The Saker: “Making sense of a few rumors about Russian aircraft, tanks, and aircraft carriers”

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The Saker: "Making sense of a few rumors about Russian aircraft, tanks, and aircraft carriers"

Written by The Saker; Originally appeared at The Unz Review

Russians are typically good at some things, and not so good at others.  One of the things which Russian politicians are still terrible at, is avoiding self-inflicted PR disasters.  Remember how Russian officials mismanaged the entire topic of “S-300s for Syria” (if not, then check out “part six” of this analysis)?  Something similar is happening again, but this time with the procurement of new advanced and expensive weapons systems.

We have all seen the “Russia is canceling the Su-57!” and “Russia cannot afford the new Armata T-14 tank!” headlines. Pretty soon I expect to see something along the lines of “US sanctions force Putin to abandon the XXXX” (fill the blank with whatever weapon system you want).  So is there any truth to any of that?

Well, yes and no.

Aircraft and main battle tanks

What is true is that Russian officials have been way too eager to declare that the Russian military will soon have many weapons systems much superior to anything produced in the West. Alas, these same officials rarely bothered explaining where, why, when and how many of these weapons systems actually would be deployed. That kind of ambiguous message makes it look like Russia is zig-zagging (again!). Perfect example: Russia deploys 4 Su-57s to Syria and then appears to more or less cancel or, at least, dramatically reduce the procurement of this weapons system.  The reality is both much simpler and a little more complex.  And to explain what is taking place we need to first understand the difference in military procurement in the West and in Russia.

In the West, the main goal of any procurement of any weapons system is the transfer of as much money as possible from the government to the pockets of the private individuals controlling the Military-Industrial Complex. Put differently, Western force planning (especially in the US) is not threat or mission-driven, but profit driven. And while some outrageously expensive weapons systems do get canceled (like the Boeing–Sikorsky RAH-66 Comanche attack helicopter), other even more expensive and poorly designed ones remain funded (such as the F-35). This is the kind of situation only a fantastically corrupt country with no real threat to itself can afford. In contrast, Russia is far less corrupt and has potential enemies right across most of her borders.

In contrast, Russian force planning is threat/mission driven.  This means that before the Russian military decides that it needs X number of Su-57 or T-14s it has to make the case that there is a threat which only Su-57s and T-14s can counter (or, at least, that it makes more sense – human, economic or tactical – to use new systems)

During the Cold War, the general rule (there were exceptions, of course!) was that the US was typically the first side to deploy a new technology/capability which the Soviets then studied before developing a counter-capability once the strengths and weaknesses of the new US technologies/capabilities were fully understood. The price to pay for that method was that the Soviets were usually one step behind the US in deploying a new technology. The main advantage of this dynamic for the Soviets was that their weapons systems typically ended up being both cheaper and superior. A good example of this kind of dynamic is the development of the Su-27 in response to the US development of the F-15 or the development of the Akula-class SSN in response to the Los Angeles-class SSN by the USN.

Today the situation is quite different.  If you compare Russian and western weapons systems (say, the latest versions of the Su-35/Su-30s vs the latest versions of the F-15s/16s/18s or the T-90/T-72B3/B3M vs the Abrams/Leopard MBTs) you realize that the current Russians systems are at least as good as their US/EU counterparts, if not better. This happened because with the official end of the Cold War US/EU force planners decided to waste money on hugely expensive weapons systems instead of modernizing their aging aircraft or tanks. After all, 20-30-year-old tanks and aircraft were more than adequate to deal with such “threats” as Iraq or Yugoslavia, so why waste the money: nobody expected Russia to be able to rebound as fast as she did.

All this begs the question of what threats the Su-57s or T-14s were supposed to deal with?  Logically this threat would have to be a threat which already existing Su-35s or modernized T-72/80/90s could not deal with.  Can such threats be identified?  Probably yes, both in the West and, in the case of aircraft, in the East.  But how big (in terms of numbers) this threat will actually be is a huge question.  For example, I would argue that the only strategic direction in which the deployment of T-14 would make sense is the West, specifically for the First Guards Tank Army which would have to fight NATO in case of a war. And even in this case, there is an optimal mix of old/new MBTs inside the two divisions composing the backbone of this Army which would make more sense than replacing all their current MBTs with T-14s (this will be especially true if a 152mm gun version of the Armata is ever deployed). As for deploying the T-14s to the South or East of Russia, it would make no sense at all since no opposing force in these directions would have armor superior to the Russians. In the case of air-power, this issue is not so much a geographical one (tactical air-power can be rapidly moved from one location to another one) as it is the number of F-22s/F-35s/(X-2s?) the US and its allies could deploy against Russia (assuming air-to-air refueling and that the F-35 actually works as advertised).

[Sidebar: in reality only comparing tactical aircraft to tactical aircraft and MBTs to other MBTs is a gross oversimplification; in the real world you would have to compare the full spectrum of capabilities of both sides, such as MBTs vs anti-tank weapons or attack helicopters (in the case or air combat this would be even much more complicated), so I kept it simple just for illustration purposes.]

For the foreseeable future, the threat to Russia will come from the latest iterations of the F-16/15/18s in which case the Su-35s/Su-30SM/Mig-25SMT/MiG-35/MiG31BM will be more than enough to deal with that threat, especially with their new radar+missile combos. And for a more advanced threat, a combination of Su-57s and already existing generation 4++ aircraft makes more sense than trying to deploy thousands of 5th generation aircraft (which is what the US is currently doing).

Finally, there is the issue of exports.  While exports can help finance the costs of new and very pricey systems, the export potential of already existing Russian systems is much bigger than the one of recently deployed systems.  Originally, the Russians had hoped to basically co-develop the Su-57 with India, but the pressures of the very powerful pro-US lobby inside India combined with differences in design philosophy and technical requirements have made the future of this collaboration rather uncertain.  Of course, there is China, but the Chinese also have to ask themselves the question of how many Su-57 they would really want to purchase from Russia, especially considering that they have already purchased many Su-35s and are still working on their own 5th generation aircraft.

The Cold War years illustrate how the Soviet Union dealt with this problem: both the advanced and expensive Su-27 and the cheaper, but still very effective, MiG-29 were developed and deployed more or less simultaneously (along with some very good missiles) and while the Sukhoi was a much more complex aircraft with a much bigger upgrade potential, the MiG was cheap, fantastically maneuverable and superbly adapted to it’s “front line fighter” mission in spite of not even having fly-by-wire! It is therefore hardly surprising that Russian force planners today would like similar options.

Which makes me wonder which major weapon procurement program will be “mothballed” next?

Russian aircraft carriers and aircraft-carrying assault ships

My vote goes for the much announced Russian Project 23000 “Storm” super aircraft carrier (check out this article by Andrei Martyanov on this topic). Without going into the issue of whether Russia needs aircraft carriers and, if yes, what kind exactly (I personally think that the Russian Navy has more important programs to spend money on), it strikes me as extremely premature to declare, in 2018, that Russia plans to deploy not one, but three or even four (!), such super aircraft carriers.  The reality is that for the foreseeable future budgetary and technological constraints will only allow Russia to build one carrier and that that carrier will probably be what Martyanov calls a “niche” carrier.  Oh sure, if the Russian military budget was anywhere near the US one and if the Russian MIC was anywhere near as corrupt as the one of the United States, three or four carriers would be possible, but as long as every ruble has to be accounted for and justified through a comparison of  opportunity costs and mission requirements, this will not happen.  I am still waiting to see if the Russian Navy will ever get the promised “Priboi” universal assault ships to replace the French “Mistrals” and, if that happens, what the Priboi-class will actually look like, how they will be equipped and when they will be accepted for operation by the Russian Navy.

Conclusion: less hype, more common sense please!

Russia has, and will developed, new, expensive and advanced weapons systems simply because she needs to maintain the technological and industrial capabilities to keep up with the evolving threats. You cannot build a 6th generation fighter if you have not ever developed a 5th-generation one. However, Russia has had to tackle the immensely complicated task of replacing all the systems components previously developed abroad (say, in the Ukraine) with indigenous ones. Following western sanctions, it has become absolutely self-evident that Russian weapons systems must be built exclusively with Russian technologies and components (which, by the way, their US counterparts are not). While Russia did benefit from the brain-drain from the Ukraine (and other ex-Soviet republics) which saw many highly skilled engineers and scientists leave following the collapse of the Ukrainian industrial base, Russian resources have still been severely stretched by the urgent need to create a truly autonomous military-industrial complex, most of it ex nihilo.  Furthermore, there are still technological and industrial bottlenecks which need to be dealt with before Russian can produce her new weapon systems in sufficient numbers (that is especially true of large warships).  As of today, the goal of full “import substitution” has not been fully realized, even if immense progress towards it has already been made.

The one thing Russia could – and should – immediately do is learn how to present a consistent and balanced message to her public opinion.  Every time loud and triumphant declarations are followed by more sober assessments, the anti-Putin forces in Russia (and abroad) scream to high heavens about “Putin” having promised the sky and delivered nothing (again, the entire mess with S-300s for Syria is a perfect example of this).  So yes, Russia public relations still often suck.  But there is nothing wrong with Russian force planning.

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  • James

    What I really find fascinating in the amount of ingenuity found throughout their military. Us Westerners are so used to the Hollywood glitter of the US military that it draws attention away from where all the money has to be borrowed from, or be diverted away from social resources. It seems like the US military capabilities in future will be significantly reduced by how much money it’s going to cost to maintain and deploy them.

    As for the Russian military, my guess is the Storm project won’t be started for MANY more years. I think they will have to deal with increasing sanctions, and consequently, forced to choose more urgent vessels such as small-missile boats and patrol craft for their huge border and threat from multiple directions.

    • John Whitehot

      I was about to upvote, but when I got to the following:

      ” I think they will have to deal with increasing sanctions,” I went watching a plant grow instead.

      • James

        Each to their own :)

  • Nigel Maund

    Excellent commentary as ever from “The Saker”.

  • occupybacon

    Long story on short: don’t you dare to say SU-57 was cancelded because of sanctions! F-35 is a bad plane!

  • Manuel Flores Escobar

    Russia tested its best weapon in Syria..the kalibr missile!..it means for example that US bases in Jordan,Qatar,Sigonella(Italy) and Romania..could be an easy target fro these cruise missile launched by ships and Subs that were deployed during the last US&Allies attack vs Syria… Buyan class corvette and Geopard in Caspian sea, Frigates and Subs deployed in east mediterranean, Subs and corvettes in Black sea…while Tu 95/160(KH-101) and Kalibr from land plataform in Russia… could continue attacking airbases (with cruise missile) in Central Europe through Belarus and Ukraine!…

    • Concrete Mike

      Yes kalibr has performed well. I think the most impressive for me is the Buyan corvettes,such firepower in a small package it’s great.

      It would have been cool to see t14 deploy but not a good idea, every reaper drone around would have been after them. I was also impressed with the upgraded t90, they did the job quite well.

    • putinbeater

      Why do you think, that they can not be shot down??

      • Manuel Flores Escobar

        because USA didnt develope efective short/medium range missile vs Kalibr…they have Patriot or Thaad vs ballistic missile…but not vs Kalibr or KH-101 made with stealth tech…

        • putinbeater

          patriots and others

  • Jesus

    “””Putin” having promised the sky and delivered nothing (again, the entire mess with S-300s for Syria is a perfect example of this). So yes, Russia public relations still often suck”””

    I do not know what sources Saker is using, however, it was the MOD that recommended the S300 deliveries to Syria from its existing stocks, not Putin; Putin was considering the request made by the MOD at the time the story appeared in the news.

    As far as deliveries of T14, and Suk57, the Russians do not have to telegraph their adversaries their procurement goals, and a carrier design will be ready in the in a few years, completion of the supercarrier is expected around 2030.

    Russia can make ambiguous statements about weapon procurements in order to confuse the mentally challenged neocons, and go on and procure T14 and Suk 57 in numbers they feel they need to maintain a qualitative and quantitative advantage on the battlefield.

    • Merijn

      If there is a War it will very Fast turn from Conventional into Nuclear…they won’t need any extra Toys…

      • Jesus

        That depends, MAD is becoming rather fragile, the Russians developing new weapons and anti ballistic missile systems that will render US triad highly vulnerable. During a conventional skirmish, Russia could display the capability of their new weapons that have conventional and nuclear capability, whereby US will be terrified and pull back realizing crossing the nuclear threshold will mean their end.

        • Merijn

          Sounds like a good alternative…

    • zman

      I find the Saker interesting to read, sometimes I even learn something. But his need for them to clarify the Kremlin/Putin positions seems strange to me, because I fully understood the S300 ploy used. It was understood by all that kept up as to why Syria did not receive them years ago. The MOD and Lavrovs remarks were more for subtle threats as to what the Russians could do in response to continued provocation. There never was any promise of delivery. Those that did not understand this simply were reading into statements what they wanted to see. Then of course armchair strategists continued to say that these systems were needed. They were not. In fact, by not doing so, they removed the temptation of downing a western/Israeli craft and widening, therefore expanding and lengthening, this conflict. So far I have found very little to criticize the Russians about. They must be doing something right…as the old saying goes…the proof is in the pudding.

      • Jesus

        Syria did not receive the S300 years ago because Russia was still a member of G8, and they tried to acquiesce US demands, however, Libya, Ukraine and after repeated attacks by US against Syria, the Russian MOD made a plausible suggestion. Putin did not want to widen the conflict, even though the S300 would have been primarily handled by Russian crews with Syrians.
        Putin wants to end the conflict in Syria with the goal of kicking US out of there, he sees more value in political maneuvering than the brute force of arms.
        Putin wants to advance Russian interests in the ME in the most economical way.

        • Tommy Jensen

          Right, Russia were hoping US would come to their senses. Unfortunately they didnt.
          But we can still continue to hope that the sheeple will wake up and do something.

          • John Whitehot

            i don’t think that Russia ever hoped that the US comes to their senses – Russia being, among all countries, the one who knows the most about the criminal organization which is in power in the US.

            The only ones who should come to their senses is the US people, which should start seeing things differently than how they’ve been forced to see since decades.

            Idk what the price for that will be, nor when it will occur, but sooner or later it’s going to happen.

        • RichardD

          Saker and others, including Wikipedia, are reporting that the Syrians have S-300s now and just aren’t using them:

          “In an interview with the al-Manar channel, to be broadcast on Thursday, Assad reportedly confirmed that Moscow had begun to deliver the long-range S-300 air defence rockets. “Syria has received the first shipment … All our agreements with Russia will be implemented and parts of them have already been implemented,””

          – Bashar al-Assad says Russian S-300 missiles have arrived in Syria –

          https://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/may/30/assad-russian-s300-missiles-syria

          “The first information, with the reference to informed sources in the Tartus province, about the possibility of the delivery to the Syrian Arabic Republic of an unknown number of S-300 systems of unknown modification appeared across the space of the Western and Russian Internet approximately a week ago. It has been reported that the systems have been delivered to Syria in the dock for armored vehicles of the large amphibious assault ship “Nikolai Filchenkov” of the Russian Black Sea Fleet and unloaded under aerosol screen in order to hide from the watchful eye of the electron complex SYERS-2B/C installed in the rotary turret of the RQ-4B drone “Global Hawk”.

          The new was reinforced by the information from the online traffic monitors about the arrival to the airbase Khmeimim of the heavy transport aircraft AN-124 “Ruslan”, which in 2015 delivered to Syria the first C-400 “Triumf”, as well as the statement by the Syrian ambassador in Russia Riad Haddad that it has been a month since the Syrian Army have had S-300 in its arsenal.”

          – How the Russian General Staff is fooling the US and Israel –

          https://thesaker.is/syria-sitrep-how-the-russian-general-stuff-is-fooling-the-us-and-israel/

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/c61143592686a01fe937fea761ade2806eb7d75fd8dc53bfbee92025f61e7dad.png

          – Syrian Air Defense Force –

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Syrian_Air_Defense_Force

          • Jesus

            I read the stuff you mentioned, the aerosol screen deployed to obfuscate unloading of certain equipment…..etc. The point I was making is that the Russian MOD suggested the delivery of the S300 from existing stocks, while Putin was chewing on the concept. Putin never promised the Syrians the S300 as Saker alleges, the MOD made the suggestion.

            As far as Syria having S300, they might have parts of it, however, if they had an operational system in place they would have challenged IAF planes over Lebanon with greater and deadlier frequency.
            This is synonymous of Syria having the Yakhont missile, a deadly supersonic missile that can be directed against land targets as well, supposedly Syria received it, supposedly Israel attacked some of the shipment that was stored in a warehouse, yet Syria never fired one of them against anybody. Russians did fire Oniks against ISIS, testing their anti ship missile against ground targets.

          • RichardD

            The Syrians say that they have them:

            “the statement by the Syrian ambassador in Russia Riad Haddad that it has been a month since the Syrian Army have had S-300 in its arsenal”

            The President of Russia says that there is a contract to supply them:

            “Kleimyonov: Let me, nevertheless, clarify about the most modern S-300 systems.

            Vladimir Putin: Please.

            K. Kleimenov: There is a lot of talk around this: did Russia put these complexes to Syria or not?

            V.Putin: S-300 is not the most modern complexes. True, I think they are somewhat better in their parameters than the Patriots, but we already have the S-400 and the C-500 on the way. This is a very effective weapon, of course. We have a contract for the supply of the S-300”

            – Interview to the First Channel and the Associated Press Agency –

            http://kremlin.ru/events/president/news/19143

            It’s a war, it’s common for advanced weapons capability to remain classified, and what’s open source is only part of the information for security purposes. The reports that I’ve quoted indicate that Syria has more than partial systems.

            The SAA rarely if ever challenges the IAF outside of Syrian airspace. Most of Lebanon is in range of other systems just as effective as the S-300 at the ranges involved, like the Pantsir and Buk. The advantage for the S-300 is at longer ranges, which are unnecessary over Lebanese airspace. The level of upgrade of the S-200s is classified. The entire S series of missiles are inter-compatible to varying degrees. Not using S-300s yet, doesn’t mean that Syria doesn’t have operational systems for use on an as needed basis.

            The IAF is staying out of Syrian airspace with manned aircraft according to most reports. Because it’s to dangerous for them to operate in it anymore. The no fly zone is too effective. I don’t think that Syria not using S-300s doesn’t mean that they don’t have them. I think that it means that if they do have them, that it hasn’t been necessary to use them when other systems are just as effective at a lower cost, and with less exposure to S-300s being damaged in a counter attack when it’s unnecessary to use them when less expensive and more expendable systems can do the same job just as effectively.

          • maxii priestt

            absolutely true!

          • Jesus

            My view is, if you have them….use them. Buk M2 could reach over Lebanon if moved closer to the border, Pantsir is a point defense system to take out guided munitions, helicopters and low flying aircraft. S200 capabilities I do not believe approaches that of S300, however it packs a large warhead and its velocity and range are capable of making successful intercepts. If it is modernized where it is a fire and forget type of weapon, it can be deadly.

            The reason IAF is not flying over Syria is because of a warning delivered by Damascus/Kremlin that made it clear that in case of IAF incursions over Syria, Haifa will be targeted by ballistic missiles and attacked.

          • RichardD

            If the reports that Syria has S-300s are correct, they probably don’t have nearly as many as more expendable systems that would be much less of a loss if they’re damaged or destroyed in a counter attack. If they don’t need them right now because they’re not taking down aircraft outside of Syrian airspace, regardless of the system used. And Syrian airspace is adequately covered with equally effective, less expensive, and more expendable systems. I can see why they’re holding them in reserve.

            Even the Panstsir with the missiles can cover quite a bit of Lebanon:

            “The Pantsir-SM variant incorporates a multi-functional targeting station, increasing target detection range from 40 to 75 km (25 to 47 mi) and engagement range from 20 to 40 km (12 to 25 mi).[32] The system also uses a new high-speed extended range missile, and existing Pantsir systems can be upgraded to SM standard.[33] It is fitted to a new 8×8 Kamaz truck chassis with an armored cab.”

            – Pantsir missile system –

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pantsir_missile_system

            I’ve looked at the reports of the threat of a strike on Israel to stop the attacks on Syria. But the Jews have kept attacking anyways with no response, other than the Golan. So that in and of itself isn’t preventing the incursions with manned aircraft. If anything it was the Golan strike, not the threat of Scuds on Haifa, that strengthened an already strong no fly zone further. So yes, both offensive and defensive counter measures are being used to deter Israeli aggression and criminality.

            The upgraded Syrian/Russian IAD is the primary reason that the no fly zone is successful. And it may be extended into NE Syria as well as part of the clearing operations there once Idlib is finished.

      • Concrete Mike

        When you do things right, it seems like you did nothing at all.

      • frankly

        “In fact, by not doing so, they removed the temptation of downing a western/Israeli craft and widening, therefore expanding and lengthening, this conflict.”

        Preeminent observation. Imbedding Russian, specifically Chechen Muslim, Police forces into liberated areas, further reduced the F.uk.us and fellow demon’s ambitious plans for total destruction of Syrian infrastructure and life.

    • John Whitehot

      the issue “S300 and Syria” is one that has been remixed in all possible sauces and dressings.

      Why?

      It’s so easy. Because Israel would lose sleep over it, and if Israel can’t sleep over something the US starts blathering about that something.

      Folks, today’s world is easy, almost banal.

      Don’t let jews convince you otherwise.

      • Jesus

        Putin used the S300 as a bargaining chip, he extracted concessions from Israel, there are no freebies, Russia has been out of the G8, it cuts its own deals that benefit her.

    • Daniel Castro

      Problem is if they want to produce t14 and su57 in “numbers” they need to build major factories for both, and this hardly will go unnoticed.

      What happens is I really believe russians consider the weapons they have now suficient todeal with the west.

      • Jesus

        They can produce the tanks within existing facilities, 100 tanks were built and delivered already and approx. 60 more have been ordered. I think they can produce 200 tanks a year within the existing facilities they have. Similar proportions for the Suk 57, when the new engine becomes available you will see more of them. Russians are testing 6th generations concepts on the Suk 57 airframe, and it’s possible for the Suk 57 to be the stepping stone for the 6th generation aircraft.

        “””What happens is I really believe russians consider the weapons they have now suficient todeal with the west.”””

        That would be foolish to measure up to West’s platforms that are over 4 decades old and be satisfied with it.
        Why Khinzhal if you already have Kh101?
        Why the nuclear powered cruise missile if you already have Kalibr?
        Why Status 6 if you have highly capable torpedoes?
        Why T14 if you already have T90M or T72 B3?
        Why T15 if you already have BMP3?
        On so on and on.

        Russia using technological superiority in what they do best, will have platforms that are superior to what the West has to field or in the R & D pipeline, and they will be fielded intelligently considering Russian thrift.

        • Daniel Castro

          I get it, of course if they have to replace aging weaponsry they should do it with new designs, but what I mean is they don’t need to rush things, what they have now is ables to defend them a long time already.

          • Jesus

            What they currently have would cause high rates of attrition, even with superior strategy. Russia’s population does not compare with that of NATO, subsequently in case of war their weapons need to score kills anywhere from 2-4:1 against their opponents. Preserving manpower and inflicting heavy casualties on the enemy is a contrarian concept they used in WW2.

    • Tommy Jensen

      It shows Russia´s aggression toward the United States that they dont tell exactly what Russia do in the military area.
      This is extremely scary for all American citizens living peacefully with freedom in America.

      • Jesus

        American citizens should question their government for all the aisinine sanctions Neocons dream up, maybe the American citizens should round up all these unelected characters that define US policy, and deal with them.

  • chris chuba

    If the Russians are able to develop radio-photonic radar that would completely negate any advantage that the F35 has.

  • Merijn

    Mister Saker You just Became an Openly Disinfo-Agent…. Please Buzz Off… we are not waiting anymore how Good the West is with their Weaponry….because they have Piss-Poor Soldiers…We will take these Praetorian-Traitors out ONE by ONE… a Treacherous Army that Creates Terrorists & Operation Gladio-False-Flag-Attacks on their OWN Citizens…. CENTURIES OF LIES BECAME UNVEILED…..THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA & BRITISH EMPIRE WILL FALL….THEIR TIME HAS COME…a SUICIDAL NUCLEAR SAMSON-Option your only ESCAPE-ROUTE….

  • John Whitehot

    amateurish, and US pentagon influenced kind of analysis.

    it seems to me that it’s almost impossible for some people to disengage themselves from the assumptions that 50 years of zioUS propaganda burned in their minds.

    examples:

    “During the Cold War, the general rule (there were exceptions, of course!) was that the US was typically the first side to deploy a new technology/capability which the Soviets then studied before developing a counter-capability once the strengths and weaknesses of the new US technologies/capabilities were fully understood.”

    Exceptionally wrong.

    The Soviet Union adhered to its own doctrine in developing military technology.
    Actually, they developed lots of technology which have no US equivalent.
    But of course, the pentagon has been saying for 60 years that “Soviets are only able to copy our designs:.

    “You cannot build a 6th generation fighter if you have not ever developed a 5th-generation one”

    Ridiculous to say the least.

    Perhaps Saker thinks that the “generations” make any sense outside weapons manufacturers pamphlets – they don’t.

    “the MiG was cheap, fantastically maneuverable and superbly adapted to it’s “front line fighter” mission in spite of not even having fly-by-wire! ”

    idk if it was meant to be a joke – if it wasn’t, then the reality which is escaping the author is that a fighter jet is meant to be maneuverable – not to have fbw.
    If it was a joke, it may perhaps work with yanks who watch the war on cnn, but leaves anybody with a basic knowledge of aircraft a bit cold.

    Disappointing, but not really, I would have expected this kind of article coming out from there sooner or later.

  • Obi Juan

    The saker say: “Russians are typically good at some things, and not so good at others” and I can say that the saker is not good for anything. I am quite tired of his copy and paste articles about weapons mixed with his chauvinist strategic vision wich ussually is wrong.

    Russia is a sinking ship with no place between powerfull nations in the future. Who think that a 1.5 trillion economy have any place in the future between economies like the EU and USA with 20 trillions is out of touch with the reality.

    • Tommy Jensen

      The only problem is EU´s big countries and USA are indebted beyond border, called technically bankrupt.
      Thats why they are so agressive in looting other nations to pay off their debt to the bank…..LOL.

    • putinbeater

      Perfect!

  • frankly

    For me it just comes down to motivation. Does Russia feel threatened? How and why? How to mitigate threats without bankrupting the treasury? So sure if building obsolete equipment weakens your adversary, make them compete to build the biggest one. No worries it is not much of a weapon sitting on the blocks in a dry dock, fixing design flaws, creating yet another boondoggle.

    The new Littorals, the newest aircraft carrier, the F 35, even the fuel hog M1a, so much expensive hardware. Meanwhile the Syrians and Russians use aged aircraft with modern upgrades to decimate their enemies. Hell the US would be challenged to keep old aircraft in a museum, never mind win a war with them.

    Does the US feel threatened by massed forces with missile platforms and radars on their borders? Are their arms producers concerned with having their factories bombed? The equipment they produce says no, but we do wanna make some money. Plus we will share the money with you, if you stay off our case. What other business goes over budget year after year and still is rewarded with new contracts? Talk about aiding and abetting the enemy, yeah we didn’t lose any wars but paying for all the junk bankrupted US.

    What is threatened is the Petro-dollar. As the thin veneer of a civil US foreign policy is rubbed away by corruption and greed the world is awakening to the tricks. Making strong commitments to your allies, keeping your word on deals, creating win-win and acting with honesty, morality and integrity will ultimately unravel psychopathic plans for world domination.

    Threatening people with nothing left to lose is ultimately their best motivator. When you see kids throwing rocks in the direction of snipers the game is up. Your soul has a lethal disease and your group will fail, oh you might persist, but they will kill you with their bare hands, largely because, you deserve to be killed and they don’t. It’s just that simple.

  • Tommy Jensen

    Who sucks here? Garbage in, garbage out.

  • RichardD

    What this analysis doesn’t address is the possibility of Russian equipment facing Israeli equipment in a direct confrontation on a conventional or nuclear battlefield. Which is more than a remote possibility, because it’s very close to that right now. So yes, upgrading armor and aircraft to maintain superiority was a very wise decision on the part of the Russian government and military.

    The US and the rest of NATO may sit out another regional conflict with Israel. But they aren’t going to be quick to support Israel’s neighbors either. Who are going to turn to Russia for their equipment and other military needs.