily be subjected to a sudden raid. Minami from a penny-priced 120-mm mortar planes worth 50 million euros are easily incapacitated. And effective repair in the conditions of Hmeimim is a very problematic matter. And it is hardly possible. Fire raids are fairly easy to organize from a distance of 20 – 30 kilometers from the air base by salvoes from the MLRS. Finally, the attack on the airfield can be carried out using tactical missile systems.
One such blow - and the combat work of the Russian air group is essentially over. Therefore, to dig into the ground in order to minimize the possible damage just immediately. Let us hope that to a large extent this has already been done and the corresponding engineering structures of the airbase simply did not fall into the chronicle frames.
3. Combat voltage.
The Russian air group at Khmeimim made about 30 flights from September 3 to October 60. Is it a lot or a little? For comparison: in 1991 during Operation Desert Storm aviation The Ministry of Taxes and Duties in the first two days completed more than four thousand sorties. During the air campaign in Yugoslavia, aircraft of the United States and other NATO countries made more than a thousand sorties per day. It is unlikely that 8–20 sorties per day will cause shock and awe in ISIS armed groups. By the way, during the “Desert Storm”, MNS aviation (which is more than 2300 combat aircraft) made about 38 thousand sorties, including about 1700 strategic sorties, about 27 tactical and more than 000 carrier-based missions. If the Russian air group will make even 6000 flights a day, then it will reach this level in about five years.
For reference. In Soviet times, the domestic Air Force had two operational armies of the Supreme Command (24-nd VA Supreme Command (OH) - Vinnytsia, 4-nd VA Supreme Command (OH) - Legnica) on the Su-24 bombers. These two armies would have bombed ISIS to atoms in a week.
4. Intelligence data.
Earlier it was reported that data on the deployment of military facilities ISIS provide (including) and the armed forces of Syria. And supposedly this data is the most accurate. Such information should be treated with maximum caution and at least two times to be rechecked. The Syrian comrades are objectively interested in Moscow’s plunge into this conflict as deeply as possible.
So far there are two coalitions - the “right” (Russia, Syria, Iran and Iraq) and the “wrong” (the United States and allied states). It seems that no unification of efforts and close interaction between them is expected. No one was quick to sign up for the Baghdad Information Center. Moreover, a number of influential countries in the region spoke out against Russia's actions in Syria. And this means, in the best case, only one thing - Moscow will have to fight alone in the foreseeable future.
6. And where is the Syrian offensive?
It was assumed that after the first series of Russian air strikes, the army of Bashar al-Assad would go into a decisive counterattack and would liberate native cities and lands. However, it has not yet passed. It is possible that the Syrian army will remain in the original positions. Armed forces of Assad were exhausted during the previous four years of the civil war in Syria. The mobilization reserves of the Alawites are almost exhausted to the bottom. Replenishment wait almost nowhere. And the upcoming street battles in the conditions of dense urban development are fraught for Bashar al-Assad's army with substantial losses in manpower and equipment. Among other things, this army has never won anywhere in the last 50 years. And the sad spirit of ever broken invisibly hovers over the battalions of Bashar al-Assad. Whether this army will win in the upcoming battles is an open question.
And how much more Russian aircraft need to bomb the terrorists, so that Bashar Assad has gathered his strength and started to win, it is also unclear.