The actions of the Russian Aerospace Forces in Syria made it possible to stop the collapse of statehood in the Middle East, marking the end of the “Arab spring” and the return of Russia to the international arena as an active player. Let us consider how the Chinese analysts assess the current situation and the military potential of the Russian Federation, based on the work of IBV expert M. V. Kazanin.
An important factor in the regional confrontation is the situation on the border of Syria and Turkey. After the destruction of the Russian Su-16 in the area of the city of Azaz by a Turkish F-24 fighter and a series of Russian bombings aviation the position of Turkoman official Ankara decided to strengthen its military presence in the border area. There were thrown 20 tanks M60T, which, according to the plan of the Turkish leadership, will have to restrain the advance of the armored units of the SAR armed forces in their attack against the militants of the Islamic State banned in Russia and other groups.
Units of the armed forces of the SAR, leading the offensive in the north direction, are equipped with Russian T-90С. In this regard, specialists of the leading Chinese corporation for the production of weapons and military equipment "NORINKO" conducted a comparison of the tactical and technical characteristics of the main battle tanks (MBT) of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation and Turkey. An article prepared by the Scientific and Technical Research Institute of Arms and Military Equipment of the People's Republic of China notes that currently the core of the armored units of the armed forces of Turkey are 170 upgraded М60Т created by the Israeli company IMI on the basis of obsolete М60Х1 / А3.
The contract worth 688 million dollars was signed in September 2002. After its implementation, the Turkish Armed Forces planned to modernize another 792 tank М60А1 / А3. Israeli specialists have replaced the American engine AVDS-1790-5A with the German MTU KA-501, but trial operation revealed a serious problem: in conditions of high ambient temperatures, it is prone to overheating and serious damage. The second item on the upgrade was the M68 tank gun (made in the USA), replaced by MG251 from the Merkava-3 MBT, which allows the use of standard NATO ammunition.
With regard to the M60T armor, Israeli designers partially supplemented it with Merkavy-3 hinged, which does not guarantee protection against the Kornet / Cornet-EM anti-tank missile system, and even more so from the 125 caliber of Russian-made armor-piercing shells. According to the Chinese military and gunsmiths, the Turkish M60T is a second-generation tank with some elements of the third.
The experts described in detail the characteristics of the Russian T-90. Its strengths include the capabilities of the 2А46М-1 (caliber 125 mm), as well as fire control systems and automatic loader, which allow you to produce nine shots per minute or more. If necessary, the T-90 can produce up to four shots in 15 seconds.
The superiority of Russian night-vision devices, panoramic and infrared sights, allowing steady fire at a distance of two thousand meters, is noted. It also draws attention to the fact that the Russian tank’s ammunition is five shots more than the Turkish one, and the 3ВМ42 armor-piercing shells can hit objects with armor thickness over 550 millimeters at a distance of two thousand meters. The only drawback is the unstable operation of the ballistic calculator when firing on the move.
The engine and transmission of the Russian tank are distinguished by high reliability and the ability to work confidently even in the harshest conditions. The superiority of the T-90 over the Turkish M60T in the field of booking and active protection systems against armor-piercing shells and ATGM of various modifications is obvious. The only possibility for Turkish units to influence the actions of Russian armored vehicles is from an ambush or shelter, since the encounter in an open area will definitely end in the destruction of the M60T.
What can the fleet?
Offensive actions of the SAR AF units are provided not only by T-90, BTR-82 and Tiger armored vehicles. The close attention of analysts and gunsmiths of the PRC (as well as Turkish military intelligence) is drawn to Russian surface ships and submarines participating in the fight against IS.
According to Chinese experts, the Russian Navy is on the path to restoring combat capabilities, as evidenced by the serial construction of 636.3 diesel-electric submarines and small rocket ships (MRK) of the Buyan-M 21631 project, equipped with Caliber complexes. Depending on the carrier (ship or submarine), the modification of cruise missiles changes.
Russian diesel-electric submarines of project 636.3 in the amount of six units will form the basis of the Black Sea fleet in the field of countering submarines and surface ships of the Turkish Navy. To successfully confront modern diesel-electric submarines HDW209 and HDW214 (manufactured in Germany) by the Turkish Navy, Russian submarines should not reduce their torpedo arsenal in favor of missiles, which, as can be seen from the experience of the Syrian campaign, successfully hit ground targets at a great distance.
In the compact size of the 636.3 diesel-electric submarines, a reasonable distribution of ammunition is needed, however, according to Chinese military analysts, the adequate compartment with vertical launchers (PU) for cruise missiles, which will allow low-noise diesel-electric submarines to successfully deal with as surface ships and coastal targets. Probably, the Russian diesel-electric submarines will be equipped with four “Caliber-PL” and 14 torpedoes. Chinese military experts believe that the additional compartment in a submarine with vertical PU will not affect its seaworthiness.
It should be noted that the length of the Kalibr-NK rocket and its weight (a large amount of rocket fuel to ensure the range from 1500 to 2500 km) did not in the best way affect the seaworthiness of the Buyan-M MRK, since its total displacement is only 949 tons. However, Chinese experts admit that eight 3М14Т or 3М14S missiles are a serious strike force for such a ship.
The PLA Navy has submarines, nuclear and diesel-electric, which are comparable to Russian diesel-electric submarines of the 636.3 project. They include the “Type 32” type diesel-electric submarines, which was created as a laboratory for testing ballistic (2 vertical launchers), anti-ship and cruise missiles of various ranges “Changjian-10” (“Dongfeng-10”) and “Inji-18” (4 vertical PU).
According to the Chinese shipbuilders, the Russian "Buyany-M" are a model of modern military shipbuilding. They can compete with light frigates of the “056 type”, the only difference from which the MRC is the hydroacoustic station and the torpedo armament, which makes it possible to fight enemy submarines.
Chinese military experts are closely monitoring the use of the strategic Tu-22М3 RF VKS, which in January carried out the third series of bombings on the positions of the IG in Syria (the first was carried out in November, the second in December 2015). As you know, this aircraft is called "aircraft carrier killer."
The tactical and technical characteristics of the Tu-22М3 enable it to fly over a distance of about 5500 kilometers and carry out both missile and bomb strikes against ground and surface targets. The closest competitor in the PLA Air Force is the strategic Hun-6K bomber, which has an 3500 kilometers range. The difference between the Russian analogue is the indicator of the combat load, which varies from 12 to 24 tons, depending on the tasks and the type of weapons used.
Based on the analysis of photographic and video materials, specialists of the PRC military intelligence agencies concluded that far from all capabilities of the Tu-22М3 are used by the Russian Aerospace Force. Probably, the bombing load of “strategists” varies from three to five tons, that is, only FAB-250 / 270 are used in the amount of from 12 to 24 pieces. However, the Tu-22М3 can seriously improve the accuracy of strikes in the case of the use of adjustable or controlled planning aerial bombs, which are in the arsenal of the Russian Aerospace Force. In addition, these aircraft are capable of launching anti-ship missiles X-22 and X-32.
The interest of the PLA specialists in this sample is explained by the fact that Beijing needs a bomber of this class to defeat the carrier-based strike groups of the Navy of foreign states in the event of an armed conflict. Of particular interest to Chinese military engineers is the NK-32 engine (Soviet design), which provides the aircraft with a take-off weight of over 100 tons, a speed greater than 2 Mach (speed of sound) and a range over 5000 kilometers.
In a similar engine that provides flight at supersonic speeds, the advanced development of the Chinese military-industrial complex — the strategic bomber “Hun-10”, which is at the design stage, needs. To create their own power plant of this type, the specialists of the Chinese military-industrial complex will need 30 for years and several tens of billions of yuan. It has not yet succeeded in reproducing the Tu-22М3, although part of the technical documentation was transferred by partners from Ukraine, since before the collapse of the USSR, these aircraft were based on its territory. It is noteworthy that, in addition to the PRC, in acquiring the Tu-22М3, they are interested in India and Iran: the presence of such aircraft will make it possible to solve both military and political tasks.
Chinese analysts believe that by 2020, the structure of the Russian Aeronautical Science will be around 30 machines upgraded according to the Tu-22М3М program. As a result, new airborne electronic equipment and software of Russian production will appear on them, the working conditions of the crew will improve. In China, they believe that the tactics of using the Tu-22М3 in Syria (bombing from high altitudes) fully comply with the requirements for ensuring flight safety.
Massive air strikes are relevant for the destruction of columns of oil tankers, large infrastructure facilities IG. In addition, the “hail of lead and fire” during the actions of the Tu-22М3 has a powerful psychological effect: the terrorists try to avoid concentration and act in groups because they realize that a large gathering of manpower and equipment is definitely “worthy of attention” of Russian strategic bombers.
The second plane that attracted the attention of PLA Air Force officers and analysts is the Su-34 fighter-bomber, which in terms of its combat capabilities is not inferior to the American F-15E, F-35, Chinese JF-17 and JH-7, as well as early versions Su-30 (modifications MKK / MK2, MKI, MK2V, MKM), supplied to the aviation units of the naval forces of China, India, Vietnam and Malaysia. It should be noted that in comparison with the above-listed Su-34 aircraft is the most powerful, and therefore ensures the implementation of a wider range of tasks.
The 201 specialists of the Northern Group of Companies Research Institute (the NORINKO arms concern) carried out a detailed analysis of the Su-34 capabilities, equipment and weapons, the development of which began as early as 1986. The basis for its creation was the third-generation fighter Su-27, the first prototype under the designation T-10В-1 was tested in 1990-m, and the second was tested in the interests of the Russian Navy with the expectation of creating a deck version, but this direction was closed.
Chinese experts note that the first copies of this machine began to arrive in the Russian Air Force in 2006, however, the commissioning rate remained insignificant (two aircraft per year). The premiere of the Su-34 in a real combat situation is the five-day operation of the Russian Armed Forces to force Georgia to peace, during which these aircraft first interfered with the Georgian air defense radar and then destroyed them with anti-radar missiles.
With the 2010 of the year, the Su-34 aircraft are equipped with modern AL-31-M1 / M2 engines and the auxiliary power unit TA14-130-35, which provides power to the systems in the absence of airport maintenance.
According to the designers of the Chinese military-industrial complex, the Su-34 fighter-bomber complements the capabilities of the strategic Tu-22М3, since with a full combat load of eight tons it can use all existing air-to-ship, air-to-ship munitions. The onboard guidance system ensures the use of highly accurate, adjustable and guided planning bombs of various calibers, the probable deviation of which ranges from three to five meters. Such accuracy is necessary when destroying disguised and fortified strongholds, headquarters and warehouses of IS militants in Syria.
According to experts from the Middle Kingdom, Su-34 can be attributed to the generation of aircraft "4 ++" because it is able to destroy ground and surface targets, resist fighters and enemy air defense systems, as well as provide cover for the actions of ground forces for a long time due to refueling .
Experts from the PLAC Air Force University of Aviation note that the increase in the number of Su-34 on Khmeymim airbase from 4 to 12 machines, as well as the redeployment of four Su-35 fighters from the air base in the Astrakhan region, is due to the complexity of the situation in the northern direction of the SAR aircraft attack.
At the present stage of the fight against the IS, pilots of the Russian Aerospace Forces pilots supporting the Syrian government forces are operating in the immediate vicinity of the air defense and Turkish air forces. Under these conditions, the military-political leadership of Russia decided to reinforce the air component with modern aircraft (Su-34 and Su-35), which can both ensure the fulfillment of the combat mission and prevent any attempts to "fire from the corner."
As for the use of electronic warfare systems in Syria, the example of high-quality countermeasures to American reconnaissance aircraft and satellites is the operation of EW 1L269 “Krasuha-2” and 1RLK257 “Krasuha-4” mobile stations, which successfully “blinded” the radio-reconnaissance systems of the following aircraft, BLA and US Air Force satellites: Early Radar Detection and Control (ERA) “E-8”, reconnaissance aircraft RC-135W Rivet Joint and RC-135S Cobra Ball, reconnaissance-impact UAV MQ-1 “Predator” (airborne radar J-band on), Global Hawk's strategic reconnaissance drone (J-band airborne radar), Lacrosse and KN satellite reconnaissance satellites (S-band stations).
In addition, the EW RF complexes block the work of the equipment of the reconnaissance aircraft "E3 Sentry" (S-band radar) and the MQ-9A Reaper UAV, the British Air Force (X-band), the DRLOiU E-7T Turkish Air Force. The complexes of the Russian electronic warfare interfere with the communication systems of these devices with command centers within 150 – 300 radius from the place of deployment at the Hmeimim airbase and TTP in Tartus.
The Chinese experts from 56, 57, 58 of the 3 Management Institute and 29, 36 and 38 of the Research Institute of 4 Management of the PLA General Staff, concluded that under the conditions of their active work Impossible to use a Chinese-made CH-3,4 UAV. The equipment for communication and control of UAVs of this model is not able to function under the conditions of “addressable” radio-electronic suppression.
In addition to EW, radio and radio intelligence is an integral element of modern armed conflicts. The Russian Aerospace Forces in Syria use the Il-20 reconnaissance aircraft, which provides a radar survey of the terrain, takes its photographs and intercepts open radio communications. Chinese experts believe that its equipment allows the interception and processing of cellular signals and satellite telephony.
Air Force expert Sun Xiaojun notes that Il-20 is somewhat inferior to modern American aircraft in terms of its technical capabilities; however, adopting Il-214P (currently operating two units) will allow for longer reconnaissance flights over Syria, and its equipment will give information and activities of the Turkish Armed Forces.
Analysts of the China Aviation Industry Corporation No. 1 (AVIC-1), the main manufacturer of equipment for the PLA Air Force, remind that the specialists of the Russian Federation have designed a promising fire support aircraft Il-114TOP.
Retired rear admirals Zhang Zhaozhun and Yi Zho celebrate the activities of the medium reconnaissance ships of the Russian Navy (Black Sea Fleet CER-201 Priazovye, Pacific Fleet CER-208 Kuriles and Baltic Fleet CER-231) whose electronic systems provide for the interception of militant talks IGs via radio and satellite communications, as well as monitor the radio communications of aviation and the fleet of NATO member countries located in the eastern part of the Mediterranean Sea.
Chinese experts do not depend on the domestic domestic political situation and are neutral and objective in their attitude towards Russia. The more important their ratings are both positive and critical.