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Russia - Military Strength vs Expenditure. How do they do it?

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Russia - Military Strength vs Expenditure. How do they do it?

Old 25th Jan 2022, 12:53
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Russia - Military Strength vs Expenditure. How do they do it?

According to accessible sources Russia's military expenditure is much the same as the UK's yet their military might is many, many times as great. Ten times more troops at least, far more if you count reserves. A Navy perhaps three times the size in terms of major units and infinitely larger if coastal vessels abd conventional subs are counted, an Air Force many times the size too. Plus an absolute plethora of offensive and defensive weapon systems we can only dream of posessing.

Clearly mere size is not necessarily a deciding factor but sheer numbers are a big advantage.

How is it that they manage to have acheived such a vast superiority in numbers and strength with such an all but identical budget?
Or is the question how we manage to achieve such poor numbers with so much spent?
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_o...y_expenditures

Russia and UK are rated 4th and 5th in world rankings on Wiki but 2nd and 8th in terms of capability.
https://www.globalfirepower.com/countries-listing.php

What's gone wrong? The differences are far, far too big to be accounted for by relative values of currency, economic status or even legacy equipment, surely?
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Old 25th Jan 2022, 13:02
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I wonder if they have to pay £100 to have a light bulb changed due to some obscene contract? Having been in the military for 32 years I have witnessed the wanton grabbing of tax payers money by large corporates.
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Old 25th Jan 2022, 13:34
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Pay and pensions?

I bet we do better financially in the UK than our Russian counterparts on the wage front.

The hundreds of thousands of military veterans drawing a pension all need to be paid for as well.

So, if you’re retired and you are wondering what you can do to help our poor, beleaguered military just hand your pension back. Take one for the team.

BV
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Old 25th Jan 2022, 13:45
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Originally Posted by Bob Viking View Post
I bet we do better financially in the UK than our Russian counterparts on the wage front.

The hundreds of thousands of military veterans drawing a pension all need to be paid for as well.

So, if you’re retired and you are wondering what you can do to help our poor, beleaguered military just hand your pension back. Take one for the team.

BV
That's going to extend into almost all spending. If you follow expenditure down the chain, it almost always ends up being spent on someone's wages, and for defence a higher proportion of that spending is likely to remain in country.
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Old 25th Jan 2022, 14:03
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Originally Posted by meleagertoo View Post
According to accessible sources Russia's military expenditure is much the same as the UK's yet their military might is many, many times as great. Ten times more troops at least, far more if you count reserves. A Navy perhaps three times the size in terms of major units and infinitely larger if coastal vessels abd conventional subs are counted, an Air Force many times the size too. Plus an absolute plethora of offensive and defensive weapon systems we can only dream of posessing.

Clearly mere size is not necessarily a deciding factor but sheer numbers are a big advantage.

How is it that they manage to have acheived such a vast superiority in numbers and strength with such an all but identical budget?
Or is the question how we manage to achieve such poor numbers with so much spent?
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_o...y_expenditures

Russia and UK are rated 4th and 5th in world rankings on Wiki but 2nd and 8th in terms of capability.
https://www.globalfirepower.com/countries-listing.php

What's gone wrong? The differences are far, far too big to be accounted for by relative values of currency, economic status or even legacy equipment, surely?
Surely the pay differentials between a volunteer force and a draft force make a big difference. A draftee force does not bring the same size pension and benefits costs that a professional military does either.
Also contributing imho is the massively costly military specifications and purchasing bureaucracy, with its industrial counterparts.
Still, it most fundamentally reflects massive management failure.
To illustrate, SpaceX was initially funded privately by Musk's profits from his role at PayPal, $200MM at most, about 1% of what the US government has spent on the still to be launched Artemis launcher.
The NASA and US industry engineers are not that much less capable than those at SpaceX, but clearly the latter's management processes function a lot better.

The most useful question would be: How did Russia, famous for its sclerotic bureaucracies, manage to get so much better management, as shown by the results?
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Old 25th Jan 2022, 14:13
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Work conditions

I think it’s probably similar to how countries like China and Qatar manage to build massive projects in a fraction of the time and at a fraction of the cost that we can achieve in the West.

It’s so much easier to have lots of stuff and thousands of soldiers when you don’t have to care about work conditions and things such as human rights and unions.

BV
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Old 25th Jan 2022, 14:17
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The most useful question would be: How did Russia, famous for its sclerotic bureaucracies, manage to get so much better management, as shown by the results?
Options … The Gulag … or a Peerage?

I see little evidence of ‘penalty clauses’ on individuals in the West. Over there, they may be sclerotic but seemingly they do deliver, on time and on budget (or else!).
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Old 25th Jan 2022, 14:22
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Originally Posted by meleagertoo View Post
A Navy perhaps three times the size in terms of major units and infinitely larger if coastal vessels abd conventional subs are counted, an Air Force many times the size too.

What's gone wrong? The differences are far, far too big to be accounted for by relative values of currency, economic status or even legacy equipment, surely?
Paper strength is one thing. How many of those major units are actually seaworthy at any one time. Or capable of deploying fully trained and stored?

There's also a transparency issue. Do we actually know how much they spend? Or are we using their official figures and taking them as gospel? Are those figures audited? Something which actually incurs a fair amount of expense just in doing so (or more accurately, conducting endless VFM studies/ABC options), as denizens of ABW and the TLBs will attest.
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Old 25th Jan 2022, 14:29
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And there, Mr Boffin, you take me back to my days in MoD (War Plans and Policy). When the WP folded, we discovered what false assumptions we had been working on, I won’t go in to detail, but for argument’s sake the Sov AF was found to have about 25%-30% of the capability we had been anticipating.

How good are RU assets now? Numbers, yes. Technology, yes. Conscript manned and serviced … ah, there’s a question we cannot answer.
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Old 25th Jan 2022, 14:31
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Well for one, Russia is still using the same basic assault rifle that was designed during WW2, we are now looking at another having gone through 3 or 4 different weapons and amunition sizes since then.
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Old 25th Jan 2022, 14:48
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Taking their space program as a barometer of prowess on high-tech state-led projects - it's an area where success is hard to fake and the Russians have no reason to hide their achievements - things aren't looking particularly flash.
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Old 25th Jan 2022, 14:52
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Originally Posted by NutLoose View Post
Well for one, Russia is still using the same basic assault rifle that was designed during WW2, we are now looking at another having gone through 3 or 4 different weapons and amunition sizes since then.
And we still haven't caught up!
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Old 25th Jan 2022, 15:03
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Originally Posted by NutLoose View Post
Well for one, Russia is still using the same basic assault rifle that was designed during WW2, we are now looking at another having gone through 3 or 4 different weapons and amunition sizes since then.
They may all look the same and share the same design principles but they have upgraded. The AK-47 was in use from 1949 to 1974 chambering 7.62x39mm. From 1974 to 1991, they used the AK-74 chambering a smaller 5.45x39mm round. Since 1991, they have been using a modernised version designated the AK-74M (same ammo).
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Old 25th Jan 2022, 15:07
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Try living on a Russian armed forces pension (if such a thing exists), and you'll have your answer.

How many of those major units are actually seaworthy at any one time. Or capable of deploying fully trained and stored?
Applies equally to us. We have two aircraft carriers with no jets currently capable of deploying, due to having to regenerate following the showboating exercise to the Pacific last year that achieved what?
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Old 25th Jan 2022, 15:15
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North Korea has even bigger army. And they rely on soviet era stuff too.
According to statistics Russia has estimated 13000 MBT's of which only est 750 are from the 90's (the T90), the rest are soviet era old stocks (mostly combination of T80 and T72's). Same applies to just about everything. They are spending a lot of money on military and the size is huge, but they are no miracle workers.

Looking at all those social media videos of trains moving troops it catches eye how much eg 1960's legacy ZIL trucks and other soviet era hardware there are.
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Old 25th Jan 2022, 15:29
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Regarding salary equivalence, in the early 90s I spent a week in Moscow having flown in a team to go and count tanks etc. While they were working we had the week to explore the city, along with a couple of Russian military escorts. One was a young Air Force captain of similar age to myself, also married with a young child. He described his home - a 2 bed flat in the city which he shared with his parents.

When he asked me where I lived, I told him in a 4 bed house. ‘With all of your family?’ he asked, rather incredulously. ‘Just my wife and son’, I said. I’m not sure if he was convinced I was telling the truth, that kind of opulent lifestyle was typically reserved for members of the politburo then.
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Old 25th Jan 2022, 15:33
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Originally Posted by Mil-26Man View Post
Applies equally to us. We have two aircraft carriers with no jets currently capable of deploying, due to having to regenerate following the showboating exercise to the Pacific last year that achieved what?
How long did it take the Russians to get their carrier back on deployment after its 2016 outing?
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Old 25th Jan 2022, 16:03
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Originally Posted by Mil-26Man View Post
Applies equally to us. We have two aircraft carriers with no jets currently capable of deploying, due to having to regenerate following the showboating exercise to the Pacific last year that achieved what?
I suspect that if CJO asked for a carrier embarkation, OC Lighting Force would have a similar number of cabs available in short order. Given the current delivery profile, that would have some knock-on effects - not least on conversion training, but if you're suggesting that we can't get jets on PWLS if needed, I think you're mistaken.

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Old 25th Jan 2022, 16:24
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If you look at the price we pay for military equipment, then it’s not hard to see why. You can buy a simple bolt, but it can cost 10 times more than the same item used at home., because it’s made to military specifications.

I once saw a Mig 21 up close. I would describe it as ‘agricultural’ but it did the job.

You don’t need to spend lots of money if you don’t expect it to come back…

Plus, you don’t need to spend the sort of money an F35 costs, when you can get 10 aircraft that can do a the job. Sure it won’t be as good, but when you don’t care about lives, losing say 8 of your fleet compared to one of ours, means that they are likely to come out on top.

Plus I very much doubt that the Russians are handicapped by H&S or PC policies.
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Old 25th Jan 2022, 16:27
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Originally Posted by Beamr View Post
North Korea has even bigger army. And they rely on soviet era stuff too.
According to statistics Russia has estimated 13000 MBT's of which only est 750 are from the 90's (the T90), the rest are soviet era old stocks (mostly combination of T80 and T72's). Same applies to just about everything. They are spending a lot of money on military and the size is huge, but they are no miracle workers.

Looking at all those social media videos of trains moving troops it catches eye how much eg 1960's legacy ZIL trucks and other soviet era hardware there are.
I have no doubt a lot of RU kit is old. It was/is also robust, easy to maintain and likely perfectly serviceable. Just like the AK47/AK74, they all work. And they have vast numbers of them. And the unskilled conscripts to operate them.

Now talk about a target-rich environment of RU materiel and personnel in a conflict. Assuming only conventional munitions, how long before the West simply runs out of ammunition? One smart munition per tank?

Realistically, I see the only resolution through diplomacy. And Vlad holds nearly all the cards, if Europe still wants its Gas supplies. Same with China, if you want consumer electronics etc. The West doesn’t have the leverage with the Communist States any more … we have sold out long ago.
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