Nikolai Novichkov, Moscow – IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly
05 May 2016
A fleet of new vehicles based on the BMD-4M/BTR-MDM chassis is be rolled out by the Russian Airborne Forces. Source: PA Photos
The re-equipment of Russian Airborne Forces (VDV) with new military hardware is a priority for the Russian Ministry of Defence (MoD) and is enshrined in the 2025 State Armament Programme, according to the VDV’s chief, Army General Vladimir Shamanov.
He said on 2 May that the “current course of international events” near Russia’s borders and in the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) countries has a tendency to aggravation. “Hence the VDV, being a mobile rapid task force, is to take the priority in the rearmament process. We are taking such priority, as the share of modern and upgraded equipment (for VDV) in the 2025 State Rearmament programme is increasing,” Gen Shamanov said.
Under the current armament programme the VDV was to be 30% armed with modern equipment by the end of 2015, and 70% by the end of 2020. “Last year we reported … that VDV was re-armed with new and upgraded military hardware [to a level of] 41%. Hence, we are ahead of schedule,” said Gen Shamanov. He mentioned that currently the VDV is receiving Ratnik advanced soldier kits, upgraded artillery and rocket-artillery systems, as well as new sniper rifles, small arms, and light weapons. Unmanned equipment for the service is also being developed, he added.
According to Gen Shamanov, the VDV will soon reveal its new 120mm Zauralets-D air-droppable self-propelled gun (SPG). “Zauralets-D will be demonstrated for the first time in the near future. The 120mm SPG will feature improved accuracy, firing range, and other specifications,” he said. Zauralets-D will be based on the same chassis as the BMD-4M and BTR-MDM vehicles, deliveries of which started in 2015.
The Russian defence industry is also producing a mock-up of the new Taifun (Typhoon) armoured vehicle intended for the VDV, Gen Shamanov said. “Russian industry has developed a 4×4 armoured car intended for special forces, and special and reconnaissance units of VDV under the Taifun programme.