Russian Military Pursues ‘Artillery Reform’ (excerpt)
(Source: Eurasia Daily Monitor; posted October 16, 2019)
By Roger McDermott
Two Russian Army 2S19 MSTA-S self-propelled howitzers on maneuvers. Russian MoD photo)
Russia’s Armed Forces have undergone a prolonged transformation over the past decade as part of reform and modernization of Russian military capability. This has covered many facets involving numerous experiments and corrections.

However, the political-military leadership has not forgotten the key role traditionally assigned to artillery in Russian combat operations. In 1944, Soviet leader Joseph Stalin asserted in a speech that “artillery is the god of war.”

As the current modernization process continues, it appears that artillery systems are now playing an increasingly important role in efforts to boost the accuracy of fires. Artillery reform involves an experiment to increase the effectiveness of the Missile and Artillery Troops (Raketnyye Voyska i Artilleriya—RV&A) by developing new artillery models or modernizing existing systems as well as restructuring units and integrating these into the unified information space.

Some of this process draws on lessons learned from artillery use in Syria and recent tests in last month’s (September 16–21) strategic-operational exercise Tsentr 2019 (see EDM, October 9; VPK, October 8).

During Tsentr 2019, a number of test elements were included, involving widespread use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), new communications systems, command-and-control (C2) systems, electronic warfare (EW) assets, large-scale airborne assault forces, strategic mobility, and further examination of advances in the integration of artillery into the Reconnaissance-Fire System (Razvedivatel’nfaya-Ognovaya Sistema—ROS).

Moreover, military operations in Syria confirmed the advantage in terms of mobility of artillery units equipped with D-30 and 2A65 Msta-B howitzers as examples of towed artillery over the systems mounted on tracked chassis (see EDM, September 25).

The common theme in these modernization efforts is to unite systems in the information space, in order that artillery and precision missiles receive accurate targeting in real time and then execute high-precision fires. Artillery personnel receive target information from forward-spotters and UAVs, with all this transmitted in real time using the Strelets intelligence management and communications complex (Kompleks Razvedki Upravleniya i Svyazi—KRUS).

This was tried and tested in Syria. ROS, the Russian variant of network-centric warfare, aims to unite all units and subunits operating on the battlefield with automated C2 reporting identified targets; the information is gathered from UAVs and electronic intelligence equipment. The data is also transmitted to higher commands (VPK, October 8). (end of excerpt)

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