Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Russian army has gone through a series of painful reductions. The reason was the chronic underfunding, as well as the lack of the required number of conscripts.
Almost all ORB of combined arms divisions were transferred to a reduced staff. In their composition, tank and reconnaissance-landing companies, as well as radio-technical reconnaissance units, were curtailed. Also, the reduction of individual army companies for special purposes began. First, they were transferred to a reduced staff, then to the category of personnel. Later, these military units were disbanded altogether.
In 1993, the formation of the Mobile Forces began in the Armed Forces. From the Ground Forces, newly formed separate motorized rifle brigades were to be included in their composition. It was planned that each OMSBR would have a reconnaissance battalion of the "Afghan" state, as well as reconnaissance platoons in each motorized rifle battalion. But later, due to a lack of funds, the ORB brigades were cut back, and reconnaissance companies took their place.
During the first Chechen war, the 205th separate motorized rifle brigade was formed. It included not only reconnaissance platoons, but also a full-fledged reconnaissance battalion. Later, a separate special-purpose company was even included in the 205th Omsb Brigade. True, it did not last long. The company was disbanded in the mid-2000s.
But already in the course of the second Chechen campaign, the GRU and the command of the Ground Forces made every effort for the full functioning of the intelligence system on the scale of the United Group of Forces deployed in the republic. When the 42nd Guards Motorized Rifle Division was formed on the territory of Chechnya in the early 2000s, much attention was paid to the organization of reconnaissance units.
A reconnaissance battalion was formed in each divisional motorized rifle battalion. In the regimental reconnaissance companies, radio-technical reconnaissance platoons appeared. In the divisional ORB, two reconnaissance companies and a radio-technical reconnaissance company were formed. The latter included units of unmanned aerial vehicles. Instead of an airborne reconnaissance company, a special forces company appeared in the battalion.
Also, as part of the reconnaissance battalion, an analysis and information processing center was created for the first time, which in real time analyzed, processed and transmitted reconnaissance information to the division command both from divisional reconnaissance officers and from the means of higher headquarters. The only problem with the ORB of the 42nd MRD was that it was the only one for all the Armed Forces.
During the reform of the "New Look" great attention was paid to intelligence units. So, reconnaissance platoons appeared in each motorized rifle battalion of the newly formed brigades. Also, the brigades were replenished with separate reconnaissance battalions.
Tank companies and reconnaissance landing companies were excluded from the ORB. Instead of them, one reconnaissance company on the BRM-1 or BRM-3, a company of radio-technical reconnaissance means, as well as a center for analysis and information processing, became part of the new reconnaissance battalions. Later it was decided to transfer the soldiers of the reconnaissance companies to the Tiger armored vehicles.
In the late 2000s, the Ground Forces returned to the issue of forming separate reconnaissance brigades as part of combined arms armies. Several scientific papers were published, and one article even got into the popular at that time magazine "Brother".
It was planned that the new military units would be a kind of hybrid of American armored cavalry regiments and special forces brigades. The first battalion was to be armed with tanks and infantry fighting vehicles, the second was formed in this way a special-purpose detachment, and the third was equipped with electronic intelligence equipment. Also, the brigade was supposed to include an artillery battalion, a squadron of helicopters and separate units of unmanned aerial vehicles.
The first such military unit was the experimental 100th reconnaissance brigade (ORBr), stationed in Mozdok (it was subordinate to the 58th Army of the Southern Military District). Its formation began in 2009. At the same time, the Ministry of Defense reported that the new military unit should "become a light mobile unit with a sufficient number of reconnaissance assets and powerful weapons."
The organizational and staff structure of the 100th ORB turned out to be very original. The brigade included a reconnaissance battalion, radio intelligence units and unmanned aerial vehicles, as well as an airborne assault battalion, tank units, an artillery division, and even a special forces unit with a helicopter squadron. True, the exercises carried out showed that the brigade is too overweight, and its units and subunits do not work well together.
FACE TO FACE
At present, the structure of the reconnaissance bodies of the Ground Forces is as follows. Reconnaissance companies have been formed as part of the combined arms regiments. Reconnaissance battalions operate in divisions and brigades. In turn, in the interests of the command of the combined-arms army, separate reconnaissance brigades, as well as separate special-purpose companies, conduct reconnaissance.
Significant changes were made to the organizational structure of the reconnaissance battalions. They included two reconnaissance, as well as one reconnaissance landing company and an electronic reconnaissance group.
The former battalion radio intelligence companies were merged with drone units. They also included calculations of short-range reconnaissance radar stations. In reconnaissance battalions, in addition to information processing centers, special communications platoons have appeared, which deploy automated control systems. This is especially true in view of the massive equipping of reconnaissance intelligence systems, command and control and communications (KRUS) "Strelets".
As the chief of reconnaissance of the Ground Forces, Major General Aleksey Belousov, said in an interview, “in poor visibility, fog, heavy snowfall, and rain, our radars can see a lot. In addition, our units are equipped with the Strelets-M reconnaissance, control and communications complex (KRUS). This is an excellent complex that has proven itself well. Also, our tactical unit is equipped with complexes of unmanned aerial vehicles ”.
Initially, reconnaissance and landing companies in battalions became special-purpose companies. But later this decision was abandoned - now these units are called "special reconnaissance companies." It is noteworthy that in mountain motorized rifle brigades (34th motorized rifle brigades and 55th motorized rifle brigades) these are mountaineering companies. Their personnel are trained to conduct reconnaissance and combat operations at an altitude of over 3,500 meters. And in the 80th Arctic Motorized Rifle Brigade, the reconnaissance and landing company is able to operate in the most difficult conditions of the Far North.
In 2016, the re-equipment of reconnaissance units and subunits started. The scouts again moved to the combat reconnaissance vehicles BRM-1 and BRM-3. As an unnamed representative of the military department said, "armored vehicles will not be replaced everywhere, but only in reconnaissance companies of reconnaissance battalions of motorized rifle and tank brigades and divisions." The Tigers will remain in the deep reconnaissance companies.
In 2017, the formation of new separate army intelligence brigades began. In addition to the 100th orbr, a second military unit was formed - the 96th brigade, which became part of the 1st Tank Army of the Western Military District.
After an unsuccessful experiment with the 100th brigade, the organizational and staff structure was revised. However, while it remains closed. It is only known that the orbr includes a reconnaissance battalion. The latter includes the so-called deep reconnaissance companies (most likely we are talking about reconnaissance and landing companies), as well as special-purpose companies. There are also electronic intelligence units in the brigades, as well as drones.
If we analyze the photo and video footage dedicated to the 100th and 96th reconnaissance brigades, we will notice that the personnel are moving in armored vehicles "Tiger-SpN", as well as "Typhoon-K". It is noteworthy that the residents of Nizhny Novgorod also have Lynx cars in their fleet.
Also in 2017, the formation of separate army companies for special purposes began. Currently, two such military units are known. One company is part of the 49th Combined Arms Army of the Southern Military District. In November 2020, the personnel of this military unit took part in joint exercises with soldiers of the special operations forces in Pakistan.
The second company became part of the 20th Combined Arms Army of the Western Military District. In December 2018, the press service of the Western Military District reported that “a separate special-purpose unit was included in the combat composition of the combined arms army of the Western Military District. Special forces soldiers will be deployed in the Voronezh region, where for combat training of personnel of the reconnaissance groups, facilities of the material and technical base will be created at the Pogonovo training ground.
The question arises: what is the difference between the special-purpose companies, which are part of the intelligence brigades, and separate companies of the special forces of the army subordination? It can be concluded that army companies are sharpened primarily for assault actions - raids, capture of objects, ambushes, etc. But the soldiers of the reconnaissance brigades operate covertly behind enemy lines.
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