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Russian Arms philosophy

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posted on Nov, 7 2005 @ 07:24 AM
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Russian Arms philosophy

Hi all.

I keep reading flaming post about how US arms industry is a hi-tech wonderland of the future and how Russian hardware is made by drunken peasants who can’t tell a microchip from a bottle cap.

Every post I’ve seen so far ends up in patriotic chest pounding and silly comparisons based on advertising and skewed factoids.

I’m interested in discussing the underling philosophy behind the whole spectrum of Russian Arms industry, such as historical, economical, geopolitical, social and psychological aspects.

For example, it seems that US military is currently in the interesting transitional stage, clearly moving towards remote and AI driven weapon platforms, which is obviously troubling. After US denied Israel partnership in X35 development, their threat to skip the 5th gen fighter and move directly toward a 6th gen unpiloted platform immediately reversed the decision, thus my interest in the possible Russian approach considering their history.

I ask that this post is to be kept free of bias, typical half baked stereotyping and erroneous information.




posted on Nov, 7 2005 @ 10:10 AM
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Well I've heard that they make really good tanks... the AK-47 is one of the best rifles on this planet, and the planes they ahve might not look good, but they ahve always prooven to be superir to USA fighter when it comes to aerodynamics...



posted on Nov, 7 2005 @ 11:54 AM
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Quantity over quality.

The most obvious principle of the Russian Military, and it hasnt changed for hundreds of years. More men, more tanks, more aircraft, more missiles, and you win, regardless of how advanced the enemy is or how dedicated, or how intelligent. They will be hopelessly outnumbered by you.

However, they also have an eye for common sense in weaponry. Usually it isnt high tech solutions or complicated methods. It is excellent engineering that focuses on reliable, durable, and cheap.

This is reflected in their small arms, armor vehicles, aircraft, and navy.

Many countries try to mimic that style, like China or Eastern Europe or the middle east, but the Russians never fail to make the most of their relatively inferior technology.



posted on Nov, 7 2005 @ 01:00 PM
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“The most obvious principle of the Russian Military, and it hasnt changed for hundreds of years. More men, more tanks, more aircraft, more missiles, and you win, regardless of how advanced the enemy is or how dedicated, or how intelligent. They will be hopelessly outnumbered by you.”

Mainland, enormous territories to protect, that’s obvious. I don’t know about hundreds of years though. German Teutonic Knights on Baltic Crusade into North Russian Plains for example had less to do with numerical superiority rather then the tactical use of the geography by the Russians. Historically Russians used vast lands to draw the attackers deep into the territory in order to over stretch the enemy’s supply lines, which is clearly a defensive strategy. Only the nomadic Genghis Khans Golden Horde controlled Russian lands. It is the final expulsion of the Mongols in 1502 that united Russian principalities, just as with China.

Considering the vast lands and wars with the Mongols, Russia and China share similar defensive strategies. That’s why I’m curios about which direction they might be going in this century.

I see how the gear absolutely has to be reliable, easy to maintain in the middle of nowhere and cheap to manufacture in large numbers.

The “relatively inferior technology” aspect is rather vague to me. For example you’d be surprised how many Russian engineers worked on Boeing 777. “Brody says: “Russia offers incredible technical capability, both in terms of people and technologies; and a good market and extensive manufacturing capabilities.”

“Now 20% of all titanium part in Boeing production models are made of Russian metal. The U.S. plane-maker also benefits from using Russian high technologies, such as virbo-strengthening of titanium-made parts.”

I’ve heard that around 1500 Russian engineers are working for Boeing now, so now we not only farm everything out but actually import high technical level engineers from all over, while letting our own people go.



posted on Nov, 7 2005 @ 02:23 PM
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Simpler and easier to produce maybe, "inferior" I am not so sure about.

In WW2 the T-34, LA-5, IL-2 etc, while technologically simpler than their German counterparts and more crudely manufactured, tended to outperform them, especially in adverse conditions. The LA-5 is a great example, technologically seemingly simplistic (featuring laminated plywood construction among other things), it could outperform contemporary German Me-109 and FW-190 variants by a respectable margin. At least if you believe the Germans themselves, who tested captured examples and were shocked by the results.

It should be noted that the US in WW2 also followed something of a "quantity has a quality all its own" philosophy, the Sherman tank and P-51 Mustang being adopted largely because they were cheap to manufacture in large quantities. One of the main reasons the P-51 saw more use than the more advanced P-38 as the war progressed was because it cost a fraction of what the P-38 did to make, while capable of similar performance. The P-38's complexity also tended to limit it's usefulness in high altitude ETO combat, the complex cockpit heating system being a particular problem.

In warfare, technological sophistication can be a double edged sword, complexity often limiting a system's usefulness. The Me-262 is a great example, while in it's element it was nearly impossible to catch, the Allied fighters would simply follow the 262's back to their bases and take them out at low speed in their landing patterns, where they were almost entirely helpless. The same early jet engines that made the 262 so fast in terms of top speed also limited their ability to accelerate quickly, leading to the flaming aerial disassembly of many a "wonder weapon."

[edit on 11/7/05 by xmotex]



posted on Nov, 7 2005 @ 02:45 PM
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I'm not a military person; interested in history (before US Civil War).

One question that you might ask is, how has the military industrial complex
in the US affected the style of US weapon development.

I believe that since WWII, US weapons manufacturers are no longer functioning in a "free market."

They have luxurious defense contracts that don't force them to economize on either R&D or production costs.

Less wealthy nations don't have that sort of luxury.

Russian equipment, IMO, is designed to be repaired without relying on American style infrastructure and equipment specialization.

Here's what I do know a tad about: Farm equipment. Before you laugh, a lot of US and Russian farm implement companies also make military vehicles and equipment.

Back in the early 1990's, Russian "Belarus" tractors became available to US farmers. I saw an early one at a farm show. They had some features that seemed "un-American" and very interesting.

-made with "off the shelf components." American manufactures (i.e. John Deere) have a lot of "special fasteners" you need to order from the factory. "Parts AND Service." The Russian stuff, tho metric, was all stuff you'd find in any parts store in the US.

-Frame is literally "square" at 90 degree corners. US farm machinery often features computer-curved cowlings and frame. That must be re-ordered. The Belarus part could be re-shaped or replaced by anyone with a T-square.

-All welds are on the exterior. Ugly as cold crap, but if a piece breaks off the machine, you can grind it off, and replace or repair the thing, then weld it back on.

- All of the filters were WASHABLE. I asked the dealer how we could count on getting the right filters from Russia. He said you don't. You hose the thing out with solvent, then water. Then you put it in the bottom rack of your dishwasher. (sure. My wife would just be thrilled with that one.)

The thing cost probably $20,000 at the time. A US analogous tractor was probably $60,000.

My boss was obsessed with it, but all of us farmhands talked him out of it:

It had a cab, but no air-conditioning.





posted on Nov, 7 2005 @ 03:09 PM
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They did pack some serious firepower. WWII Russian automatic gun designs were years a. of their time, Shvak, shkas, UB20, etc.

Even today the only gun that outperforms the Gsh-301 is the French GIAT 791B, but at the cost of more then twice the weight. Gsh-301 30mm at 1800rpm weighing 46kg verses 791B 30mm at 2500rpm weighing 110kg.

Again, the single minded numerical superiority strategy just doesn’t fit. Every time I look into Russian weapons I find a lot of weird experimental designs. Not like Air Forces flying saucers but stuff like a quad tracked tank for swamps. Yet again, if you got hundreds of thousands acres of swamp land, maybe a quad tracked tank is just what you need.



posted on Nov, 7 2005 @ 03:26 PM
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Actually I agree with dr_strangecraft entirely. He does make, well, sense, everything from the “free economy” to the Belarus.

Actually Kalashnikov was a tractor mechanic before the war. Eugene Stoner I think was an aerospace engineer.

Hey, AK is as ugly as cold crap but it does work like a tractor.

It looks like Russian gear is by design free from profit loopholes, not that I’m anti profit, but it makes sense not to rely on a bunch of suppliers and offshore manufacturers when it comes to National defense.



posted on Nov, 8 2005 @ 01:57 PM
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I think it's true that the US in particular has suffered from a lot of 'Russians can't make stuff' propaganda.The Russians do build rugged, cheap reliable kit that works well even with semi-trained peasants operating it. What they lack is polish and finesse and some degree of technological sophistication. I have a Russian-made nightscope, which is big and heavy - you could probably hammer in nails with it - and has a very poor quality lens. But it was cheap and it isn't going to break.

However, the US insistence on expensive hi-tech stuff has produced lots of useful spin-offs - digital computers, mobile phones, the internet, laser technology etc.

Also, you have to ask whether the Russian approach will work in the 21st century. When it's all about sensors, smart weapons and net-centric combat by robots will the Russians be able to keep up?



posted on Nov, 8 2005 @ 02:08 PM
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OK, smack me for not using an example with the "relatively inferior technology" refers to computers, guidance systems, electronics, industrial technologies, and safety designs.

"for hundreds of years" I was only refering to the last 200, in which its relatively difficult to argue against the Russian concept of superior numbers.

Though the Russians have very excellent designs, most likely superior engineering, it is the result of inherent industrial and technical lacking. The Russians do not have a long history of highly advanced weapon systems or a history of excellent industrial manufacturing. Even with their "boom" in the 30's, it was not efficient, terribly wasteful, and not safe at all. One of the most serious problems with Russian designs is the lack of safety systems. Western designs require them, as accidences are not acceptable. Accidents were acceptable if the lack of safety made it simplier, cheaper, more effective and less likely to break.

There are pros and cons in their philosophy. They still do not put the value on human life that western armies do, even with the amount of progress they have made in this direction.

They also do not have the level of computer and electronical excellence that the west, and very specifically, the US have. It is difficult for any country to compete with the US in those fields.

However, they certainly make up for it in the other manners.

As for german design and russian, the differences are very stark, and very obvious.

The Germans of the last hundred years have been the worlds perfectionists, from their helmets to their tanks. Make it more complicated, make it more lethal, efficient, regardless of cost.

Meanwhile, the Russians: Make it cheaper, make it more practical, and make alot of them.



posted on Nov, 12 2005 @ 12:02 PM
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Originally posted by Wembley

Also, you have to ask whether the Russian approach will work in the 21st century. When it's all about sensors, smart weapons and net-centric combat by robots will the Russians be able to keep up?


Well assuming the crude russian robots still work while the more hitech ones break down they might have an edge. All those virus makers and hackers from Russia wont hurt either



posted on Nov, 12 2005 @ 01:16 PM
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"Casualties are expected" is also a pretty good one...



posted on Nov, 13 2005 @ 04:14 AM
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"They still do not put the value on human life that western armies do,"

Don't western armies kill people then?



posted on Nov, 13 2005 @ 05:00 AM
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Originally posted by iskander
I keep reading flaming post about how US arms industry is a hi-tech wonderland of the future and how Russian hardware is made by drunken peasants who can’t tell a microchip from a bottle cap.


Quite simply, people who post these shouldn't be listened to, because they quite clearly know NOTHING.

Russian arms industry is more advanced than practically anyone else's, and it's definately up there with USA.

They continue to research and make the best (not necessarily absolute best) planes, tanks, small arms, subs, a/cs, other sea vessels, anti-terror equipment, and carry out a heck of a lot of secret research.

As for moving into unmanned planes driven by AI well....if USAF pilots will be replaces by computers, then it's safe to say they're screwed.

There will never, ever, ever, ever no matter how sophisticated computers get be a match for a human being.

It is impossible for a computer to be as good as a living organism at things such as these.

For that to happen you'd need to perfectly replicate a human brain, and that's just not possible...and I doubt it ever will be.

Well maybe in a thousand years.



posted on Nov, 13 2005 @ 07:12 AM
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I do not think the russians are inferior even in the dept of sensors/digital computers/ etc. etc..
Though they ma not be having the full caoability of tools like the GPS to aid them in war, russian weaponry is certainly very hi-tech..

The assymetric TVC capability of the Su30+ family (and now the MiG-29OVT) is purely based on spontaneous computer calculations. Such TVC technology is probably only matched by the Raptor(that too I'm not sure of) and so at VR combat only a/c like the Raptor and the typhoon maybe able to display such agility.
If the russians find a solution to the stealth adv. the americans currently have, they will be a. in the a/c game once again..
Also check out the most complex ejection seat known to mankind..
Very hi-tech, forgot the naem though..K-30 something



posted on Nov, 13 2005 @ 09:49 AM
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The Russian do follow philosophy of:

-Rugged design, they can be beat around and still work
-Reliable, they wont jam even in the most adverse conditions.
-Practical, Their equipment needs alot less training, even a peasant can shoot an AK, something MANY people like including my self.
-Easy to fix, if an AK breaks there is plenty of spare parts, and if needed, you can make the spare parts easilly in a shack


They do care less about safety of Army Personnel, the current T-series of tanks are a death trap, if their turret gets hit, the ammo explodes and the turret will probably blow off, no chance of survival, this was remedied with Explosive Reactive Armor, but many Anti-Tank weapons can do damage beyond ERA.

Their aircraft are fabulous, they can take off from the crappiest runways, they are on par with most western aircraft if not better.

They do lack from having less sophisticated equipment like the US user friendly computer systems (but the US Super Hornet pilots report "helmet fire" because they have to control so many computer systems at once).

I think the main strength of the Russians is their superior Air to Air missiles, they generally carry more, they have more range but their targetting systems might not be as great so their hit to miss ratio is less.

Not as exagerrated as some Americans claim though.



posted on Nov, 14 2005 @ 01:45 PM
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The T series of tanks were excellent when they were designed, more than a match for their American counterparts. T-72/64 vs M-60 scenarios were usually in favor of the T-72. However, they dont match up against tanks 20 years later.

Russian aircraft are excellent in basic characteristics, but I've heard much of the very poor situational awareness, lack of onboard high powered radar, and high workload due to inferior computers. Of course, this isnt an issue considering their mission: Defending Russian airspace. In this mission, fighters and intercepters have ground coordination and radar cover. Long range Russian aircraft are often 2 seater and have larger radars, the Su-27 being a good example, or MiG-31.

US aircraft are more about independant power projection, and it is reflected. They have excellent situational awareness, can operate fully indepedant of ground controllers, are very mission flexible due to good computers and electronics, but lack in dedicated mission types. The USAF has no "dedicated intercepter" per say, although many aircraft have that in their range of missions.

Same goes with armor and infantry and navy, neither is inferior compared with others, its simply a matter of what doctrine do they follow.



posted on Nov, 14 2005 @ 04:50 PM
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Originally posted by Raideur
Quantity over quality.

The most obvious principle of the Russian Military, and it hasnt changed for hundreds of years. More men, more tanks, more aircraft, more missiles, and you win, regardless of how advanced the enemy is or how dedicated, or how intelligent. They will be hopelessly outnumbered by you.


You might want to ask the Germans about all of that! The Russians certainly did not fight according to the quantity over quality rule in the Second world war anymore than the Germans did. What they actually had was quality AND quantity and both contributed to victory in the end. Ever since then they have certainly not based their strategic plans on quantity over quality and instead designed equipment for a certain combat tactical life and efficiency enough to play it's role on strategic level. A disorganized mob is no more an army than a pile of building material is a house and anyone who marches off to war assuming strenght in that fact alone will certainly fail.


However, they also have an eye for common sense in weaponry. Usually it isnt high tech solutions or complicated methods. It is excellent engineering that focuses on reliable, durable, and cheap.


The average armor thickness of Russian tanks and AFV were more than their German counterparts. I could probably defend the claim that Russian armor were on the whole better designed and that proper employment and training of personal were the critical flaw. USSR plainly had better artillery systems and in any number of other areas one can show that they did not lack a technological or engineering edge.


This is reflected in their small arms, armor vehicles, aircraft, and navy.

Many countries try to mimic that style, like China or Eastern Europe or the middle east, but the Russians never fail to make the most of their relatively inferior technology.


Actually they in at least a few wars failed to make use of their SUPERIOR technology and engineering brilliance.

Sorry for not posting links to back up everything! If you do not believe me ask for links and proof of my claims. You can however pretty much google your way to full agreement with me inside a few nights.


Stellar



posted on Nov, 14 2005 @ 05:07 PM
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Great post up there, xmotex.


I could respond to many post's here but it seems most posters realise that what may look like Russian indifference to their soldiers lives are strategic choices to win a European war as fast as possible. What may seem like inferior technology likely just reflects the fact that the mission of said piece of equipment will simply not benefit by added complexity or expense. A tank is a tank and there is only so much you can do tactically without having to change strategic considerations. Planes may be extremely flashy with perfectly nice Hud's and Pc's but with a low yield nuclear blast it's going down no matter how aware the pilot is.

In essence i am rather sure that i can defend these differences in apparent technical design and training of personal to be nothing other than strategic choices instead of strategic limitations or design limitations.

In the end these questions are best decided with a good old fashioned discussion with some against and some for. Let the information speak for itself!

Stellar



posted on Nov, 14 2005 @ 05:36 PM
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There is a very different philosophy in Russia and the US and it extends to more then Military as dr_strangecraft pointed in his great post


You could see another example in each countries Space program. American companies spent alot of money to create a pen that could write in a zero g enviroment. Russia simple brought a pencil up with them
. Not that using a pen was stupid since pencil shavings and broken lead might not be the best things to be floating around in a space craft.

Both coountries faced the same simple problem but choose very different ways to tackle it.



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