Russian Airborne Forces create airmobile units – Part 2


A new reform is taking place in the Russian Airborne Forces. Air assault and paratrooper units have to meet the requirements of modern armed conflicts to the maximum. The Airborne Forces are creating units of a new type, commando detachments and companies, drone and electronic warfare units. Paratroopers will soon enjoy fire support of their own artillery brigade and a helicopter brigade, the Independent Military Review writes.
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BMD-4M combat airborne vehicle (Picture source: Army Recognition)


It was reported in December 2018 that the 76th Air Assault Division created a new unit — the 237th Air Assault Regiment. Its formation is ongoing and the regiment is rearmed. It will soon receive BMD-4M combat airborne vehicles and BTR-MDM armored personnel carriers.

Reports about the creation of the third regiment of the 7th Mountain Air Assault Division appeared long ago. Crimea is its deployment base. In 2015, Shamanov said the 97th Air Assault Regiment would be deployed in Djankoi, where the 39th Helicopter Regiment is based. The rotorcraft will airlift the paratroopers of the new regiment. Djankoi was likely abandoned as there was no place to build a military township. In the meantime, Feodosiya has several townships and some of them stay idle since Soviet times. The city already accommodates several military units and has enough place for paratroopers and their combat vehicles.

However, an air assault battalion was formed in Feodosiya in 2016. It belonged to the 7th Division. There were reports that the unit would develop into a new air assault regiment.

Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu said in March 2021 that the 56th Air Assault Brigade will become a regiment and go to Crimea. He did not say whether it would join the 7th Division. However, the new unit is unlikely to be a separate force and will reinforce the air assault formation. The battalion in Feodosiya will join the new regiment.

The reform and redeployment of the 56th Brigade is no surprise, as the decision to reinforce the 7th Division was made long ago.

During the experiment with the 31st Brigade, its airmobile units were supported by helicopters from several regiments and brigades of the Aerospace Forces. The airborne command wants to have its own helicopters. It was reported in 2019, that an army aviation brigade may join the Airborne Forces. Little is known about the helicopter unit of the Airborne Forces. The brigade is likely to have several squadrons armed with Mil Mi-8AMTSh, Mi-8MTV-5 and Mi-26 as transport aircraft. Mi-35M will be the main fighting helicopter rather than Mi-28N and Ka-52, as they can provide fire support and airlift an assault.

It is also possible for the airborne brigade to be armed with the latest Mi-8AMTSh-VN transport and combat helicopters. They were designed to support commandos and are equipped with the latest optical-electronic system. They can operate at night and fire precision weapons. In 2021, the first ten Mi-8AMTSh-VN will be delivered to the troops, including helicopter brigades of the Airborne Forces. They are likely to form several helicopter brigades. It is also possible that several helicopter units of the Aerospace Forces will be rearmed and subordinated to the Airborne Forces.


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BTR-MDM airborne armored personnel carrier (Picture source: Army Recognition)


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