October 17, 2016 - Fort Russ -
Sergey Cherkasov, PolitRussia - translated by J. Arnoldski -
On October 15th, the “Defenders of Friendship - 2016” joint Russian-Egyptian military exercises began. These maneuvers, set to end on October 26th, are the first Russian exercises in Africa in history. This event has given rise to a number of questions as to what our soldiers are doing on the black continent.
It's all serious
The exercises involve a little more than 500 soldiers from both sides and 10 units of vehicles from ours. One IL-76 can carry on board either 126 fighters, or 40-50 tons of cargo, so delivering our troops required at least 5 aircraft.
The parachute landing in four streams from an IL-76 military transport plane that is being drilled in Africa is a rare phenomenon. It allows one to use the cargo hatch at the stern, but the chances of “complications” or even tragedy are multiplied greatly. Usually, all 126 soldiers parachute from the side hatches on each side as far as possible from each other so that the soldiers don’t get shot down in the air or tangle their parachutes. But then landing speed and accuracy suffer.
Parachuting in four streams in the likes of what is being done by Russian soldiers in Egypt is a tactic used in war. It is rarely performed, and if so, then only in particularly serious exercises.
Demonstrating to the world
The armored vehicles of paratroopers are supposed to be light, which means they are almost void of weapons (for example, a BTR-D has only two machine guns) and used specifically as a means of transportation. The main combat vehicle today is the BMD-2 and its upgraded BMD-2M variant, which is light, weighing in at only 8.2 tons, but armed with a 30 mm gun and an anti-tank missile system.
The most modern vehicle is the BMD-4, which wields a 100 mm machine gun/launcher paired with a 30 mm cannon, anti-tank missile, and machine gun.
Something in these exercises is probably being demonstrated to the world. After all, exercises abroad means the field use of equipment that we offer various countries to purchase.
What’s more, 30 other countries’ representatives will be observing the operation. This is, without a doubt, too close attention to be just for seeing interaction between Egypt and Russia.
What’s really happening?
These are anti-terrorist exercises. Today, international terrorism has dramatically changed. Earlier, terrorism was firecrackers in garbage cans, gunmen with ceramic pistols onboard a plane, shooting officials under the slogans of a struggle, or just a suicide belt in a crowd. Accordingly, the police, intelligence services, and special combat groups were the ones that dealt with counter-terrorism. The exchange of experience between countries was built on the interaction of such structures. Countries could share information and create common structures and communication channels.
But where is there space for interaction with paratroopers loaded on board? What kind of terrorism is there, against which it is necessary to use not only the regular army, but also an ally's?
Sometimes the horror of terrorism lies in that its adherents are indistinguishable from civilians. Any normal person could bring homemade explosives into a shopping center tomorrow. Against this phenomenon, 100 mm guns, a BMD-4, and a detachment of paratroopers will hardly help. But they’ll do just fine if what is needed is lighting up a defined enemy. And this is exactly what terrorism is becoming in the 21st century.
Terrorism has even taken the form of something vaguely similar to a state and, like ISIS, has its own army, intelligence, agents throughout the world, and units capable of quickly transforming into a small army in favorable conditions.
An ISIS branch known as Wilayat Sinai has long since been operating in Egypt which periodically murders government soldiers. Such deaths already number in the hundreds. This group also claimed responsibility for the crash of the Metrojet 9266 flight. We must not forget that Africa as a whole has become the epicenter of activity for global terrorism. Someone can and needs to oppose this.
This scenario of jointly counteracting such a threat is what is being worked out in Egypt. Three dozen observers are studying just how effectively and quickly the Russian armed forces can be worked with.
A new concept of security
The trial of a new global security system is being run in Egypt and it is based on Russia’s military might. The Yankees can ignite war at any point on the globe, but we can put it out. In Syria, we proved that, if we are asked, then we can help a legal and legitimate government protect its country from destruction.
Now, in Egypt, we are showing how we can stop the open military intervention of global terrorism in the affairs of a sovereign state and nip the threat in the bud. The real focus of these exercises is, as has been officially revealed, "working out integrated approaches of cooperation in the locating and destruction of illegal armed formations in desert conditions."
Once being promptly loaded on board Russian planes, Russian paratroopers can fly to any point in the world and land behind enemy lines, cripple their operations, and provide an opportunity for a government army to defeat this enemy. Given that terrorist gangs don’t have heavy weapons or modern armored vehicles, this is just the task for our paratroopers.
And after the mission, we will politely leave.
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