Already a month, as Russia entered the war with the armed groups of ISIS in Syria. Every day there are reports about the number of destroyed warehouses from weapons and ammunition, command posts, columns of cars ... But no one tells how long the operation lasts, what efforts will be needed to defeat the militants and what can ultimately turn it all for Russia. These and other questions in an interview with the "MIC" reflect Air Force Commander (1991 – 1998) Army General Peter Deynekin.
- Peter Stepanovich, do not you think that a rather strange war is going on in Syria? On the one hand, we see the heroic actions of our pilots, effective reconnaissance, accurate bombing, on the other - we hear strictly metered information, the volume and direction of which is determined, they say, almost in the presidential administration?
- This war goes far from Russia. And at the same time it’s close, because we are participating in it. It has its own characteristics, but let me start the answer to your question with a short historical digression. He is needed to understand the current role and significance of our military aviation.
At the beginning of the last century, Grand Duke Alexander Mikhailovich during the construction of the Imperial Russian Air fleet stated: “The air fleet of Russia should be stronger than the air fleet of our neighbors. This should be remembered by everyone who cherishes the independence of our country. ”
And Russian volunteer pilots in 1911 had already fought in the war against the Turks on the side of Bulgaria. At that time, their tasks were mainly limited to aerial reconnaissance, but the airplanes in this business successfully replaced cavalry patrols.
In 1912, the Russian aircraft designer Igor Sikorsky expressed industrialist Mikhail Shidlovsky (by the way, to a sailor in the past) that Russia, with its vast expanses, needs not kayaks, but air ships. Soon, with material support from Shydlouski, Sikorsky created the world's first four-engined airship, Ilya Muromets, which successfully fought the Germans in the skies of the First World War. Russia entered the slaughterhouse, having the same number of aircraft along with Germany and the Entente countries. However, the capabilities of Western industry allowed them to quickly increase the production of this new type of weapon. Ultimately, aviation played an important role in the crash of Austria-Hungary, Germany and the Russian Empire.
In subsequent years, aviation was even more in demand. The conflict on the CER in 1929, the war in Spain, the battles on Lake Hassan and on the Khalkhin Gol River - our pilots fought bravely everywhere.
During the Great Patriotic War, Stalin wrote to Zhukov at Stalingrad: “The war with the Germans shows that the success of ground operations can only be achieved with air supremacy. And if Novikov (commander of the Soviet Air Force) believes that we do not have enough aircraft, the operation must be postponed. ” The words of the Don Front Commander Konstantin Rokossovsky are also known: “The infantry does not rise, it does not go forward for tanksif there is no aviation. ”
You ask: what does this have to do with Syria? So in Syria, ground troops went ahead because they received powerful aviation support. The road was cleared by Russian aviation.
- So what is the peculiarity and specificity of the war in Syria for us, how does it differ from all the others?
- This war goes far from our borders, it is not easy to transfer the grouping of our Aerospace forces with all the means of material and technical support there. And for our partners in the fight against international terrorism, air strikes against targets of ISIL were unexpected. So much so that they began to carry in the media fiction about strikes against groups of the moderate Syrian opposition, about the violation of the airspace of Turkey, etc. They also refuse to cooperate on the ground and in the air.
You mentioned that the amount and direction of information is determined almost in the presidential administration. This is not true.
The war, of course, goes on in the information space. However, the Office of the Press Service and Information of the Ministry of Defense of Russia through electronic media shows, and if you like, it reports to world public opinion how our aviation acted for every 30 – 50 sorties per day. The struggle for truth is not only in the air and on earth, but also on the air.
- How satisfied are you as an ex-commander-in-chief of the air force with the actions of our aviation? Why does the United States call us blunt-naked bombs?
- If we compare it with the former local conflicts (say, by forcing Georgia to peace), then the actions of Russian aviation in Syria are noticeably different for the better. This happened also because the leaders of the new type of the Armed Forces were appointed commanders who have personal combat experience. They understand what they are doing, from the inside.
First, space, optoelectronic, secret intelligence and unmanned aerial vehicles are involved in the precise definition of targets. This allows you to receive and recheck information from multiple sources. Therefore, we do not strike at bazaars, mosques, and hospitals, but only beat at important military targets on the territory of ISIS. At command posts, ammunition and ammunition depots, gangster training centers ... Accurate strikes, proven targets.
There are reports that even active ISIS fighters are running, shaving beards and dressing up in civilian clothes. By the way, in August 2008 of the year, some politicians during the raid of our aviation, scared their own neckties for fear.
Secondly, as you yourself rightly noticed, some American military reproach the Russian aviation for striking them with “stupid” bombs. I will say this: what goals, such and bombs.
We also have precision weapons. For example, missiles with radar, infrared homing heads, guided aerial bombs. But they are used on particularly important military facilities, which should be affected by “hitting the window”. And if you want, then in a mobile phone - we can do that too.
What is the purpose - is the means of destruction.
For example, the bomb, which the Americans call "blunt-eared", is a concrete-concrete. High-explosive, high-explosive, adjustable bombs and laser ammunition are also used. Space systems are used for navigation, determining the coordinates of the target and the point of discharge of the munition. The accuracy of the discharge is today a matter of war and peace.
Thirdly, it became not so easy for “partners” to invent new accusations, because our drones control and show the whole flight dynamics: before, at the time and after the attack. The destruction of each goal is documented by means of objective control.
- What can you say about our fleet in Syria? Su-24 bomber operated in Afghanistan. But since 35 years have passed - not obsolete?
- In fact, airplanes do not age, but grow up. In the United States, strategic aircraft of the type B-52, which were produced in the last century, are still in service. In aviation, there is such a thing as “state of airworthiness”. According to this criterion, the ability of a technology to operate in the sky is assessed.
As for the Su-24 bomber, in recent years modern navigation and aiming tools have been installed on it, which allow precise strikes.
The Su-25 attack aircraft is a vehicle with an armored defense of the pilot and the engine, which adequately went through Afghanistan.
The Mi-8 and Mi-24 helicopters provide combat operations across a wide range of their technical capabilities. Including on duty on search and rescue (evacuation) of our pilots who got into trouble. Both planes and helicopters are fighting well because our Aerospace Forces continue a reasonable course to modernize their aircraft and weapons. Of course, we still have new aircraft with thrust vectoring and other types of machines. So with military equipment everything is in order. The war in Syria is not the one in which we must disclose all our combat capabilities.
- Is it not excessive and not expensive to use Caliber cruise missiles from ships of the Caspian Flotilla in the presence of our aircraft in Latakia? The Western press did not fail to write here that, they say, not all of them flew to the goals.
- I bow to this in a military-bold operation, which was successfully conducted by our naval forces. The fleet remains a fleet, and its commanders are faithful to their glorious military traditions. When the Germans began bombing Moscow in July 1941, the fleet commander Semyon Zhavoronkov was the first to propose to strike back at Berlin. Stalin connected the crews of long-range bomber aircraft to this case, and in August the myth of the complete destruction of Soviet aviation was debunked.
And the fact that now our cruise missiles have flown to the specified targets, I have no doubts. I also dealt with this matter in my time and not without success.
Moreover, in this war we showed far from all our air power. We also have air-based cruise missiles, which are launched at more decent distances than the Caliber. Apparently, it makes no sense to use them. Until.
As for costs, there is no need to talk about expenses. The cruel enemy represented by the ISIS gangs, if not destroyed in its own lair, may soon be at our borders.
- It can be said that the launch of Calibrov has shown: is the time of the US technological hegemony coming to an end?
- Of course not. And I would warn you against such sentiments.
For example, our "partners" have powerful carrier-based strike groups led by atomic multi-purpose aircraft carriers. They can be used for both conventional and more terrible war. At the same time, the time was gone when the main calibers of the battleship “New Jersey” rumbled off the shores of independent states with impunity.
When the unprecedented disarmament of the Soviet Union began on peaceful days, the Americans demanded, first of all, to destroy not strategic aircraft, not even intercontinental ballistic missiles, but land-based cruise missiles "Relief". These missiles changed their deployment so that it was impossible to keep track of them even from space. They instantly deployed from the march to the battle, flew unnoticed to the set targets (low above the ground) and were able to suddenly destroy control points and other important objects far in the West. That was a first-strike weapon, and the United States demanded that it be destroyed first.
As for building up our combat power, in recent years enterprises of the military-industrial complex have become more active. Bacchanalia ceased with the prices of military equipment. When the question concerns the national security of the country, it’s not up to market relations.
But the main thing is that the moral character of our Armed Forces has changed and the fighting spirit of the personnel has been restored. The selfless fighting work of our pilots in Syria is a clear confirmation of this.
- How complete and self-sufficient is the Russian air force in Syria and how long is it able to perform the assigned tasks in such a composition?
- If it is necessary to strengthen the aviation support of the ground forces, then it will not be ours. We can transfer there as much aviation as necessary to successfully complete the operation. In the meantime, the combat capabilities of our air group (Mi-8 helicopters, Mi-24 helicopters, Su-25 attack aircraft, Su-24 bomber aircraft, Su-34 fighter jets) are quite consistent with the tasks.
The interaction of our aviation with ground forces allows us to ensure the solution of the tasks of defeating ISIL gangs with minimal losses in the ground forces of the Syrian army.
But the most important thing is that all of our pilots return home in the same fighting composition as they arrived in Syria to fulfill their international duty.
- According to some sources, Stinger MANPADS appeared in the militants. What do crews of combat vehicles do in this situation? Maybe it makes sense to reduce the number of sorties?
- The appearance of ISIL MANPADS in the gangs is not a reason for reducing the number of combat sorties, especially for their termination. But this is a signal that we need to change the tactics of our aviation. Attack suddenly from different heights and directions. From the rear and from the side of the sun. Switch to night operations, more actively use electronic warfare to suppress the enemy’s communications system and interference to disrupt homing heads. Organize demonstrative distractions. Do you tell me everything? Our aviation commanders know these tactics and know how to use them.
- Do you think we will be there for long?
- You should not underestimate the enemy. As life shows, with all our political, diplomatic and military efforts, all this will not end quickly. But to strive for this is necessary.