Syria War Discloses Shortcomings in Russian Long-Range Aviation

I saw this piece in VZGLIAD today.

Aerial Acrobatics Teams log many, many hours of practice.

As a software developer myself, I am aware how the true test of a new app is to just put it out there and let the users have at it.  For sure, you do as much testing as you possibly can, and you try to find the bugs, before releasing your love child into the world.  But Reality itself will always prove to be the best test.

War is like Show Business, except that people really die.

Same goes for people in show business.  Can you imagine a world in which you try to plan a big production, as meticulously as possible, but never have the chance for a full dress rehearsal?  On opening night, there are glitches in the orchestra, the staging, the settings, and one of the soloists calls in sick.

I suspect that it is the same in war.  And war is probably more like unto Theater than Software.  The endless years of drilling, training, aerial shows, marching bands, war games, etc.  But the terrible irony is that “War is Good for War”.  Nations which don’t wage many wars, probably have the least prepared armies.  Only because they don’t get enough rehearsal time; or enough testing to get all the bugs out before the curtain opens on the Really Big Show.

Photoshopped image from 2008 war. Anyone’s guess why they pasted Gaddafi in the background.

Before Syria happened (and, yes, I am deliberately ignoring Ukraine for now), Russia’s last real war was in 2008, the 5-day war for South Ossetia.  Although it was pre-destined that Russia win this small proxy land war against a NATO-trained army, the war itself revealed some glaring deficiencies in the Russian army training and organization.  The good news (for Russians) is that Russia learns from its mistakes.  The Russian army today is light years away (and better organized) than it was in 2008.

Similarly, the Russian air war in Syria has revealed some unexpected deficiencies in the Russian long-range aviation program, according to Anatoly Konovalov, Deputy Commander of Long-Distance Aviation for the Russian Air and Space Force (ВКС).

According to Konovalov, interviewed by the radio station, “Ekho Moskvy”, the two main deficiencies brought to light by the Syrian operation are (1) errors of flight crews in tough meterological conditions; and (2) technical problems in the use of airborn cruise missiles.

With ISIS on the run, Syrian army was able to re-take Homs from the Islamists.

Plans for mitigating these deficiencies include more training for pilots in specific, harsh meteorological conditions.  The problems with the cruise missiles are also being worked on.

Konovalov disclosed that Russia has, at this time, completed 145 bombing flights over Syria in its campaign against ISIS/ISIL.  In order to thwart Russia’s campaign, the European countries and Turkey have closed their respective air spaces to Russian bombers.  For this reason, the Russian pilots have been forced to fly longer routes around these closed air spaces; and this adds to the problems and deficiencies encountered by Russian long-distance aviation.

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2 Responses to Syria War Discloses Shortcomings in Russian Long-Range Aviation

  1. Lyttenburgh says:

    On a completely different topic – I’ve learned about it only today. Remember Jakov Iosifovich Kedmi, one of the most adequate Israeli analytics and political commenters on Russia? Well, in 2001 he had been barred from entering Russia – by FSB, no less. And now, it turns out, on Dec 5 this ban has been lifted!

    Well, we still don’t know the real reasons for his “ban” in Russia, and we also don’t know what kind of horse-trading took place to repeal this ban. Kedmi says that he didn’t ask anyone for that and that he also don’t believe that Israel’s government even tried to influence Russia in this regards. So… conspiracy time!


    • yalensis says:

      Wow! this is truly interesting “Celebrity Gossip”.
      One can only wonder what was going on behind the scenes.
      I’d love to be a fly on the FSB wall. Or maybe Mossad wall.

      So what happens next? This is so exciting!
      Will Yasha be calling “Intourist” to plan his BIG TRIP to Russia to see all the sites? I wish him an AMAZING VACATION with his wife and kids.


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