Further to this post,
the latest at Foreign Policy’s “Situation Report”:
Shiny new things. Russian president Vladimir Putin has been sinking billions into revamping the Russian military machine over the last several years, and Moscow’s entry into the war in Syria has been a coming out party for the gear those investments have produced. The launch earlier this week of cruise missiles from a brand-new Russian sub parked off the Syrian coast is just the latest in a series of “look at me” moments we’ve seen since Moscow’s bombing campaign started in late September, FP’s Reid Standish writes in a solid piece. There has been quite a bit of Russian kit on display, including sub and ship-launched cruise missiles, new missile defense systems, and a new fleet of drones, but the piece also locates an obvious but less-discussed reason for Moscow’s chest-thumping: pure gamesmanship. Moscow wants the world to see that it has finally tossed off the musty old Soviet overcoat and is ready again to be a global military power.
Somebody’s watching me. Moscow wants the world to notice its new capabilities, and U.S. and NATO troops are more than happy to oblige, taking the opportunity to go to school on the new look Russian military. Alliance troops have already started training against the latest Russian battlefield tactics and technologies, using what they’re learning from Ukrainian troops who have been fighting Russian forces and their separatist allies for over a year in Ukraine’s east, says a top U.S. military official.
Speaking with reporters at the Pentagon on Wednesday [Dec. 9], U.S. Army Europe commander Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges said a program in western Ukraine — where hundreds of U.S. troops and Special Ops forces are training Ukrainian military and police units — has been an invaluable learning experience [Canadian troops are there too–Operation UNIFIER, more here]. The Russian use of drones to direct artillery fire and electronic jamming capabilities in particular have been a real eye-opener, and “we’ve already plowed that into our own training” at the American-run Hohenfels training site in Germany, Hodges said…
Still, it hasn’t all been clear flying: