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Protecting Troops On The Move: The Russian Experience

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Protecting Troops On The Move: The Russian Experience

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After a month and a half of war, Armenia lost against Azerbaijan’s forces in the battle of Nagorno-Karabakh. The conclusion of hostilities, apart from the gross mismanagement by Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan and the other Armenian leadership also came down to the woefully undermanned and underequipped forces that the Armenian side had.

The most significant advantage that Azerbaijan, with Turkish support, had was the air superiority. Azerbaijan used a large number of Turkish Bayraktar TB2, as well as Israeli-made UAVs to monitor and continuously strike Armenian positions.

Furthermore, there was the constant threat of strikes by Turkey’s F-16 fighter jets.

As such, there’s been quite a bit of discussion into how things could have gone differently, and how much focus should be placed on protecting one’s forces from air attacks, mostly from UAVs, but also from all other threats.

This is valid in the conventional sense, by defending static positions, but also while forces are on the move, since reports of Armenian (or Azerbaijani forces) being struck while moving towards a position were not uncommon.

As such, on November 17th, military blogger Vladlen Tatarskiy (that participated in the conflict in eastern Ukraine on the side of the Lugansk People’s Republic) ublished some insight into how Russia specifically defends its forces, while they’re on the move. The conclusions are based on a discussion with an unnamed expert, who saw a video Tatarskiy published earlier with Yuri Knutov, who is a well-known Russian military expert.

The entire discussion is below, and all the conclusions made through it:

“Vladlen, good evening. I watched your video with Knutov.

My thoughts on the video are as follows:

  1. The “Pantsir-S1” does not belong to military air defense and therefore cannot defend an armored personnel carrier on the march. This is an object air defense not of the front line of defense.
  2. EW (Electronic Warfare) works on the march – for example, Infauna, R-330BM, Foliage.
  3. The Tor-M2″ SAM protects against all drones, and the “kids” will be dealt with by the new system “Typhoon Air Defense” (an automated system for reconnaissance and target designation of MANPADS calculations) and the future system “Derivation of Air Defense”.
  4. Electronic warfare against drones is limited, it can cut operator-drone communication channels, and crush electronic stuffing.
  5. Supplementing air defense is the “Peresvet” laser complex – which “burns out” the optics on drones. Its current execution is object-based. At the same time, the development of a fully-operational military complex is in progress, at the testing stage.

Question: Do the Russian troops have all of this?

Answer: Some things are currently being delivered, some things are already commissioned, some things are being launched into serial production – everything is going according to plan!

Question: the same question for you: what is needed to cover the BTGr on the march from the air?

Answer: The minimum set is “Tunguska”, “Tor-M2” and MANPADS. Smoke ducts help well, because optics do not see targets in the smoke. Attack drones have weaker optics than scout drones.

Question: So, you’re saying that Tor-2m has not yet been delivered to the troops?

Answer: Tor-M2 is a key unit, its radar can see all drones, even those that are completely made of plastic and with electric engines. “Tor-M2” has entered the army since 2016. The Ministry of Defense signed a contract for its purchase for 100 billion rubles until 2025.

The limited conversation provides some interesting insight in how troops on the move can be defended, with just a few systems, which can be provide a very thorough coverage against UAVs.

Protecting Troops On The Move: The Russian Experience

Click to see the full-size image

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