Artillery: November 8, 2002


Tube artillery and mortars performed 60 percent of the fire support missions during special operations in Chechnya, while attack and army aviation accounted for the other 40 percent, Lieutenant General Vladimir Zaritsky, chief of the Russian Armed Forces missile troops and artillery department told a news conference in Moscow on 5 November that modern missile systems (like the Uragan or Smerch types) were not used in the troubled republic. 

This is diametrically different than the American experience in Afghanistan, where air power carried out the vast majority of fire support missions. While the Russians have Precision Guided Munitions (PGMs) and delivery aircraft equivalent to America's, they don't have the luxury of a large budget. This means that fire support is executed the 'old fashioned way'. Russian batteries in Chechnya are usually tasked with covering supply convoys and are positioned to provide overlapping arcs.

Zaritsky also told the press that Federal units in the Chechnya campaign have no ammunition problems for their tube, tubeless and mortar artillery, despite reports by some press services about supply problems. However, measures have been taken to conserve rounds needed for tactical exercises and live firing. Zaritsky also stressed that the troops were using ammo produced from the late 1970s to early 1980s, and not the World War II era rounds as reported in the press. - Adam Geibel 


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