Friday, September 12, 2008

Russian fighting machine is showing its age?

The Georgia invasion revealed a lot.

For an invading force from what used to be a military superpower, Russia's 58th Army did not look like a modern fighting unit. Victory came as a result of overwhelming numerical superiority and a textbook Soviet-style strategy based on detailed planning that leaves little room for flexibility. It was shock and awe by force of numbers, rather than by precision-guided weapons.

The Russians have learnt lessons from American campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan and from their own experiences in the Balkans, but the Georgia operation was old-style fighting with Cold War-era equipment.

The Russians arrived in Georgia not only with inadequately protected troop carriers but also lacking in airborne surveillance platforms to pinpoint targets for their gunners and bombers. They lost four aircraft, shot down by Russian-built Georgian anti-aircraft weapons. One of the aircraft was a Tupolev supersonic bomber (Tu22) known by Nato as a Blinder.
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