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Soviet Military Equipment Which Impressed You! and Why?

Pioneer

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G'day gents

Just for something a little different (and out of interest)

As a young 'Westerner' during the Cold War, I for a long time was mesmerised by the West's technological advancement over that of the Soviet's military equipment. As a young and somewhat gullible kid, I was taken by the perceived argument that quality over quantity argument!. But it would only be when I was older, read some more literature, with the demise of the Soviet Union - and hence the Warsaw Pact, that I come to appreciate, that the Soviet Military (in my opinion!), probably got a lot of things right in some of its weapons platforms design principles and philosophy.
One of the biggest turn a round's was the reading of the book The Pentagon Paradox: The Development of the F-18 Hornet, by James P. Stevenson. Where he depicted that 'if quality over quantity argument was true, then why was it that the German's with the likes of there technically more advanced and higher performance Messerschmitt Me 262 was unable to prevail and regain air superiority over the numerically superior number of allied fighters like the P-51 Mustang's, P-47 Thunderbolt's, Spitfire's and Tempest's!
Eventually it would be numbers that would grind-down the Luftwaffe', and hence the German war effort.

So it is that I ask my fellow enthusiasts of everything military to highlight the military platforms of the former Soviet war machine, which impresses you; has no equivalent in the West; and why you like this weapon/weapons platform!

For me I have always been impressed by the following:

  • The BMD Airborne Infantry Fighting Vehicle - This is due to the Soviet's ability to recognise and fully appreciate the vital importance of an airborne forces vulnerability, due to history's combat proven fact that due to lack of mobility and firepower, an airborne assault force is very vulnerable to counter-attack by heavier conventional forces! The fact that this small, compact and light armoured vehicle, with its performance and mobility (including full amphibious capability), along with its fire support (73mm Grom cannon - although sadly low-velocity), anti-armour (with Malyutka or latter Konkurs ATGM) and can be literally can be parachuted into combat and fighting minutes after hitting the ground. Sadly there is no Western equivalent (or want) for such a light and practical combat vehicle.
  • The Soviet's ability to adapt and utilise a basic design/chassis as the basis of a vast variety of other weapons platform has never ceased to amaze me! With the only Western equivalent having to be that of the U.S's FMC's M113 chassis! Some of the best examples of this fortitude being that of the PT-76 light tank, which had its basic chassis utilised for the following armoured vehicles - ASU-85 airborne assault gun, 2K12 Kub mobile SAM system, BTR-5O APC, FROG SSM series TEL's, ZSU-24-4 SPAAG, Ob'yekt 914 experimental IFV (lost to Ob'yekt 765 aka BMP-1 IFV design), GPS-55 Amphibious Ferry, PMP Pontoon Bridge system, MT-LB APC/Artillery tractor, 2S1 Gvozdika 122mm SPH. Then there is the likes of the ZIL-135 8x8 and MAZ-543 8x8 heavy high mobility truck series, which has given the Soviet military such outstanding transport capability (weight and size wise), with so much cross-country mobility. The fact that these chassies have been utilised in so many applications and role is staggering in my opinion.
ZIL-135 applications - BM-27 Uragan 220mm MLRS,
  • MAZ-543 application - A-222 Bereg 152mm Coastal Artillery system, MAZ-543P/ SS-12 'Scaleboard' MRBM TEL, BM-30 9K50 Smerch 300mm MLRS, S-300 SAM TEL, Mobile Command Post, etc.........
  • 2S1 Gvozdika 122mm SPH I'm impressed by this simple, but effective SPH system - not just because it was one of the worlds first auto-loaded SPH, but also for its amazing amphibious capability - which once again is unmatched in the West!!
  • MAZ-543 8x8 Transport Erector Launcher (TEL) vehicle design It has always fascinated me, with all the West's automotive, design and building know-how, that the Soviet's were and have been able to develop such a powerful and effective truck system since the mid 1960's. A capability and performance, which has only really been matched since the 1980's by the West. Let alone the Soviet's ability to make their surface-to-surface missiles so mobile!
  • M-240 240mm mortar system - As a qualified mortarman, I can not but help imagine the power of this weapon in an offensive action (good by command post and fortifications!). The only better thing than the M-240, would be the 2S4 Tyulpan SP 240mm mortar system!!
  • The 9K31 Strela-1 (SA-9 Gaskin) /BRDM-2 short-range, low-altitude self-propelled SAM system, which was cheap, simple and effective. Being deployed around 1968, it is ironic it would take until around the late 1990's-2000, before the United States would field such a simple and effective equivalent - the AN/TWQ-1 Avenger SAM system.
More to follow!!!


Regards
Pioneer
 

Abraham Gubler

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Pioneer said:
The BMD Airborne Infantry Fighting Vehicle - This is due to the Soviet's ability to recognise and fully appreciate the vital importance of an airborne forces vulnerability, due to history's combat proven fact that due to lack of mobility and firepower, an airborne assault force is very vulnerable to counter-attack by heavier conventional forces!

Good call.

Pioneer said:
The Soviet's ability to adapt and utilise a basic design/chassis as the basis of a vast variety of other weapons platform has never ceased to amaze me!

Sometimes a centrally planned economy helps…

Pioneer said:
The only better thing than the M-240, would be the 2S4 Tyulpan SP 240mm mortar system!!

Still remains to date the most elegant and simple design for an automatically loaded, self-propelled artillery system.

But don’t forget the RPG-7: man portable, rocket powered with soft launch something 50 years later many Western armies don’t have in service.

Plus the URK-5 Snowstorm (SS-N-14 SILEX) a naval missile that can with a flick of a switch either target submarines with a dropped ASW torpedo or fly as a sea skimmer with a 400 lbs anti-ship warhead.
 

yasotay

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BMD and RPG do come to mind for me as well. I would go as far as to sit the entire gamut of mobile air defenses the Soviets fielded to cover maneuvering field forces. Having looked "across the field" at them for a number of years, there was a very healthy respect for that overlapping and mutually supporting system-of-systems.
 

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Most impressed by:
Aircraft: Su-27 family, Mig-21 family

AFV: JS-3/T-10 heavy tank family, Bmp-1
Warship: Alpha class SSN
Air defense: S-300
Strategic weapons: Perimeter system
Others: AK-47 family


Least impressed by: (only include those that made it into wide scale surface)
Aircraft: Mig-23, Blackjack
AFV: T-62
Warship: all soviet missile cruisers prior to Kirov
Strategic weapons: SS-18
 

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Soviet Aviation Guns... The revolver ShKAS was certainly ahead of its time, the UB was superior to other heavy machine guns in several respects. Larger WWII cannons also were good performers. From the failure prone GSh-6-23 to the GSh-30-1 most modern Russian aviation cannons have considerable advantages compared to NATO arms (40% less weight or 40% higher rate of fire etc.)

I'm not sure why this lead exists, but it seems to have existed since the 1940s...
 

sferrin

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Most impressed:

Soviet heavy antiship missiles.
S-300V - speed.
Gazelle ABM - moar speeeeeed.
 

Pioneer

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Thanks gents for your positive response to this topic!

As for the RPG-7, AK-47/AKM series these are a given as far as I'm concern, in regards to their magnificent simplicity and effectiveness - hence their proliferation around the world and on the battlefield!!
To this I would have to add:
  • the PKM 7.62mm GPMG (I've used the M60 and MAG-58 GPMG during my many years in my Army and the PKM is on a par with the MAG-58 for sturdiness, reliability and stopping power!) Although I've never been able to find out why the Soviet's chose a right-hand feed arrangement - especially when the majority of people are right handed - hence fire with their right hand :eek:
  • As already mentioned by Yasotay, I too have a very healthy respect for the Soviet Ground Forces appreciation for its recognition of the tactical and strategic importance of an overlapping and mutually supporting system-of-systems battlefield air defence system. This without doubt attributed through the shocking experience of the German Blitzkrieg action against the Red Army during the first couple of years of the Second World War! But as much as the Soviet's made advancements with missile and guidance technologies in regards to its air defence system. It, unlike the West, have never lost faith (or the reality!!) that anti-aircraft artillery is still an important and effective component of a layered air defence system! I can not but help be completely and utterly impressed with the likes and capabilities of the the following cheap, simple and time proven weapons systems like that of the - ZPU-2 & ZPU-4 14.5mm twin and quadruple anti-aircraft gun system, the ZU-23-2 (2A13) Sergey towed 23mm anti-aircraft twin auto-cannon! I've seen and fully appreciated the weight of fire these weapons can deliver into the air (not to mention their ability against ground targets). Sadly the likes of the trend setting U.S. and British Armies have chosen to neglect such weapons in their army, under the false pretense of missile technology! One only need to look at Post-WWII evidence to see and seriously appreciate that the cheap, simple and reliable anti-aircraft gun has accounted for the downing of more combat aircraft/helicopters than SAM's!!
  • Whilst on the topic of anti-aircraft artillery / air defence. One can not overlook the amazing ZSU-23-4 Shilka SPAAG system. It has simply amazed me that the Soviet Army was able to appreciate, develop and deploy such a simple, yet combat proven effective self-propelled anti aircraft gun system, which the West was not able to mimic until the advent of the West German Gepard SPAAG system (alas a far more expensive and complicated system, which has not been deployed in anywhere near the numbers approaching that of the Shilka!!) It is ironic, that the U.S. attempt to emulate the Shilka - the M247 Sergeant York DIVAD (Division Air Defense) was a complete and utter disaster, which to this day its role and need still has not been filled in the U.S. Army!
  • Whilst the U.S. Army failed in its costly efforts to emulate the ZSU-23-4 Shilka. TheSoviet Armyrecognizing the combat proven need and requirements to protect its ground forces on the modern battlefield, emphasized further with the advent of the likes of the Hughes AH-64 Apache attack helicopter and the Fairchild A-10 Thunderbolt II. It could not and did not sit ideal like the West. This of course led to the creation of the simply amazing and unmatched 9K22 Tunguska Self-propelled air defence system!!! What a genius and effective combat design!
  • As mentioned by Avimimus, there is the powerful and effective aircraft cannon systems like the "failure prone" GSh-6-23 six-barreled rotary cannon and the GSh-301 (9A-4071K) aka GSh-30-1 30mm cannon.
  • The GSP-55 heavy amphibious ferry system. Introduced in 1959, this effective, but simple engineering piece of equipment, and its capability would not be appreciated by the West, until decades later, when they developed their own equivalent takes on the design.
  • The PMP pontoon bridge system - simple and expedient bridging system, which was so successful, it was copied in a modified form by the United States Army - known as the Ribbon Bridge System
  • Project 1206 Kalmar class ('Lebed') medium-sized assault hovercraft - The fact that the Soviet's had the fortitude to see the use for such effective amphibious assault vessels and put them into operational service some seven years before the USN's own LCAC design speaks loads of the Soviet's resolve to embrace technology. I'm somewhat surprised that the likes of India or PRC have not adopted the Kalmar!
  • Project 1232.2 Zubr hovercraft! Now you can not but help be stunned by the size and power of this massive and powerful amphibious assault vessel! Able to deliver 130 tons of cargo in the form of 3 x MBT's, or 8 x BMP-2 IFV's, or 10 x BTR-70 APC's, or 360 fully equipped amphibious landing troops. With its 60 kts speed and overcomes obstacles up to 2 meters. This Soviet purpose designed and built amphibious assault platform has no equivalent in the West then, now or in the foreseeable future




More to follow..............

Regards
Pioneer
 

Abraham Gubler

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Pioneer said:
I've never been able to find out why the Soviet's chose a right-hand feed arrangement - especially when the majority of people are right handed - hence fire with their right hand

The PK feeds from right to left because the design was a straight out copy of the AK-47 scaled up to 7.62x54 and turned upside down. The action needed to be flipped so as to fit in a belt feed system and since the AK-47 extractor was on the right hand side it ended up on the left for the PK.

Pioneer said:
As already mentioned by Yasotay, I too have a very healthy respect for the Soviet Ground Forces appreciation for its recognition of the tactical and strategic importance of an overlapping and mutually supporting system-of-systems battlefield air defence system.

This wasn’t a unique capability. The West had a similar plan just that the USA had a 30 year run of program failures (Vigilante to ADATS) and the British ran out of money. The Germans managed to introduce an arguably more capable system only a few years behind the Soviets: Stinger/Redeye, Gepard, Roland, HAWK, Patriot/Nike. Of course not to the same lavish scale as the Soviets.

Pioneer said:
This Soviet purpose designed and built amphibious assault platform has no equivalent in the West then, now or in the foreseeable future

Not quite. It is a replacement for the Aist that was a copy of the British SR. N4 Mountbatten. Unfortunately the British invented the Hovercraft and used them for joyriding and car ferries while the Soviets used the technology to provide the where withal to invade and occupy Denmark! We can be thankful they didn’t work out how good they were at mine clearing. Their hovercraft fleet is an example of the benefit to the military of a centrally planned economy willing to drive itself into the ground via weapons productions. It wasn’t innovation on their behalf just the ability to spend to the military need.
 

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The Typhoon and Oscar Class are certainly unique in their layouts! (No idea of the east/west comparison) I see those and think "Well thats different looking!"

Foxbat and Tu-128 Fiddler are pretty interesting too
 

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I Have to say the ZSU-23-4 "Shilka" was the most impressive piece of kit to me at the time. Whilst I knew little about it technically at the time, and still don't, it had an awesome reputation in the literature of the time.
 

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An-22 and An-124 monsters. Mig-31. SS-18 "satan". Plus a lot of rockets and spaceships concepts (non military, alas).
 

Abraham Gubler

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Another Soviet weapon that was unique and highly effective was the RAT-52 rocket torpedo. It was the Exocet of the 1950s and enabled a torpedo bomber so armed to fly high above the gun defences of ships of the time and drop the rocket powered torpedo that flew to a short range attack position before the torpedo entered the water. 14% accuracy in combat conditions from drops at 23,000 feet was by air launched torpedo standards phenomenal.
 

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Abraham Gubler said:
...14% accuracy in combat conditions from drops at 23,000 feet was by air launched torpedo standards phenomenal.

Especially, as standard Soviet tactic then called for mass drops (according to Norman Friedman) and even the
Il-28T could carry three of them ! Nevertheless, the RAT 52 seems not to have been without problems, but this
can be said of most weapons, I think.
 

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The PK feeds from right to left because the design was a straight out copy of the AK-47 scaled up to 7.62x54 and turned upside down. The action needed to be flipped so as to fit in a belt feed system and since the AK-47 extractor was on the right hand side it ended up on the left for the PK.
Yeah that makes complete sense now that you mention it :-X
The West had a similar plan just that the USA had a 30 year run of program failures (Vigilante to ADATS) and the British ran out of money. The Germans managed to introduce an arguably more capable system only a few years behind the Soviets: Stinger/Redeye, Gepard, Roland, HAWK, Patriot/Nike. Of course not to the same lavish scale as the Soviets.
Yeah I get what you are saying.........but at the end of the day the West failed and the Soviet's succeeded! What's more, while the West still flogs a dead horse with life extensions of the likes of HAWK and Nike, the Soviets moved well on and beyond in its SAM development in both terms of operational performance, mobility and numbers.

Thanks heaps Abraham Gubler for your time and input!!

Regards
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starviking said:
I Have to say the ZSU-23-4 "Shilka" was the most impressive piece of kit to me at the time. Whilst I knew little about it technically at the time, and still don't, it had an awesome reputation in the literature of the time.

I think it's the designs basic simplicity - in terms of its basic radar system, its four 23mm cannons, and yet its combat proven effectiveness that the West (especially the U.S. Army) has completely and utterly failed to understand. I credit the Soviet's for being willing to recognize the effectiveness of a weapon system, whether it be their or an enemy's! I'm not completely sure, but somewhat confident that the combat effectiveness the likes of the German 2 cm Flakvierling 38 had against the Red Army during WWII would not and could not have been missed by the Soviet Army!

Add to this that the Shilka has been modernised by many armies - new sensors/radar and of course the addition of the simple and straight forward and cost effective addition of complementary MANPAD SAM's like that of FIM-92 Stinger or 9K310 Igla-1 (SA-16 Gimlet)

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chuck4

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Abraham Gubler said:
Another Soviet weapon that was unique and highly effective was the RAT-52 rocket torpedo. It was the Exocet of the 1950s and enabled a torpedo bomber so armed to fly high above the gun defences of ships of the time and drop the rocket powered torpedo that flew to a short range attack position before the torpedo entered the water. 14% accuracy in combat conditions from drops at 23,000 feet was by air launched torpedo standards phenomenal.


Was the torpedo powered by rocket or propeller once it is in the water?


By 1950s western navies have largely abandoned air dropped torpedo as an offensive weapon against ships.
 

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Archibald said:
An-22 and An-124 monsters. Mig-31. SS-18 "satan". Plus a lot of rockets and spaceships concepts (non military, alas).

Yeah thanks Archibald - re the Antonov An-22 Cock!
You beat me to this one ;)

Yes an impressive strategic heavy lift by any standard!
Even though deemed old technology by Western standards, come the advent of the turbofan-powered Lockheed C-5 Galaxy. I for one have always been impressed by the fact that a Cock could and did truly have a rough-field take off and landing capability, which was regularly utilised by the Soviets.
One has to remember that the Cock far exceeded the West's then heavy-lift transport cargo aircraft designs (aka Douglas C-124 Globemaster II, Douglas C-133 Cargomaster, Short Belfast C.1 and even the Lockheed C-141A Starlifter) in August 1964, when the first An-22 prototype was rolled out.

There can be little doubt in my mind that part of the credit to the Cock, as with many other Soviet aircraft of the era, has to be associated and credited to that of the Soviet's willingness to support the development and operational deployment of the unique and powerful Kuznetsov NK-12 Turboprop engines of an amazing 11,186 kW (15,000 shp) each. Unfortunately for the West, they failed to develop such a turboprop.

Sadly and ironically for the West, the USAF could have had a similar (but still not as capable) design as the Cock, in the 1950's, in the form of the Douglas XC-132. This aircraft had been designed to meet ‘SS-402L’ ‘Heavy Airlift Transport’. The C-132, like that of the Cock, was to have been powered by the equally powerful but troublesome Pratt & Whitney XT57 (Turbo Wasp) turboprop engines of 11,000 kW (15,000 shp).

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Pioneer
 

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Sea Skimmer

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Pioneer said:
I think it's the designs basic simplicity - in terms of its basic radar system, its four 23mm cannons, and yet its combat proven effectiveness that the West (especially the U.S. Army) has completely and utterly failed to understand.


I'd just love to see you justify that statement, because the fact that the US Army published whole manuals on the systems effectiveness and possible countemeasures says you are dead wrong. Also the M163 is even simpler, much cheaper and still pretty effective anyway, also combat proven. In fact the effectiveness of the ZSU-23 was even used to justify spending money on new air defense guns in the 1980s, even though none of these systems can actually match the range of a helicopter armed with TOW, let alone Hellfire, which is a more then slight liability. In any even the simplicity of the ZSU-23 also meant it came with a radar that was pretty easy to jam. Both issues are why you see the Tunguska appearing with far superior radar, missiles, and a 10 million dollar pricetag.
 

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I've always liked the Vasilek automatic gun/mortar. Even though the only mortarman of my acquaintance was unimpressed with it, largely to the clumsy propellant charge arrangements, it still impresses me.
 

Abraham Gubler

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Madurai said:
I've always liked the Vasilek automatic gun/mortar. Even though the only mortarman of my acquaintance was unimpressed with it, largely to the clumsy propellant charge arrangements, it still impresses me.

The 82mm 2B9 Vasilek (Cornflower) is another great Soviet weapon that I should have remembered to list earlier!

I wouldn’t be too worried about its ‘clumsy propellant’ arrangements. It could fire standard 82mm mortar rounds dropped down the tube or breech loaded with variable charges like any other mortar. In addition it could fire four rounds in a rapid burst from a clip feed for very high rates of fire. These clip feed rounds were limited to a fixed charge. But this was not such of a problem because this arrangement was designed for use in two primary circumstances. Direct fire as a super 40mm AGL and laying down large smoke screens very quickly. When shooting smoke high angle plunging fire is less important than HE because it won’t affect the terminal performance and you rarely need to lay a smoke screen on a reverse slope.
 

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82mm 2B9 Vasilek (Cornflower)

Ah yes a very interesting weapon, which again has no Western equivalent!
There was no other army in the world which appreciated the simplicity and effect of the mortar, than the Red/Soviet Army! Although it's somewhat interesting (and ironic) that the U.S. Army engineers at Picatinny Arsenal in New Jersey trialed a Vasilek 2B9 82mm automatic mortar (Hungarian-produced model), mounted on the back of a HMMWV in the attempt to give it a more mobile artillery system. This system was called the Scorpion.

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Pioneer

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One aircraft that has always impressed me is the true rugged work horse, the Ilyushin IL-76 Candid.

This aircraft was once again a very purposefully designed military transport / cargo aircraft, which surpassed its U.S equivalent Lockheed C-141A Starlifter in many important and functional ways -[list type=decimal]
*The IL-76 design had a larger cargo hold area than the C-141A
*The IL-76 had more powerful engines to achieve a superior performance.
*The IL-76 could airlift a payload of 40,000kg (88,183 lb) compared to the C-141A's 28,900 kg (62,700 lb)
*The IL-76 had a true and proven short take-off and landing capability from rough and unprepared airstrips, unlike that if the Starlifter.
Another interesting operational factor of the Candid design, is the incorporation of an internal overhead winch/gantry system, which runs the length of the cargo compartment. This design feature allows the Candid to self load and unload its cargo. This would be a very important factor when the aircraft would operate from forward airstrips.

I would have loved to have seen a Western aviation company team up with Ilyushin and truly promoted a "Westernised" Candid (in the form of the Il-76MF 'stretched' version, incorporatingmore powerful and more fuel efficient Western turbofans, a glass cockpit = smaller flight crew and a lighter workload, a GPS navigation system, deletion of the tail turret, a built in flight refueling boom receptor, etc............). For I believe that this powerful, versatile and affordable military transport, once Westernised, could offer a cost effective go-between aircraft which spans the gap between the C-130 Hercules and the outrages (but highly capable Boeing C-17 Globmaster III! In fact, I believe a Westernised Candid could (and should) have negated the very expensive and time consuming Airbus A400M design. For what is now perceived as the much more powerful and improved IL-476 development of the Candid series, I'm admit could have been achieved by a Ilyushin/Western consortium in the late 1990's - early 2000's!


More to follow.........................

Regards
Pioneer
 
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Archibald said:
Yeah thanks Archibald - re the Antonov An-22 Cock!
Sure, it would be untrue to say the Cock sucks

Thoroughly juvenile humor. Most likely why I found it funny ;D

I've always been impressed with Russian air defense systems. They've had numerous systems and have matured their air defense products into truly world-class weapons.
 

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The post-Cold War Klub missile family and the TOS-1 / TOS-1A system with FAE have impressed me a lot.

The former is simply awesome, a complete range of offensive naval missiles.

The latter is most impressive for its ability to overcome even defences that would withstand 155mm HE shelling. The psychological effect of the visual impression is certainly awe-inspiring in combat and may lead to many more units giving up prepared positions than actually get hit by TOS.
 

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Always have been impressed with their heavy ICBM's, SS-18, and always wanted the US to match the capability. I guess the MX ICBM came closest but I would have built the WS-120A if I had been Sec Def back in the day.
 

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All this is very nice, but how well does this equipment actually work? How much of it has seen combat, and has anything been made public of its performance?
 

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Hobbes said:
All this is very nice, but how well does this equipment actually work? How much of it has seen combat, and has anything been made public of its performance?

True and fair comment!
But the same could be said about a lot of Western military equipment!

and has anything been made public of its performance?
Well I guess that's the advantage of the the old Soviet system. There ability to keep this information was far more successful than that of the West - aka embarrassing scandals and pathetic management - let me think....... A-12 Avenger, M247 Sergeant York SPAAG, SP-70 SPH... Then there are the weapon systems that have failed because of their extreme cost and over technological ambitious expectations vs reality and the war fighting they were expected to operate ,like the F-22 Raptor, NAA XB-70 Valkyrie, UUM-125 Sea Lance ASWM, RAH-66 Comanche ...........
Then there are the Western scandals of of the military brass themselves toying with weapons systems, which are perfectly good and sound, but they either want more out of it or deliberately want to destroy the program for 'buy here' (U.S Army - MIM-46A Mauler SAM, Roland SAM system) or 'we don't want a weapons system forced upon us' (USN GD F-111B)
Do I need to go on?

Plus, at least with the old Soviet system, if a weapon/weapon system failed or did not live up to its operational expectations, it never just gave up on it operational need or what its troops deemed required to operate in a combat environment. The same can not be said about the West. For if a weapon system fails (including poor management, over expectations vs reality or corporate corruption, as has happened on more occasions than I would like to think of! The Western government or military would more times than not simply cancel the project and totally disregard the remaining outstanding need or threat. Granted the Soviet's never always had the technology to match the West. But many of their weapons/weapons systems did shock and scare the West and earned military and political respect (MiG-25 'Foxbat', 'Oscar' class SSGN, R-36M (SS-18 Satan) ICBM, RT-21M (SS-20 Sabre), Project 941 Akula (Typhoon class) SSBN, Project 705Lyre(Alpha class) SSN, although its well appreciated that the West was happy to capitalise on this fear to generate more defence funds to stimulate programs and Western defence industry)

This is why the Soviet's developed more serious of MBT's and continued to develop more efficient and more effective ATGM and SAM systems, whilst the West continued to overly depend (I prefer neglect!) on such weapons replacements as the Harpoon anti-ship missile, LGM-30 Minuteman ICBM, Exocet anti-ship missile, Bloodhound SAM, Sea Dart SAM, M60 MBT, MIM-23 HAWK SAM, Chaparral SAM.........

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Arian

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This is why the Soviet's developed more serious of MBT's and continued to develop more efficient and more effective ATGM and SAM systems, whilst the West continued to overly depend (I prefer neglect!) on such weapons replacements as the Harpoon anti-ship missile, LGM-30 Minuteman ICBM, Exocet anti-ship missile, Bloodhound SAM, Sea Dart SAM, M60 MBT, MIM-23 HAWK SAM, ChaparralSAM.........


Comparing weapon systems of the US with USSR is not possible on a one vs. one bases. It is the roles they meant to fulfill that matter. For example, the US had no reason to develop extravagant anti-ship missiles like the Soviets did because they had aircraft carriers, while the Soviets specifically lacked the ability to counter US naval air power through an equivalent mean. Same for air defense; the threat posed by the air forces of the two countries were not symmetrical to each other. Quite the contrary, I would say it was the USSR that failed to develop comparable systems to the US for manned aerial power, and therefore had to rely on things like SAMs and anti-ship missiles as counters (with dubious results).


But these are not failures in weapons development or procurement. I would add that the so-called "failures" of development in the west, like the Mauler or Sargent York, were failures of fit; someone in the Pentagon or the defense industry made similar arguments to some here "The Soviets have mobile air defense, and so should we!", but really the US never needed such systems. That's why they failed and were abandoned as ideas. That's why SAMs in the US are pretty much only for ABM defense.


Same with the BMD and airborne capabilities; unless you're planning a massive invasion during WW3, there is no reason to develop such systems. Even the Soviets didn't use them in their intended role during their two invasions (Czechoslovakia and Afghanistan), because outside of that specialized scenario, their usefulness is dubious.


Even things which may seem comparable, like tank vs tank or atgm vs atgm, really aren't, because they fulfill different roles and are intended for different tactics.
 

sferrin

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bobbymike said:
Always have been impressed with their heavy ICBM's, SS-18, and always wanted the US to match the capability. I guess the MX ICBM came closest but I would have built the WS-120A if I had been Sec Def back in the day.

Or a Titan III based ICBM ;-)
 

sferrin

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Pioneer said:
Then there are the weapon systems that have failed because of their extreme cost and over technological ambitious expectations vs reality and the war fighting they were expected to operate ,like the F-22 Raptor,

Do tell. . . ::)
 

Grey Havoc

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http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/howaboutthat/10257870/Navy-hovercraft-surprises-sunbathers-as-it-lands-on-Russian-beach.html
 

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I remember reading back in the 90s about German experience with the Mig-29s they acquired after the reunification of East and West Germany. On the whole, the avionics techs were less than impressed but he regular mechanics loved the simplicity and maintanability of the engines and airframes and the pilots thought they were a good fighting tool. Aside from differences in mission, as mentioned above, there are also differences in mentality. The Soviets generally stuck with the idea that "more is better" and went with quantity over sophistication. As the U.S. progresses down the road of ever fewer numbers of ever more sophisticated and expensive aircraft, anything from a sneak attack to a software glitch might destroy or ground most of that fleet of super planes, making the Pentagon wish they'd adopted at least of little of the old Soviet model.
 

quellish

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Pioneer said:
starviking said:
I think it's the designs basic simplicity - in terms of its basic radar system, its four 23mm cannons, and yet its combat proven effectiveness that the West (especially the U.S. Army) has completely and utterly failed to understand.

The HAVE BLUE/XST requirements were built around this threat, so I would disagree.
 

Pioneer

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Some great contributions and points gents!!
Please keep them coming!!

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Pioneer
 

USAF77

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As an old Cold Warrior I can say the Soviets had an open window in the '70s and early '80s vis-a-vis system designs and deployment vs their NATO adversaries. They are great chess players and weapons design during the Cold War was like watching a game of chess.

I mostly admired their fighter interceptors. The MIGs, 17,21,23. These were dangerous capable air craft in their day and even today should not be underestimated or taken for granted.
 

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I was quite impressed by this Soviet multi-tool axe. http://imgur.com/a/PFHnR
It was demonstrated to us at the KGB Museum in Prague last week. You have an Axe, Chisel, Hammer, Saw and Baton plus I think the hole in the axe is also for barbed wire bending. The museum guide/owner didn't explain it that well but his collection is incredible!

The simplicity of the PPS submachine gun also impresses me. Using stamped steel and machine processes to reduce the amount of steel needed and the time needed for production makes good sense when in a war with limited resources.
 

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