On the eve of Victory Day, and sixty-seven we were able to meet the man whose authority is great not only colleagues, but also in the whole country. Here is what the commander of the Airborne Troops (VDV) of the Russian Federation, Hero of Russia, Lieutenant-General Vladimir Shamanov.
— Vladimir, you are familiar with our machines and manufacturing facilities. How much of our products and the country needs the troops that you’re heading?
— The supreme criterion for testing of a sample of military equipment is operational use and its results. I recall the story of the events of combat operations in Afghanistan, where there was a change of one generation to another technique. Airborne troops have felt it myself. When Vitebsk 103rd Airborne Division in full force entered Afghanistan, the existing equipment was, of course, typical airborne. The troops were then equipped with BMD-1.
The first few months have shown that in mountainous terrain combat vehicle has weaknesses. First of all, it’s wear tracks. Plus, the rugged mountainous terrain of other qualities required for machines with irregular warfare units. In essence, the technique does not solve problems, and the troops suffered losses. Then it was decided to transplant a reasonable solution for airborne infantry fighting vehicles.
Products Kurgan in real combat conditions proved highly capabilities. As a result, many contracts signed. BMP purchased and the Arab world, and India, and in the present — and Venezuela. However, knowing the potential of today’s military-industrial complex, we do not fully use the potential of the Kurgan.
— To date, the BMP and BMD excluded from public procurement. What can you say about this?
— I would say that this is the biggest misunderstanding that will certainly be eliminated. For Russia today the main geopolitical goal — to preserve the territorial integrity and the protection of national interests. A country with a large number of small, medium and large rivers, poor road network and the length of the land border of more than 20,000 kilometers to have a powerful general-purpose forces, especially its mobile components. We need machines on tracks that can cross water obstacles and still have the necessary firepower.
According to the concept developed by the command of Navy, it must be BMD-4M and multi-purpose armored "Shell" with special purpose machines made based on them. Of course, the technique has certain shortcomings. But skeptics who try to question the future of the BMD-4M, I would like to say that it is impossible to claim that the car was on the cross as a UAZ and raced as Mercedes on the highway.
It is necessary to select and compare the characteristics of technology. Something we acquire and lose something. Due to the fact that airborne combat vehicle to float, it has a limitation in the weight dimensions. There is a requirement in the space of three cars plane Il-76, therefore, in BMD should be certain dimensions of length and width. Therefore, equipment, designed for use in airborne troops, has lower performance for security. So for us at the moment is the ideal machine BMD-4M, and we are for this machine are going to fight.
— How do you feel about the decision to purchase a similar foreign equipment?
— This question has already been answered many times the first person in the country. It is advisable to purchase single or small batches of foreign weapons and military equipment in order to be able to determine their actual military-technical level of comparative trials with Russian models, rather than the presented in various exhibitions and presentations in an advertisement. Recently purchased and tested foreign armored wheeled vehicles.
Perhaps this technique can occupy a given segment in the intelligence units and special units. We have tried to adapt it to the conditions of combat airborne units, but so far it has not been possible. Unfortunately, today the Russian defense industry in some positions has a significant backlog of world level. A number of technologies is lost or out of date. First of all, it refers to the thermal imaging technology, electronic components base, etc. So now we have to use this technique on our samples.
— As a military strategist, and you know what the troops need at the moment and it would take the army in the future. How do you see tomorrow in the technical equipment to which we should aspire?
— A promising machines that need a more powerful engine, more powerful weapons, a high level of protection. In addition to this — process automation and motion control battle. All this is due to weight and size restrictions. At the same time, today the industry has certain technological and manufacturing capabilities, personnel qualifications that need to be improved. What we have, then we have — it’s on one side. On the other hand — you need to meet the challenges of tomorrow.
The result — the age-old debate has been achieved and what you want to achieve. Fortunately, the situation is changing for the better. In particular, as far as I know, goes on Kurganmashzavod update machinery equipment, is improving personnel policies. The factory and design work coming young professionals. I am optimistic about the revival of our military-industrial complex.
From the newspaper "Tractor plants" № 5, 2012.