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Russian Army to activate highly mobile infantry brigades 52601171

Defense & Security News - Russia
Russian Army to activate highly mobile infantry brigades
The Russian Army will form unique super-light infantry brigades, which troops will fight on UAZ Patriot high-mobility pickup trucks, according to the Izvestia daily newspaper.
UAZ Patriot
 UAZ Patriot high-mobility pickup trucks
Based on the lessons learnt in the Syrian war, the new units to be stood up will conduct lighting raids at hundreds of kilometers unlike the traditional infantry regiments and divisions operating armored personnel carriers (APC) and infantry fighting vehicle (IFV).

The primary shock force of the new units will be infantry battalions on UAZ Patriot pickups. Each vehicle hauls up to seven troopers with personal weapons and other gear, including ammunition, rations, water and fuel. The infantry-operated Patriot will mount the 12.7-mm KORD machinegun, 30-mm AGS-30 automatic grenade launcher or Kornet (NATO reporting name: AT-14 Spriggan) or Konkurs (AT-5 Spandrel) antitank guided missile (ATGM) system. The mortar battery’s pickups will haul 82-mm mortars and a load of bombs for them.

The activation of the new brigades has begun, a Defense Ministry official close to the subject told the Izvestia daily. The Southern and Central Military Districts will soon get a brigade each. The table of organization and equipment of the brigades will differ from that of the regular ones. They will have fewer troops and less materiel but more maneuverability.

According to the Izvestia daily, the new brigades will have BTR-82 APC battalions in addition to the UAZ Patriot battalions. They also will have artillery units, including those armed with Grad multiple-launch rocket systems. The super-light brigades also will include antitank battalions equipped with ATGM systems mounted on wheeled vehicles. The AT gunners will be able both to destroy enemy tanks and to take out the enemy’s weapon emplacements and fortifications as well as troops hunkering down in urban terrain.

"The activation of such battalions is building on the experience drawn from the fighting in Syria," expert Vladislav Shurygin tells the Izvestia daily. "In 24 hours, an ordinary infantry battalion on APCs or IFVs can march 100 km, tops. A battalion riding in UAZ Patriots can cover several hundred kilometers over the same period of time. Operating in small groups, infantry platoons and companies on pickups can sneak in, shoot and scoot. However, such battalions are effective only in desert, steppe and semidesert. In the woods and wooded steppe, the pickup-riding infantry’s capabilities are far inferior to those of the infantry operating APCs and IFVs."

The Russian Defense Ministry already tried to form brigades to fight on wheeled vehicles. In 2009, the 56th Separate Air Assault Brigade was equipped with UAZ Hunter high-mobility wheeled vehicles as part of then-Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov-launched reform of the armed forces. However, the unit soon turned in its Hunters in exchange for the traditional tracked and wheeled fighting vehicles.
The exercises conducted at the time proved the relevance of such brigades, the Defense Ministry official tells the Izvestia daily. The paratroopers operated well in the steppe near Volgograd, but their vehicles let them down. It was very difficult to carry troops, heavy weapons, rations, etc. in the Hunter’s body. The soldiers had to sit face to face in the cramped compartment. The 56th Brigade even had to be issued GAZ-66 light trucks in an experiment.

According to the source, the arrival of the Patriot pickup removed the problem. The vehicle’s bed is large enough to accommodate the troops and kit while its cab is spacious enough for four personnel, including the driver.

Infantry units operating on automobiles are widespread in the armies of the NATO member states. In particular, all US Army infantry battalions use armed Humvees and armored trucks, according to the Izvestia daily.
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