The present Russian-Ukrainian crisis, whatever its conclusion, will have enabled Moscow to make an extraordinary show of force in Europe, to the point that no European country, even those closest to Kiev, plans to engage militarily alongside the Ukrainian armies in case of conflict. And it is clear that these Russian armies have succeeded in mobilizing, moving and assembling around a hundred combined arms tactical battalions, the Russian equivalent of the French inter-arms tactical groups, i.e. 65% of its land operational force, and this between the of November and the beginning of February. By way of comparison, the French Army today estimates that it is capable of mobilizing a combat division, i.e. 3 brigades and a dozen GTIAs, within 6 months, without taking into account the movement of the units. towards their areas of engagement, even though they are, in this area, unquestionably the most operational forces of the European armies.
In fact, Moscow has indisputably just created an extremely favorable balance of power in Europe, without even having to bring in its nuclear power, putting Europeans under great pressure. Unfortunately for them, this state of affairs will not evolve favorably in the years to come, Moscow having several areas of progress planned to significantly increase the power of its armed forces by 2030, and thus deepen the balance of power even further. in his favor in Europe. More precisely, these axes of progression are four in number: the technological evolution of armies, the effects of professionalization, the National Guard and, finally, the effects of global geopolitical redistribution.
Future technological developments within the Russian armies
The celebrations of the 70th anniversary of the end of the Great Patriotic War, on May 9, 2015, was an opportunity for the world to discover many new materials destined to transform the Russian armies in the years to come, such as the battle tank of new generation T-14 Armata, the T-15 heavy infantry fighting vehicle, the Kurganet 25 medium tracked AFV/APC, the 8×8 Boomerang AFV/APC, and the Koalitziya SV self-propelled gun. In the air domain, the Russian aeronautical industry was developing the Su-57 Felon but also the S-70 Okhotnik-B heavy combat drone, and was engaged in the development of a stealth strategic bomber and a new generation. A new generation of surface ships, such as the Admiral Gorshkov frigates and project 20380/20385 corvettes, and submarines with the SSK Lada, SSN Yassen and SSBN Borei were also under construction, while the Super Gorshkov, the Leader nuclear cruisers and the new generation SSN Laïka marked the revival of the Russian Navy. 7 years later, it is clear that many of these facilities are still not in service, and that some of them are not expected, significantly, before 2025 or even 2030.
However, the Russian armies have undergone a phase of intense modernization since the start of the reforms of 2008, following the Georgian War, favoring the acquisition of upgrades to existing equipment rather than accelerating the development of new generation. Thus they received in a little over ten years, more than 2500 modernized heavy tanks T-72B3(M), T-80BVM and T-90M, as well as 400 combat planes Su-35, Su-34 and Su-30SM, all presenting a much more interesting quality-price ratio for the modernization of the Russian armies at this time. Thereby, a T-14 Armata would cost, according to the declarations of the Russian industry, nearly 5 million $ per unit, the equivalent of 2 T-90M, and more than 3 T-72B3M. A Su-57, for its part, would cost 2,5 times more than a Su-30SM, yet a device already perfectly capable. In fact, between 2008 and today, the Russian armies have favored the acquisition of modernized equipment in quantity over that of new generation equipment in reduced quantities, so as to achieve the objective of 70% modern equipment in 2021. covered by the Russian programming law, and this in just 10 years of investment.
From now on, the situation is quite different, and the end of the current GPV will mark a clear transition towards the entry into service of new generation equipment, certainly much more expensive, but with a much longer planning to acquire it now that the initial modernization has been reached. In fact, by 2030, the Russian armies will have effectively started the modernization of their units towards this new generation equipment, such as armored vehicles from the Armata, Kurganet and Boomerang families, the Su-57 fighter planes, the S-70 drone and possibly the Su-75 checkmate light fighter, Super Gorshkov destroyers as well as the S-350, S-500 and S-550 anti-aircraft and anti-missile systems alongside the S-400, Buk-M and Tor . Beyond these major programs, many additional equipment will also enter service, such as the Grom airborne combat drone or the hypersonic anti-ship missile Tzirkon, allowing the Russian armies not only to catch up, but sometimes to surpass their Western counterparts technologically and European Unions, while maintaining a significant operational mass due to previous programs.
The effects of the professionalization of the armies
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