Mark Collins – Russian Air Force Woes, Unification Section

Further to this post, this move must have been some time in the planning:

Russia creates new Aerospace Force service branch

Russia has combined its Air Force and Air Defence force to create a new Aerospace Force. Source: PA

Russia has activated the Aerospace Forces as a new branch of its military, the Russian Ministry of Defence announced on 3 August.

The Aerospace Forces (VKS) has been formed by the merger of the Russian Air Force (VVS) and the Russian Aerospace Defence Forces (VKO).

Speaking during a teleconference, Russian defence minister Sergei Shoigu stated that “joining the Air Forces and Aerospace Defence is the best option to improve the system of aerospace defence of the country”, as reported by Russia’s TASS news agency (story here).

The service branch is formally known as the Aerospace Forces of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation. It is divided into three sub-branches: air force; air and missile defence missile troops; space forces. The VVS and RKO were formally merged together to form the VKS on 1 August.

The VKO will be responsible for providing airborne protection of the country; to be able to defeat opposed forces using both conventional and nuclear weapons; to provide aviation support for the other armed services; protect against ballistic missiles; provide early warning; launch military and dual-use satellites; maintain military satellites; and monitor, identify, and protect Russia from space threats…

It would appear that the Strategic Rocket Forces (nuclear ICBMs) remain a separate service (Strategic Aviation is part of the air force–good info at this link). One important air force aspect:

NORAD and Russian Cruise Nukes: “de-escalation”?

Mark Collins, a prolific Ottawa blogger, is a Fellow at the Canadian Global Affairs Institute; he tweets @Mark3Ds

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