Russia Gives Soviet-Era Laser Tank New Lease on Life

1K17 Szhatie self-propelled laser vehicle

Russian engineers are working to breathe new life in Soviet-era plans to develop a laser tank, a staple of Hollywood blockbusters and video games, Russian media reported.

During the closing years of the Cold War, the USSR tried to make that part of science fiction come true and it worked, but not too well.
In its May 28, 2015 article the state-run Rossiyskaya Gazeta newspaper hinted that Russian engineers were now working on similar laser weapons “without advertising it.”By the mid-1970s, the Soviet Union was eagerly pursuing laser weapons on land, at sea, in the air and in outer space as a useful counter to US and Western European optics, missiles, spy satellites and other high-tech systems.

In 1982, it built the first full-size prototype of an energy weapon for a ground vehicle and installed in on a tracked chassis.

The first laser tank was born.

“Creators of the wonder-weapon began thinking about what to call their development so no one would guess anything and, most important, so there also was no mention of a laser,” the Moscow-based Rossiyskaya Gazeta noted.

“They called it a portable automated sighting device, designated the vehicle the 1K11 and dubbed it the Stilet —   or Stiletto. It was meant to burn out enemy cameras, scopes and seekers,” it added.

Far more impressive was the 1K17, which boasted a far more powerful multi-channel laser on a T-80 tank chassis. A dozen individual lenses amplified the main beam as huge batteries allowed the vehicle to fire multiple “shots” in rapid succession.

“[The] laser guns … were capable of burning out all enemy optics within direct line of sight in fractions of a second,” the newspaper wrote. “When there was contact with enemy armored vehicles, Soviet laser tanks simply would blind them, making aimed fire impossible,” Rossiyskaya Gazeta wrote.

The energy beam would have twice the range of a normal tank gun.

In 1992, the first prototypes rolled out of the factory, but the economic chaos in the wake of the Soviet collapse forced the government to cancel the program.

“But one high-ranking official of the Yeltsin government once publicly let it slip that platforms were practically ready,” Rossiyskaya Gazeta noted. “The technology has not been lost.”

“There are a handful of areas … where, theoretically, Soviet-era engineering remains competitive on today’s battlefield,” retired US Army Major Ray Finch,  -  an analyst at the Army’s Foreign Military Studies Office , —  wrote in the June 2015 edition of OE Watch.


About 100 new Armata tanks to be supplied to Russian army in next few years


April 28, MOSCOW
The new tanks will undergo trials in the Arctic and iin hot regions

Russia's new T-14 Armata tanks seen training for the Victory Day military parade

Russia’s new T-14 Armata tanks seen training for the Victory Day military parade

© Sergey Savostyanov/TASS

MOSCOW, April 27. /TASS/. About 100 most advanced tanks on the Armata platform will be delivered to the Russia army for testing in the next several years, Oleg Bochkarev, a deputy chairman of the board of the Russian Defense Industry Commission, said on Monday.

He told the Ekho Moskvy radio station Armata tanks trials would be conducted in 2016. “We will complete the development of this tank by mid-2016. Trials will be conducted in 2016. We are now at the stage of

“Machines we will see at the Victory Parade will be the first in a batch that is to go the army for trials by the yearend,” he said, adding that said about 100 such tanks would be tested.

In his words, trials would take place both in the Arctic and in regions with hot climate.

He said such tanks could be controlled in a remote mode and in case of a critical hit it would be able of withdrawing from the line of fire by itself.

Putin agrees with emperor that Russia’s only allies are Army and Navy

There are many countries and leaders in the world who support Russia’s efforts in the struggle with international terrorism, organized crime, xenophobia, and other modern challenges
Russian Navy Day parade

Russian Navy Day parade

© ITAR-TASS/Yuri Smityuk

MOSCOW, April 16. /TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin has said he quite agrees with a phrase once coined by Russian Emperor Alexander III to the effect “everybody is scared by Russia’s vastness” and that the country has just two allies – the army and the navy.

“I would like to remind you Alexander III, our emperor, once said that Russia has just two allies, the armed forces and the navy. In a message addressed to his son he warned that everybody feels scared at the vastness of Russia. Incidentally, there is a certain reason behind that,” Putin said during the Direct Line question-and-answer session televised live on Thursday.

At the moment there are many countries and leaders in the world who support Russia’s efforts in the struggle with international terrorism, organized crime, xenophobia, and other modern challenges, he said.

“We have very good relations within the framework of various associations, for instance, BRICS. There is the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. These are not military organizations, but they are our allies, which whom we have been cooperating very tightly and advancing relations,” Putin said.

As a military-political alliance he mentioned the Collective Security Treaty Organization. Russia maintains very close relations of alliance with its member-states.

“I proceed from the assumption that we are not going to have a war with anybody. We will certainly be strengthening our defence precisely for the sake of ensuring nobody develops the wish to be at war with Russia,” Putin said.

Future Russian army could deploy anywhere in the world – in 7 hours

   March 19, 2015 

Artist concept of future Russian Special Purpose Aircraft (Concept: Aleksey Komarov, Customer and Technical Manager: Volga-Dnepr Group)

Artist concept of future Russian Special Purpose Aircraft (Concept: Aleksey Komarov, Customer and Technical Manager: Volga-Dnepr Group)

In the future, a fleet of heavy transport aircraft will reportedly be capable of moving a strategic unit of 400 Armata tanks, with ammunition, to anywhere in the world. And probably at hypersonic speed, enabling Russia to mount a global military response.

According to a new design specification from the Military-Industrial Commission in Moscow, a transport aircraft, dubbed PAK TA, will fly at supersonic speeds (up to 2,000 km/h) and will boast an impressively high payload of up to 200 tons. It will also have a range of at least 7,000 kilometers.

The PAK TA program envisages 80 new cargo aircraft to be built by 2024. This means in a decade Russia’s Central Command will be able to place a battle-ready armored army anywhere, Expert Online reports, citing a source in the military who attended the closed meeting.

Artwork: Aleksey Komarov

Artwork: Aleksey Komarov

One of the main tasks of the new PAK TA is to transport Armata heavy missile tanks and other military hardware on the same platform, such as enhanced self-propelled artillery weapons systems, anti-aircraft missile complexes, tactical missile carriers, multiple launch missile systems, and anti-tank missile fighting vehicles.

The PAK TA freighters will be multilevel, with automated cargo loading and have the capability to airdrop hardware and personnel on any terrain.

Diplom – Alexey Komarov from Alexey Komarov on Vimeo.

A fleet of several dozen PAK TA air freighters will be able to lift 400 Armata heavy tanks, or 900 light armored vehicles, such as Sprut-SD airborne amphibious self-propelled tank destroyers.

READ MORE: Russia’s new Armata tank on Army 2015 shopping list

Russia's T-14 Armata Main Battle Tank. (A still from Youtube video by arronlee33)

Russia’s T-14 Armata Main Battle Tank. (A still from Youtube video by arronlee33)

“With the development of a network of military bases in the Middle East, Latin America and Southeast Asia, which is expected to be completed during the same time period (by 2024), it’s obvious that Russia is preparing for a full-scale military confrontation of transcontinental scale,” Expert Online says.

A source who attended the closed meeting of the Military-Industrial Commission told the media outlet on condition of anonymity that he was “shocked” by the demands of the military..

Sprut-SD airborne amphibious self-propelled tank destroyer. (RIA Novosti / Vjacheslav Afonin)

Sprut-SD airborne amphibious self-propelled tank destroyer. (RIA Novosti / Vjacheslav Afonin)

According to the source, the PAK TA project has been ongoing for several years now and will eventually supplant the currently operating air freighters. But such a global mission statement for national military transport aviation has never been voiced before.

“It means for the first time we have the objective of creating an operational capability to airlift a full-fledged army to any desired place on the planet,” the source said. This means delivering a task force the size of the former NATO and the US troops in Iraq, in a matter of hours to any continent. “In the context of the current military doctrine that defies comprehension,” the source said.

READ MORE: Putin: Talking to Russia from position of strength is meaningless

Artwork: Aleksey Komarov

Artwork: Aleksey Komarov

The initial PAK TA specification entailed building subsonic air freighters with a conventional 900 km/h cruising speed and a moderate 4,500-kilometer range.

The program involves the creation of wide-body freighters, with payloads varying from 80 to 200 tons, to replace all existing Ilyushin and Antonov cargo aircraft.

The only operating aircraft with a comparable payload is the Antonov An-225 Mriya (up to 250 tons), but this is a one-off aircraft created specially for the Soviet Buran space shuttle program.

Artwork: Aleksey Komarov

Artwork: Aleksey Komarov

Last year, it was reported that future military air freighters will be developed by the Ilyushin Aviation Complex, with some experts saying the company may base designs on the Il-106 cargo plane (80 tons) project that won a government tender in the late 1980s, but was abandoned after the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Now, with ambitious specifications and objectives, the PAK TA is a truly next-generation transport aircraft.

Russia Launches Simultaneous Military Drills in West, South, Far East

Sukhoi Su-25UB '93 red' & Su-25SM '25 red'

According to Russian Defense Ministry a series of military exercises with live firing was launched simultaneously in Russia’s southern and western regions and in the Far East.


MOSCOW (Sputnik) A series of military exercises with live firing were launched Wednesday in Russia’s southern and western regions and in the Far East, the Defense Ministry said.During a tactical fight training exercise in South Russia’s Stavropol Territory, about 20 Su-25SM (NATO reporting name Frogfoot) fighter-bombers will make 30 sorties with live firing of missiles and rockets.

Meanwhile, some 7,000 kilometers (4,200 miles) away, the Peresvet and the Admiral Nevelsky amphibious warfare ships have begun exercises in the Sea of Japan that include live firing at secure coastal targets.

Air defense units in the westernmost Russian region of the Baltic exclave of Kaliningrad, have also launched large-scale exercises involving over 500 servicemen and 100 units of military hardware.

The current Russian military drills are taking place concurrently with the annual US military exercises in Estonia and NATO naval drills in the Black Sea. Warships from Turkey, Bulgaria and Romania are participating in the Black Sea exercises.

On Monday, the United States sent 120 armored vehicles, including Abrams tanks, to Latvia as part of a NATO mission to demonstrate support to bloc members.

Russia plans to hold at least 4,000 military drills in 2015, the defense ministry said in December 2014.


Ukraine Military Gets Boost With UK Armored Vehicles Delivery

Ukraine's President Petro Poroshenko inspects a British Saxon military vehicle for its bullet proof capabilities at the National Guard Training Center in Novy Petrivtsy, Ukraine, Friday, Feb. 13, 2015

Ukraine accepted delivery of 20 Saxon armored vehicles from Britain last month to be weaponized and put into action by the army, a top aide to President Petro Poroshenko said Monday.

The vehicles — known as Saxons — came without weapons, which Ukraine plans to add before use by the army.


Last month the press service of Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council (NSDC) said 20 Saxon armored vehicles had already arrived in the country and another 55 would be shipped shortly.NCDC Secretary Oleksander Turchynov said during a visit to the National Guard Training Center that although the armored vehicles need some readjustment they would be adapted for the Ukrainian army.

Turchynov added that the vehicles would enter service in the Ukrainian army as soon as they had been tested at a training range.

Meanwhile, General Sir Richard Dannatt, who served as Britain’s  Chief of the General Staff between 2006 and 2009, believes the Saxon armored vehicles are “quite useless.”

“My concern is the inadequate nature of these vehicles which I ordered out of British Army front line service when I was Commander in Chief Land Command 2005-2006. They were withdrawn from Iraq and never deployed in southern Afghanistan,” Dannatt told The Daily Telegraph.

The UK no longer uses the Saxon — but they are still utilized by countries including Nigeria and Bahrain for moving troops around.


Who is the Enemy? EC President Reportedly Wants to Form European Army

A Leopard 2 tank is pictured during a demonstration event held for the media by the German Bundeswehr in Munster near Hannover, Germany. (File)

A projected army will help the bloc fight external threats all over the world and show Russia the EU’s serious approach to upholding its values.


MOSCOW (Sputnik) — President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker is advocating the creation of a Europe-wide army, Germany’s Welt am Sonntag weekly reported Sunday.”Such an army would help us to build a common foreign and security policy, as well as jointly assume the responsibilities of Europe in the world,” Juncker said in an interview.

A European army, according to the EC president, could “react credibly” to dangers facing the 28-member bloc or its neighbors.


Juncker added that forming the European armed forces would signal to Russia the hitherto political and economic union is “serious about upholding the values ​​of the European Union.”Welt am Sonntag reports the EC head’s proposal has found support in the German legislature, with chairman of its foreign affairs committee noting that time has come for the vision to materialize.


“The Europeans spend enormous sums of money for the military combined, much more than Russia. But our military capabilities remain an insufficient security policy as long as we maintain small national armies, which make and buy many parts of the same thing on a smaller scale,” Norbert Rottgen was quoted as saying.Moscow, for its part, has on numerous occasions pointed to an unprecedented expansion of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization toward Russia’s western border.


Ukraine Chief of Staff Admits No Russian Troops in Donetsk

Russian draftees in Kaliningrad Region

Ukraine’s military Chief of Staff Viktor Muzhenko admitted Russian troops have not been taking part in combat operations in the country’s east during news briefing in Kiev, Ukraine Channel 5 television reports.


MOSCOW, January 29 (Sputnik) — The chief of Ukraine’s General Military Staff Viktor Muzhenko acknowledged that Russian regular army units were not involved in combat action in the troubled Donetsk and Luhansk regions.“Right now the Ukrainian army is not engaged in combat operations against Russian regular units,” he underscored.

Muzhenko added, however, that he had information about Russian civilian and military individuals fighting alongside independence supporters in the country’s east.


He also said the Ukrainian army had everything it needed to rout what he described as illegal armed units in Donetsk and Luhansk regions.Speaking at the Davos economic forum on January 21, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said there were upwards of 9,000 Russian military personnel fighting on the side of the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics. Russia denied the charge dismissing it as a “primitive fake”.

However, the US State Department was unable to confirm these allegations. According to OSCE observers based at two border crossing points at the Russian-Ukrainian border, there had been no movement of military equipment over the border.

“There is absolutely no way you can possibly hide huge military formations on a relatively small territory wide open to reporters and OSCE representatives,” the General Military Staff said in a statement.

Since the start of the government forces’ military assault on eastern Ukraine’s independence supporters in April 2014, Kiev and the West have repeatedly accused Russia of intervening in the Ukrainian crisis. The accusations went as far as to claim that Moscow sent troops and weapons to help the independence militias.Nevertheless, the Kremlin has dismissed the claims as not corroborated by any evidence.

US General Outlines Plans to Train Ukrainian National Guard

U.S. Army Europe commander Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges speaks during news conference in Kiev, Ukraine, Wednesday, Jan. 21, 2015.

US troops are going to be deployed to western Ukraine to train the Ukrainian National Guard, Lieutenant General Ben Hodges announced.

MOSCOW, January 24 (Sputnik) – The head of the US army in Europe, Lieutenant General Ben Hodges, told a press conference in Kiev on Wednesday that US troops are going to be deployed to western Ukraine to train the Ukrainian National Guard, Russia Today reports.

The training is set to take place at the Yavoriv Training Area near the city of L’viv, although the exact number of troops taking part is yet to be confirmed. Pentagon spokeswoman Lt. Col. Vanessa Hillman told Defense News that the training is part of US State Department efforts “to assist Ukraine in strengthening its law enforcement capabilities, conduct internal defense, and maintain rule of law.”


In May 2014 the Ukrainian government voted to form a 60,000 strong Ukrainian National Guard, for which the US has earmarked $19 million of funding in from its Global Security Contingency Fund, to help train and equip soldiers.In addition to the military training, on Wednesday the Kiev Post reported that the US Embassy in Ukraine has provided the Ukrainian Border Guard Service with a prototype of the Ukrainian-made ‘Kozak’ armoured personnel carrier, which is “analogous to a light version of a U.S. Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected vehicle,” the Embassy said, according to the paper.

“To date, the United States has delivered dozens of armoured pick-up trucks and vans to the Ukrainian Border Guard Service. The ‘Kozak’ is larger and offers a higher level of protection,” US officials said in the statement.

US Army Europe to Start Training Ukrainian National Guard in Spring

The training of the Ukrainian National Guard by the US Army Europe soldiers will start in spring following Kiev’s request

David Westover, a spokesman for US European Command, said that the training of the Ukrainian National Guard by the US Army Europe soldiers will start in spring following Kiev’s request.

WASHINGTON, January 22 (Sputnik) — The training of the Ukrainian National Guard by the US Army Europe soldiers will start in spring following Kiev’s request, spokesman for US European Command David Westover told Sputnik on Thursday.

“The training, scheduled to begin in spring, comes at the request of the Ukrainian government as they work to reform their police forces and establish their newly formed National Guard,” Westover said adding that the mission is part of a US State Department initiative to assist Ukraine in strengthening its law enforcement capabilities, conducting internal defense, and maintaining rule of law.


US Congress has already approved the funding for the training. It will be allocated from the Global Security Contingency Fund, which is the US government mechanism for providing security sector assistance for partner countries.“This training mission meets US and partner national interests by demonstrating US commitment to security in the Black Sea region, and demonstrating the value of forward stationed forces accustomed to training with partner nations,” Westover stressed.

The spokesman noted that the initiative to train the National Guard is still at the planning stage.

“We’re still in the planning stages of determining which units will provide training and how many personnel will be required to train four maneuver companies and one tactical-level headquarters unit of Ukraine National Guard forces to standard,” Westover said.

The Ukrainian National Guard comprises of troops and activists from Maidan self-defense squads. Its fighters had been participating in Kiev’s military operation in eastern Ukraine since when it started in April of 2014. In October 2014, the Russian Investigative Committee claimed it had irrefutable evidence of Ukraine’s National Guard and the Right Sector nationalist group’s participation in the mass killings.

Besides, there have been other cases of the National Guard fighters being allegedly involved in the killings of the civilian population in eastern Ukraine, including school shelling in Donetsk that claimed the lives of at least two children. Ukrainian authorities denied the accusations.


Ben Hodges, Commander of the US Army in Europe, is in Kiev this week to meet with Ukraine’s officials to discuss military cooperation between the two countries. The visit takes place amid the growing tensions and escalation of the violence in eastern Ukraine.Clashes between Kiev forces and Donbas independence supporters intensified in the first weeks of 2015, despite a ceasefire agreement reached in September, and a «silence regime» introduced in the region on December 9.

The authorities of the Donetsk and Luhansk people’s republics repeatedly stated that Kiev was using truce period to strengthen its forces and prepare for a new offensive.

Last week, Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk urged the country’s parliament to cancel the ceasefire, while Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko’s press service announced that Ukraine was regrouping its military and reinforcing units in «hot spots» in the country’s east.

In a statement published Monday, the Russian Foreign Ministry called on parties involved in the Ukrainian conflict to immediately withdraw heavy artillery from the Donbas and fulfill other obligations they have under the Minsk agreements.