Ten types of Russian weapons didn’t work well in Syria, the Russian defense minister says

Russian pilot checking bombs before a bombing in Syria (Image: Vedomosti)

Russian pilot checking bombs before a bombing in Syria (Image: Vedomosti) 

Analysis & Opinion, Military analysis, Russia

Russian forces demonstrated their prowess in the destruction of the opponents of the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad, Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoygu says; but ten kinds of Russian weaponry, especially those in high-tech sectors like cruise missiles and communications, did not perform well.

Shoygu’s comments came on Thursday at an expanded collegium of his ministry, at which Vladimir Putin also spoke, and were quickly overshadowed by the Kremlin leader’s claims that Russia is stronger than any potential aggressor and is modernizing its nuclear forces.Putin and Shoygu

Russian Vedomosti newspaper reports that, according to Shoygu, Russian military forces have conducted 18,800 combat flights and 71,000 airstrikes against targets in Syria. 162 types of Russian weapons were “combat-tested” and showed “high effectiveness.” They include Su-34 strike fighter planes, Su-30SM fighter planes, Mi-28 and Ka-52 helicopters, and sea-launched cruise missiles. Meanwhile, 10 types of Russian new weaponry “fell short of expectations… and procurement was halted.” According to a source close to the Russian Ministry of Defense, the 10 deficient weapon types include air-launched cruise missiles, communication systems and radio signal intelligence systems.

At that meeting, Putin said that “we must do a lot to strengthen the nuclear triad… do more with the navy… and perfect the systems of intelligence and communications.” But despite that, he added, he could “with confidence say that today we are stronger than any potential aggressor.”

That provoked a response by US State Department spokesman John Kirby that he “doesn’t think that in the entire history of humanity have there been armed forces… stronger than those of the United States at the present time.”

And that in turn led to another comment by Aleksey Pushkov, chairman of the Russian Federation Council’s Commission on Information Policy. In a Tweet, he said that “the State Department has called the US Armed Forces the strongest in history. But Iraq, Libya, and Afghanistan show the impotence of force: the US can win a war but then lose the peace.”

As this back and forth was taking place, an article in Warsaw’s Gazeta Polska suggested that the Russian army is “Potemkin”-like and less capable than many believe, an argument that a Russian commentator has now rejected with vigor.

The Polish analyst, Antoni Rybczyński, says that Moscow’s “lightning-fast annexation of Crimea, participation in the military operations in the Donbas and Syria, increases in defense spending, and orders for new weapons have all generated euphoria [in Russia] and serious concern in the West.”

“One might think,” he continues, “that Russia’s armed forces are a worthy opponent of the US and NATO.” But there are reasons to view the Russian military as less capable than many fear. The Russian military lags behind Western standards, but it can avoid the consequences of that when it is in a position to “choose the time and place of confrontation.”

For example, Rybczyński points out, many of the weapon systems Russia uses are out of date. “The modernization of the Russian army has always been based on Western ideas and technologies. Today, sanctions and the economic crisis are having their effect [and] especially backward is the sector of precision weaponry.”

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Indeed, he continues, a major reason that Russian forces did so much damage to the Syrian city of Aleppo is that they were using “primitive arms” rather than the more precise ones that fill the arsenals of Western powers. Russia faces similar problems in other weapons sectors as well, including tanks.

“The only element of the arsenal in which Russian can compare with the US and which the Americans fear is nuclear arms,” a fear that is entirely justified but that does not necessarily determine outcomes on particular battlefields.

Not surprisingly, Svobodnaya pressa commentator Vladimir Tuchkov rejects all of Rybczyński’s contentions except the part about nuclear weapons. But he does so in the usual Russian manner of comparing gross numbers of categories of weapons like tanks, something where Russia has an advantage in numbers but not in technology.


Edited by: A. N.

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  • Jamesmace

    What are the ten?

  • Mykola Banderachuk

    of course the russian army is stronger than any agressor and that is because there is no agressor – it is all made up by the myth makers in moskva. no body wants to conquer a land of drunks, liars and muskeg.

    • Oknemfrod


  • freedom fighter

    i know it’s strange…..terrorist are the good guys with ya’ll……..well take them in, and have a lovely christmass, naa sain aki? lol

    • Turtler

      “i know it’s strange…..terrorist are the good guys with
      ya’ll……..well take them in, ”

      Have you utterly ignored all this website has written about Putin’s DNR or LNR terrorists?

      Have you ignored how event today Russia is fighting alongside the forces of the world’s top state sponsor for terrorism in Syria- namely Iran- and various terror groups it and Assad have supported, like Hezbollah?

      Or how the fact that most Islamist terror groups fighting in the Syrian Civil War are there because Assad *LET* them in?

      Do basic research, moron.

      • freedom fighter

        nope, fighting with and for terrorists are europe, america and whoever else has bend over for them………..supporting them, financing them, lord knows what else……. as far as i know russka has helped assad, for good or bad.
        the rest is just bs son……..america is supporting different sides of the battle , and does it all the time…….so save it slow boy)

        • Turtler

          “nope, fighting with and for terrorists are europe, america and
          whoever else has bend over for them………..supporting them, financing
          them, lord knows what else…….”

          The hypocrisy is boundless.

          AGAIN, the reason pretty much all the Jihadis in Syria are there is because Putin’s good friend and ally Assad *let them in*, supported them, financed them, and gave them shelter when being hunted by Coalition troops, the Israelis, and opposing Lebanese factions. Gee, how did that happen?

          The current US government is scummy beyond measure, but even its’ follies (and cases where it has actually supported terrorists) were accidental. And in attempts to go after even greater terrorist kingpins, which is exactly what Gaddafi was and Assad is. You’ll notice that since the Muslim Brothers turned to arson and bombings in Egypt even a Dhimmi like Obama has been awfully quiet in condemning them.

          “as far as i know russka has helped assad, for good or bad.”


          “the rest is just bs son……..”

          Considering the DNA results, there is absolutely no chance I am your son.

          And if the rest is just BS, then go on. PROVE it. I suppose you are claiming Hezbollah is not fighting alongside Russian troops? Or is it that it is not a terrorist organization?

          “america is supporting different sides of the battle , and does it all the

          As do many others, including the Kremlin. that is part of the price of playing politics. But much matters about what the different sides are. And in general, the US does not deploy terrorists recruited straight from its’ army (like Russia does in the form of its’ conscripts) to wage war on a neighbor.

          “so save it slow boy)”

          it is not in my knowledge to “save” the ignorance of a hack like yourself.

          So tough.

          • freedom fighter

            nope, america supports terrorists and uses it as ace in da hole…

          • Turtler

            The idea that jumped up druggie Jihadis are the “ace in da hole” compared to the most powerful military in history is so gratuitously stupid it is hilarious.

            Especially compared to the Levantine dictator who allowed Jihadis into his nation and sponsored them, and the one who needs them as proxies to avoid open war with half of the nation son Russia’s borders.

          • freedom fighter

            snap, u actually sound like u might know something)))

          • Turtler

            I’ll take that as a compliment, thank you.

          • freedom fighter

            yet operation northwood is now public….if that’s not terrorizm i dont know what is………..

          • Turtler

            “yet operation northwood is now public….if that’s not terrorizm i dont know what is………..”


            Let’s get the first thing out of the way.

            Operation Northwoods *Never was put into action.* In fact it was never even approved for action. It never left the discussion table. And so it by definition was not terrorism, because nothing happened and discussion of things (even if repugnant- and I admit Northwoods was-) is not terrorism. It killed and harmed exactly nobody.

            Secondly: the plans that Northwoods detailed involved false flag operations, in which the CIA itself would play the role of provocateurs and terrorists in order to pin the blame on others. So this was not a case of the US relying on some other terrorist group as an ace in the hole, it was flying solo.

            So it does not support the claims you made before. Especially in contrast to Hezbollah etc. al. That does not make Northwoods a good point in US history, absolutely not. But it does help underline the differneces.

          • freedom fighter

            yeah but 911 did, the point being is that it was introduced in the 50’s or some chit..just imagine what they are doing now, and no no no they’ll never let any light be shined on it.

          • Turtler

            “yeah but 911 did, ”

            9/11 was a case where a former guerilla group the US supported branched off into terrorism and turned on its’ former backers. it is certainly not a case of the US relying on a terrorist group to do it.

            “the point being is that it was introduced in the 50’s or some chit..”

            The dictatorship it targeted did not even exist until the fifties were over. Northwoods was first formulated in 1962.

            “just imagine what they are doing now, ”

            Sure, and that is worth noting. Especially since past action is a good guide to present behavior. The issue is that while keeping this in mind as wlel as the fact that the US is not perfect, Northwoods was still *$hitcanned.* It NEVER came into action. It was vetoed by the POTUS himself.

            Which is just as worth noting.

            And it also came to light in the US through legal domestic mechanisms, not just because its’ executive (like Putin) declared one thing one day and then the opposite the next, as the seizure of Crimea shows.

            That is worth keeping in mind.

            “and no no no they’ll never let any light be shined on it.”

            Except the reason we know about Northwoods in the first case is that it came to light through voluntary declassification, so this is not true.

            And secondly: in a world where the former Secretary of State couldn’t keep the awe inspiring corruption and incompetence of herself and the entire Obama Administration secret on her private server, the chances of any given plan being secret forever in today’s world is slim.

        • Quartermaster

          Historically, Russia has supported terrorism against the west. In this case, Obama made the stupid judgment of supporting “rebels” against the Syrian regime when the best one could hope for in Syria was Assad’s regime. Russia, however, has become a terrorist organization itself in Syria.
          Obama is an idiot, but that does nothing to absolve either Assad or Putin in what is going on in Syria.

  • zorbatheturk

    RuSSians are vodka-burning murderers.