How Russia plans to modernize its military in 2022

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Joseph P Chacko
Joseph P Chacko
Joseph P. Chacko is the publisher of Frontier India. He holds an M.B.A in International Business. Books: Author: Foxtrot to Arihant: The Story of Indian Navy's Submarine Arm; Co Author : Warring Navies - India and Pakistan. *views are Personal

The modernization of the Russian military has become a key element of Russian power ambitions. Russia is in the mid phase of implementing a State Armament Program for 2018-2027. 

For 2022, Russia plans induction of the latest tanks, aircraft and helicopters, missiles and warships. The Russian Armed Forces will receive hundreds of modernized and completely new military equipment units, including weapons, which were only seen at exhibitions and private shows. 

The Land forces

The Russian Army is scheduled to receive over 400 armoured vehicles this year, as per Russia’s Defense Ministry.

According to the Main Armored Directorate of the Ministry of Defense, the state tests of a whole family of promising equipment will be completed in the coming year, and its serial production will begin. The list includes equipment based on Armata universal platform – the main T-14 tank, the T-15 heavy infantry fighting vehicle, the T-16 repair and recovery vehicle, and the 2S19 chassis based 2S35 Koalitsiya-SV self-propelled howitzer. These constitute the most advanced equipment in the Russian Army and possibly worldwide.

The world’s only tank of the third post-war generation T-14 is designed for combat in direct contact with the enemy, supporting the offensive of motorized rifle units and destroying targets in shelters and open areas. Its trademark is an uninhabited tower: the crew is housed in an armoured capsule in front of the vehicle. Modern dynamic and active protection systems, electronic warfare equipment, and T-14 missiles protect the tank from enemy shells. Russians say that the 125mm, 2A82-1M gun outperforms the best NATO tank guns.

Both the T-14 and T-15 have undergone changes in the past few years. It includes enhanced armour protection of the upper frontal zone and the new armament of the BMP. Initially, the T-15 was equipped with the Boomerang-BM combat module with a 30-mm 2A42 cannon. Then, the equipment was displayed with a more powerful 57-mm gun AU-220M “Baikal” during exhibitions. The self-propelled guns “Coalition-SV” also have many improvements that have significantly increased its combat capabilities.

2S35 Koalitsiya-SV self-propelled howitzer - Stanislav Krasilnikov/TASS - Russia plans to modernize its military
2S35 Koalitsiya-SV self-propelled howitzer – Stanislav Krasilnikov/TASS

In addition to new products, the Russian Ground Forces are receiving well-mastered modernized equipment, including the T-72B3M, T-90M, T-80BVM tanks, BMP-3 and BMP-2M infantry fighting vehicles with the Berezhok combat module, BTR-82A armoured personnel carriers, self-propelled guns ” Msta-SM “. In addition, the Pantsir-SM-SV anti-aircraft missile-gun complex, the Derivation-Air Defense anti-aircraft artillery complex, and the next generation Metka MANPADS will soon be inducted.

Army aviation will be reequipped with 15 Ka-52M Alligator helicopters. The modernization program of the helicopter was completed in record time; the prototype took off in the summer of 2020. “Alligator” was equipped with a new sighting and navigation system, radar with an active phased antenna array, reinforced landing gear, missiles “Attack”, “Vikhr” and “Vikhr-M”. It is important to note that the work was carried out, taking into account the use of previous versions in Syria.

Russian Aerospace Forces

In 2022, more than 200 units of equipment and special equipment will be purchased for the Aerospace Forces, increasing the share of modern weapons to a record 89 per cent. In particular, the formations will receive Su-35S and Su-30SM fighters, Su-34 bombers, S-350 and S-400 air defense systems. The modernized strategic bomber Tu-160M, built from scratch at the Kazan Aviation Plant, will take to the air for the first time. Two Tu-160M ​​equipped with new weapons will join long-range aviation this year. 

The program of the fifth generation fighter Su-57 will also enter a new stage. The Aerospace Forces hope to master 12 production Su-57’s in this year. The state corporation “Rostec” Sergei Chemezov said that the second stage engine tests would soon be completed. The first Su-57 with a new power plant will be tested in 2022. All in all, the Aerospace Forces will purchase 76 Su-57’s in the long term.

S-300V4 system
S-300V4 system. Image Tass

The UAV fleet is also growing. In 2022, the Kronstadt company will launch serial production of UAVs in Dubna, Moscow region. This means that the Russian forces will receive many of the latest drones, particularly the surveillance and attack “Pacers” UAV. The series will be followed by the Sirius, Thunder and Lightning UAVs in the later years.

One of the high-profile premieres in 2022 will be the S-500 Prometheus anti-aircraft missile system. The first brigade kit entered service with the 15th Army of the Aerospace Forces covering Moscow in October 2021. However, formally, the complex has not yet passed state tests. They are expected to be completed in 2022, and “Prometheus” will go into serial production. A feature of the S-500 is the ability to destroy both aircraft, helicopters and drones, and ballistic missiles in near space.

Russian Naval Forces

The star induction for the Navy in 2022 will undoubtedly be the Zircon hypersonic anti-ship cruise missile. At the end of November, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced that the system would be sent to the fleet in the coming months. “Zircon” – the first in the world capable of continuous aerodynamic flight with manoeuvring. Zircon missile will arm both surface ships and submarines. The maximum speed is Mach nine, and the range is one thousand kilometres. The missile is believed to be invulnerable to modern shipborne air defense and missile defense systems.

Project 22350 frigate Admiral Gorshkov firing a Tsirkon Hypersonic Missile
Project 22350 frigate Admiral Gorshkov firing a Tsirkon Hypersonic Missile. Russian MoD image

The fleet will also be replenished with carriers of new weapons. The shipbuilders expect to hand the Admiral Golovko multipurpose frigate to the sailors – the third pennant of Project 22350. In the summer, the media reported that this ship would be the first to receive the Zircons as standard armament. The missile might equip the Project 22800 Karakurt small missile ships. In 2022, the Russian Navy is expected to receive such pennants – “Cyclone”, “Tempest”, and “Askold”. In addition, it is planned to test a promising stealth corvette of Project 20386 “Mercury”, which, according to the Russians, this ship threatens even the aircraft carriers.

Two nuclear-powered submarines, the Borei project strategic nuclear submarine Generalissimus Suvorov and the Krasnoyarsk multipurpose attack submarine of the Yasen-M project, will strengthen the submarine fleet. Also, the seamen will receive the first two serial diesel-electric submarines of the Lada project – Kronstadt and Velikie Luki.


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