Today I have this piece by reporter Oleg Solovyov. I offer it, as it may partially answer the question which every pro-Russian blogger is asking on the internet: “Where the f*** is the Russian air force?”
The headline reads:
Russia Will Unleash on UAF A Heavenly Storm
The Russian government plans to soon create an elite Aviation Grouping called “Storm” (using the German word Shtorm) to carry out special functions during the Special Military Operation (SMO).
Russian military have seen the need to step up their game when it comes to the issue of bomber aviation. Therefore, a few things are going to change very shortly. The VZGLIAD reporter got a scoop from his contacts within veterans organizations, not to mention among air force pilots working the front lines. Many of these guys were reservists; but were enticed to return to active duty as volunteers, thanks to their special expertise. They will form the core of the new grouping which, in its size, will approximate to an aerial regiment.
“This will be a mixed regiment,” one of the sources dished to the reporter, on condition of anonymity. “Many variants are being discussed. One variant: There will be three squadrons. One squadron will consist of SU-34 destroyers; another of SU-24’s for bombing the front lines; and a third – strike helicopters. The name has already been picked out: Shtorm.”
A standard air squadron consists of 12-16 machines; 16 for helicopters. The Ka-52 and Mi-28 helicopters carry a crew of two men. As do the Sukhois. According to the standard formula, there should be one and half times as many trained crew, as there are machines. Technical specialists are also needed to service the crew.
The reporter’s source noted that only “the best of the best” are picked for these crews. The best volunteer pilots that can be found. Candidates include pilots from the reserve and also those who are currently serving in the SMO. The selection process started a month ago, in April.
The reporter interviews a man named Vladimir Popov, a retired Major-General in the Russian air force: “The necessity of creating this kind of grouping is dictated by the fact that, in the SMO, the number of tasks ever keeps growing which require aviation bombers. The Russian Military-Industrial Complex, in turn, is actively stepping up its production of airplanes and military equipment. Nonetheless, it is not possible to prepare the necessary number of cadres in such a short amount of time. This lack of trained pilots is what led to the idea of attracting volunteers from the reserves. Some of whom left active duty as far back as the 1990’s. Nonetheless, these men possess a colossal amount of experience. It goes without saying that they will need to refresh their knowledge and undergo re-training. But it is easier to retrain a seasoned fighter, than it is a novice starting from zero. I believe that many pilots, heeding the call of the Defense Ministry, will agree to serve their country again in the current conditions.”
According to the Russian system of qualifications, the highest rank in the hierarchy of military pilots is the “pilot-sniper”. In order to attain this rank, the pilot must have logged a certain number of hours and achieved a very high mastery, not just of flying, but also in battle conditions; and also in difficult conditions, for example flying at night. These are the kind of people whom Shtorm wishes to recruit.
Again, the needs of the SMO have dictated this change. The Russian military finally figured out that bombing the enemy from the air was the most effective way to destroy him. Even better than rockets and artillery.
For example, a 152-mm shell only packs several kilograms of explosives; very expensive long-range missiles like the Kalibr several hundreds of kg. Whereas an aviation bomb like the UPAB-1500 (launched by the SU-34) packs several tons of explosives. It is capable of destroying the kinds of structures that are immune to shells and rockets. Fact is, the Russian Defense Ministry is fully stocked with tens of thousands of these bombs, just sitting there waiting and eager to be deployed. And these bombs are way cheaper than the most up-to-date high-precision rockets.
One innovation is the addition of the so-called УМПК system: Universal Modules Of Planning and Correction. With their assistance, even old Soviet bombs regenerate into modern precision weapons; and allow the pilot to do his work at some distance from the enemy’s air-defense umbrella zone.
It is thought that a squadron of SU-34’s launching these gliding bombs in unison, can really mess up the enemy. The only problem is that each one of these planes needs to be piloted by a highly-trained elite soldier, of only the highest qualifications. This has been the bottleneck so far, which the brass intends to fix with this new regiment.
Now the important issue: To whom will this elite regiment be subordinate? If you were about to say, the Russian Air Force commanders, then you would be wrong. Its tasks will be assigned directly by the highest officials of the General Staff and Ministry of Defense. And, in order to add agility and lean-ness to their operations, certain bureaucratic niceties might even be bypassed. The reporter’s confidential source told him that all of this may well be in place in about 3-4 months. The elite pilots will be expected to work on a narrow strip of the front; will be expected to fly several missions in the course of a single day. They would like to get to the point where two squadrons may appear in the sky at the same time, working over the enemy positions.
Popov again: “They will be assigned a broad spectre of tasks. The destruction of certain targets, enemy bases, places where live forces come together. We also need to hit the factories that the Ukrainians use to produce shells and other weapons. And we should not forget about broader logistical targets either, such as railroads and bridges.”
Wish I could remember where, but I am sure I have heard reports that actually Russia is sending up loads of flights – they are simply not flying low over Ukrainian territory.
All the glide bombs for example are taken up by plane and dropped from short of the front line then glide over.
I think it is the equivalent of the land based war, Russia is just simply not interested in head to head fighting where casualties might be split evenly.
I have also heard that as Ukrainian anti-air defence gets weaker, Russian aircraft are bolder. But then it is also said that the Ukrainian anti-air is now so limited it will soon only target planes and not missiles.
I have read some similar reports, indicating that the glide bombs are a true game-changer. They allow the Russian air force to effectively bomb Ukrainian positions without risking the lives of the pilots.
Just seems, from this article, that there aren’t enough pilots. But that is being fixed. Hopefully.
I remember extremely well the Putin cultists desperately coming up with ways to explain how Russia not destroying the Ukranazistani railway network and the Dneiper bridges was a masterstroke by Putin. Now that Russia has hit the railway network and begun hitting the bridges they are totally silent about their previous insistence that not destroying them is beneficial to Russia.
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I suppose you could say it’s allowed Europe as well to be almost demilitarised.
There seems to be a problem though, Ukraine never seems to run out of combatants, willing or otherwise, or brought from over the border. And now they don’t even need the Ukr chiefs of staff. It could be a very long SMO.
Yeah, this war is going to go on for a while, I think. We need to steel ourselves.
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It’s as well the Russians are made of stern stuff, all I’ve got to do is support them.
Yup. It’s my understanding that the real reason the Russians didn’t hit the bridges earlier: Those damn Soviet bridges are virtually indestructible. Barely nicked by artillery. I have to drive over bigger potholes than that every day, just on my way to work. Aerial bombs, maybe, when coming in thick and fast. But Russians not willing to risk the lives of their pilots, rightfully so.
Needed to wait until Ukie air defenses weakened. I buy the reasons, I just get frustrated when people drink copium and make up their own reasons. Just tell me the bitter truth, dammit, don’t try to change a deficit into an advantage! (That’s my attitude.)
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Someone posted that destroying bridges over the Dnepr might not be quite the game changer it is made out to be, at least not initially. Ponton bridges will be built, and the Dnepr is quite far inland, whence the Ukrainians will always have plenty of advance warning whenever missiles or bombers approach. This will allow them to vacate any ponton bridge about to be attacked before missiles or bombs hit. Ponton bridges are also easy to repair with new sections as long as spares are available. If the Russians really want to disrupt the logistical flow across the Dnepr, then a sustained bombing campaign will be required until spares have run out.
Good points, thanks for bringing this to our attention. If the war can be won without destroying the bridges, that would be better, obviously. Those bridges are not just functional, some of them are actually like works of art.
Two millennia of Christian education deserves another end than the “kill and rob each other” that we live in. The so-called Western Civilization has had a hellish end.
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“Storm” (using the German word Shtorm)
Just a nitpick here — I’m surprised Piotr didn’t chime in on this one. The German word for storm is “Sturm”. And as far as I and my big Oxford-Duden dictionary know, there is no German word “Shtorm”, nor even “Schtorm”.
Ich spreche nur ein bisschen, aber …
P.S. It is pronounced “Shturm”.
I know! But like, German Sturm is pronounced a lot like “Shtorm” ! Well, maybe a slight difference in the vowel sound.
If they used the actual Russian word for “storm” it would be “burya” !
Interestingly, in WW1, commander of 3rd Serbian army was Pavle Jurišić Šturm, He was originally born in Prussia of Sorbian ethnicity, a Slav minority in Germany, but don’t confuse that with Serbian ethnicity. Its a different group. His original name was Paulus Eugen Sturm. He and his brother moved to Serbia well before WW1 and joined Serbian army where he eventually became a general.
Just to add, there is a nice picture of him here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pavle_Juri%C5%A1i%C4%87_%C5%A0turm
He was born in 1848, a notable year and died in 1922 so clearly he survived the war.
Well, he certainly has the moustaches to be a great general!
If I am not mistaken, the “Sorbian” ethnic minority in Prussia are also sometimes known as “Lusatians”. But this is confusing, because there are also German Lusatian dialects. So, it’s better to use the term “Sorbian” for this Slavic ethnic subgroup. There are 2 main Sorbian dialects which are of the West Slavic ilk (like Czech and Polish).
I am aware that there are two Slav minorities in Germany and I think Lusitanians are the other minority group.
Yes, he was a great general and if you scrolled down the Wiki page you would have seen all the awards he was given.
Never in my life could I have imagined that I would become so fascinated with weaponry. I have been waiting for this announcement on Russian aerial defense.
This is a big war.
I never used to be big on weaponry either. Now I am learning about the different types of bombs and tanks and stuff. I start to understand how people can become big nerds on this type of thing.