Russian Airborne Troops (VDV)

The Russian Airborne Troops or VDV (from “Vozdushno-desantnye voyska Rossii”, Russian: Воздушно-десантные войска России, ВДВ; Air-landing Forces) is a military branch of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation. They are an elite force, on par with the Strategic Rocket Forces. First formed before World War II, the force undertook two significant airborne operations and a number of smaller jumps during the war and for many years after 1945 was the largest airborne force in the world. The force was split after the dissolution of the Soviet Union, losing divisions to Belarus and Ukraine, and has been reduced in size. Russian airborne forces have traditionally worn a blue beret and blue-striped telnyashka and are called “desant” from the French “Descente”.
With the demise of the Soviet Union, the number of VDV divisions has shrunk from seven to four, as well as four brigades and the brigade-sized training center. In October 2013, Shamanov announced that a new air assault brigade would be formed in Voronezh in 2016 with the number of the 345th Separate Guards Airborne Regiment. The establishment of the brigade was postponed to 2017-18, according to a June 2015 announcement. It was announced in July 2015 that plans called for the 31st Airborne Brigade to be expanded into the 104th Guards Airborne Division, and for an additional airborne regiment to be attached to each division.
Unlike the rest of the mechanized units, which use variety of APCs and IFVs such as the BMP series, BTR series and MT-LB, the VDV uses exclusively BMD family vehicles. There are over 1,800 armored fighting vehicles, mostly BMD-1 (since 1969) and BMD-2 (since 1985). There were also over 100 BMD-3 (1990) that were partially upgraded to BMD-4 level. All of them are amphibious, moving at around 10 km/h in water. BMD-4 is also capable of full, continuous fire while in the deep water, unlike any other vehicle with such heavy weaponry (100 mm gun and 30 mm auto cannon). However, some units (such as those who served on peacekeeping duties in the Balkans) are known to have used BTR armored personnel carriers rather than BMD’s.
The airborne self-propelled artillery guns ASU-57 and ASU-85 have been withdrawn. They had light armour and limited anti-tank capability, but provided invaluable fire support for paratroopers behind enemy lines (the caliber of the gun is the number next to ASU designation in mm).
Also withdrawn were the multiple rocket launch systems RPU-14 (8U38) of 140 mm and the BM-21V “Grad-V” (9P125) of 122 mm on GAZ-66, as well as the 85 mm gun SD-44.
During 2016, in the Airborne Troops were formed three reconnaissance battalions and six tank companies, two companies of electronic warfare and unmanned aerial vehicles. Delivered 188 new and upgraded armored vehicles. Airborne Troops equipment level with modern weapons is 47%. In 2015-2016 five intelligence units and six tank units have been formed, over 3,000 new pieces of weaponry and special military equipment were supplied, the number of contract servicemen had grown by 1.5 times, while the troops training intensity had risen by 20 percent.

Russian Airborne Troops
Russian Airborne Troops
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