With These 5 U.S. Weapons, Russia (Yes, Russia) Would Be Unstoppable
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You should note the following: The Russian military remains extremely dangerous. However, it is still struggling with the legacy of the Cold War. The decline in the Russian economy and the drop in oil prices have also not helped. However, there is every reason to believe that the Russians understand their military deficiencies and are working hard to fix them.
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During the Cold War, the Soviet Union and the United States fought to find each other's best weapons. The MiG-25 informed the F-15; the Tu-95 "Backfire" was similar to the B-52; Submarines and tanks were designed with their competitors in mind.
When the Cold War ended, the USSR lost the ability to compete with the United States in many key areas. The collapse of the Soviet-military-industrial complex after the fall of the Soviet Union only exacerbated this problem. Even though the Russian military is still huge, it still has major shortcomings compared to the United States. Here are five areas where Russia wants to have the capabilities that the United States now has.
Fifth generation fighters
Five years ago, Sukhoi PAK FA Russia was supposed to help close the gap between US and Russian front-line fighters. Today the program is experiencing problems, and technical and economic factors are dramatically reducing planned orders. The USA, on the other hand, have successfully integrated the F-22 Raptor into the Frontline service.
While Russia continues to build and operate impressive fighters, none of them can be compared to the Raptor. Until the PAK FA or a successor aircraft goes into service, the United States has a decisive advantage in the game of air superiority.
Although Russia has started to use precision-guided ammunition on a larger scale in Syria than in Georgia or Ukraine, the use of this type of weapon still lags behind the United States. Part of the reason is teaching; The Russian military tends to be less sensitive to collateral damage than the US military. Another part is that Russia is still lacking the large inventory of PGMs that the United States has built up over the decades. In addition, Russian aircraft are usually lacking the sensor pods that characterize most western aircraft in air-to-ground missions. This makes a Russian air campaign a very different (and in a way less effective) endeavor than its western counterpart.
Of course, it doesn't matter if you can hit something precisely if you don't know where to strike. In the waning years of the Cold War, military thinkers in the Soviet Union realized that the ability to integrate long-distance strike and information technology would characterize dominance in the next military era. They also understood that the Soviet Union lacked the national innovation system necessary to compete with the United States in advanced computer and communication technologies.
Some of these factors have changed, others have not. The Russian military still lacks the intelligence, communication, and coordination skills that characterize the American way of waging war. While the Russian forces have fought effectively in Georgia, Ukraine and Syria, additional drones, light communication devices, satellite guidance and high-speed computers could make the military far more powerful.
In 2010, Russia signed a contract with France to purchase four Mistral-class amphibious assault ships. France would build the first two and help Russia build the second pair. The ships would fill a blatant hole in Russian amphibian war skills that had been unused since the end of the Cold War.
But it shouldn't be. The Russian conquest of the Crimea and the invasion of Ukraine led to France canceling the transfer and Russia no longer having modern amphibious warships. If the Russian Navy had bought the Mistrals, they might be just off the Syrian coast. Instead, the Navy relies on older ships, while the shipbuilding industry struggles to assemble large, modern ships.
Russia continues to struggle with its outdated conscription system. This system comprises a remarkably small percentage of the eligible Russian population (it is estimated to be only 11 percent of men aged 19 to 27), and military authorities generally consider conscripts to be particularly inferior. In essence, most young men with good health, education, and prospects manage to bypass the design. In fact, this makes a large part of the Russian army unusable for any practical purpose.
Russia has developed a number of plans to professionalize its army, but continues to face cultural problems (conscription is deeply rooted in the army, and even the Eastern European countries that have joined NATO have struggled to move forward) with financial constraints . A volunteer army with a professional corps of non-commissioned officers would work wonders to improve Russia's military effectiveness.
The Russian military remains extremely dangerous. However, it is still struggling with the legacy of the Cold War. The decline in the Russian economy and the drop in oil prices have also not helped. However, there is every reason to believe that the Russians understand their military deficiencies and are working hard to fix them.
Robert Farley, who frequently contributes to National Interest, is the author of the Battleship Book. He is a lecturer at the Patterson School of Diplomacy and International Commerce at the University of Kentucky. His work includes military doctrine, national security, and maritime affairs. He blogs with Lawyers, Guns and Money, Information Dissemination and the diplomat. This first appeared a few years ago.
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