здесь - (англ)- Стратфор "картографирует" столкновение Германии и России – 2.
и здесь - Стратфор "картографирует" столкновение Германии и России – 3.
Russia’s Military Options in Ukraine. Part 2: What the West Could Do. Analysis. Air superiority would be crucial to any Western response if Russia should invade Ukraine // Stratfor. 10.03.2015.
Editor’s Note: As part of our analytical methodology, Stratfor periodically conducts internal military simulations. This series, examining the scenarios under which Russian and Western forces might come into direct conflict in Ukraine, reflects such an exercise. It thus differs from our regular analyses in several ways and is not intended as a forecast. This series reflects the results of meticulous examination of the military capabilities of both Russia and NATO and the constraints on those forces. It is intended as a means to measure the intersection of political intent and political will as constrained by actual military capability. Part 1 discussed several scenarios for a Russian invasion. This study is not a definitive exercise; instead it is a review of potential decision-making by military planners. We hope readers will gain from this series a better understanding of military options in the Ukraine crisis and how the realities surrounding use of force could evolve if efforts to implement a cease-fire fail and the crisis escalates.
The Russian military options in Ukraine laid out in the first part of this series would, of course, not take place in a vacuum. Apart from opposition by Ukrainian forces, the Russian military would have to account for a potential response from the United States or a coalition of NATO countries. Whether or not the United States would be willing to go to war over an invasion of Ukraine, Russia cannot afford to ignore the possibility when examining its options and estimating their potential for success.
If the United States and/or NATO were to respond to an overt Russian offensive in Ukraine, the quickest and possibly only desirable means of deploying firepower to the theater would be to use air assets. Although NATO and the United States have substantial ground forces that could be deployed to Eastern Europe and into Ukraine when needed, transporting these forces and their equipment to the theater would require a great deal of time. Even then, ground forces probably would not be committed without the achievement of air superiority. For this reason, our study of potential Western counteractions hinges on the ability to deploy a considerable amount of air power into Ukraine to halt or roll back a Russian offensive.
Such an operation would be complex, involving the deployment of air assets to airfields near Russian forces, arranging logistical support for that deployment, conducting operations against Russian air defenses and eventually launching a ground campaign to reduce Russian military capabilities inside Ukraine. As Russia evaluates its military options, it will have to account for a worst-case scenario in which NATO countries in Eastern Europe open up their air bases to a considerable deployment of the U.S. Air Force and offer logistical support.
The Challenges of Deploying Aircraft
Before being able to initiate full-scale air operations against the Russian forces, the United States and its European allies would need to deploy a massive number of fighter aircraft near Ukraine. These aircraft not only would have to deplete Russian ground-based air defenses ahead of a ground attack, but they would also be facing significant Russian air assets deployed to support the offensive operations. This means the highest possible number of advanced fighter aircraft would be required to achieve the strategic weight needed for a difficult air superiority effort.
European air forces are already relatively close to the Ukrainian theater, but forward deployment to airfields closer to Ukraine would still be required to limit flight time to targets and to reduce the strain on aerial refueling capabilities, which will already be stretched thin in an operation of this size and scope. The United States, however, faces the additional challenge of a strategic deployment of air assets from the continental United States to Eastern Europe. Various factors, such as the availability of aerial tankers and the strategic airlift and airfield capacity at the destination or intermediate landings, influence the rate at which these aircraft can be deployed.
The U.S. Air Force would be able to deploy its first aircraft in theater relatively quickly, mostly because of the pre-positioning of several fighter squadrons at air bases in Europe. Three F-15 squadrons stationed at the Royal Air Force Base Lakenheath in the United Kingdom, two F-16 squadrons stationed at the Aviano Air Base in Italy, and an F-16 Squadron stationed at Spangdahlem Air Base in Germany could be deployed to airfields in Eastern Europe within the first 48 hours of the deployment.
However, these squadrons alone would not be sufficient to begin a large-scale air operation against Russian ground-based air defenses and air superiority fighters. They would have to await reinforcement by many other squadrons from the continental United States. The reinforcing squadrons would be deployed one by one to avoid congesting the air bases they would need to move through in Europe, accompanied by transport aircraft carrying maintenance supplies and crews as well as aerial refueling aircraft to facilitate the long flights.
What a Deployment Would Look Like
Assuming a best-case scenario, the entire deployment of about 22 fighter squadrons would take approximately 11 days. Priority likely would be given to the latest-generation air superiority fighters and aircraft specializing in suppression of enemy air defenses, since these roles would be dominant in the first phases of the air campaign. Other platforms, such as the A-10 ground attack aircraft, likely would be deployed in the last phase of the deployment because their mission would become feasible only after a significant deterioration of Russian air defenses.
Rotary wing assets could also follow at that point to increase ground attack capabilities, but great numbers are unlikely to be committed until air superiority is established and advanced air defense systems no longer pose a threat. Unmanned aerial vehicles would also be expected to make up a significant share of the intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance effort supporting the operation. These would be deployed early on and would include both tactical systems with relatively low footprints and shorter ranges or loitering times and higher-level systems that can operate from airfields beyond the theater. They could also be used in a limited ground attack capability, but the requirement for reliable intelligence on Russian movement and positions means the drones likely would be reserved for an intense surveillance effort during the early phases of the campaign.
U.S. and allied air power would be able to stage out of the numerous air bases available in Eastern Europe. Staging would focus on more than 30 military airfields in Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria, with many more available in Italy and Germany, farther from the theater. Strategic aircraft such as aerial refueling tankers and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance assets could make use of the airfields in Germany and Italy, while the tactical squadrons could deploy closer to Ukraine. A deployment to airfields in western Ukraine could be possible, but the threshold would be lower for Russia to strike at these airfields, whereas the political and military cost for Russia would outweigh the benefit of disrupting operations at airfields in NATO territory. The same risk of escalation would likely limit U.S. and NATO intent to conduct operations inside Russia proper.
Because of the massive numbers of aircraft that would need to be deployed for this endeavor, the United States would also deploy aircraft carriers, likely to the Aegean Sea (the Montreux Convention prevents aircraft carriers from entering the Black Sea, where they would be easier targets for Russian attacks). Thus, at least two carrier wings could be deployed to the theater in as many weeks, and a third could join during the fourth week of the deployment.
The Time Factor
Because of the time needed to deploy various U.S. air assets into the theater, full-scale operations could realistically begin only after Russian offensive operations had already achieved most of their objectives. This means that Russia would have been able to move mobile air defenses into the theater, and the air campaign would be aimed at deteriorating Russian defensive capabilities in Ukraine rather than blunting its initial attack.
However, prior to the completion of the massing of aircraft in Eastern Europe, preparatory operations could occur using air-launched standoff missiles or sea-launched cruise missiles to target Russian air defenses, supply depots and potentially airfields used by Russian aircraft inside Ukraine. The next phase would then likely lean heavily on the F-16CJ «Wild Weasel» and any available allied aircraft equipped with radar-seeking missiles that home in on active radar signals from ground-based air defenses. These aircraft would be used to significantly damage the Russian air defense network, or at the very least limit the use of active radars, which would significantly deteriorate the Russians’ ability to target U.S. and allied aircraft operating in the airspace over the battlefield. At this point, the main Russian threat to air superiority would be its aircraft fleet, and air combat would likely result in significant attrition on both sides.
The exact outcome of this phase is difficult to predict but is likely to favor the larger number of NATO aircraft with more advanced capabilities than the Russian force. Nonetheless, both sides have notable advantages and disadvantages that would influence the outcome of the air combat.
The Russian air force would have the advantage of operating close to home and out of its own air bases, enabling it to conduct a higher rate of sorties per aircraft than the forward-deployed NATO aircraft. However, the air fleet that the United States and its European allies could assemble is substantially larger than the fleet the Russians could field, and as a result the total amount of possible sorties per day would still be higher for NATO. Russia would have the advantage of operating over its own ground-based air defense network. By this point in the operation it would be significantly diminished, but the air defenses would still threaten NATO aircraft and force them to carry radar-seeking missiles and ground attack ammunitions, while Russian aircraft would be able to limit their loads to lighter air-to-air packages. The NATO forces, on the other hand, would benefit from better stealth capabilities and advanced intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance assets.
U.S. and NATO forces would also have the benefit of having more experience in expeditionary deployments in the past decade. Not only do pilots have more combat experience, but ground crews and commanders also have extensive experience conducting maintenance and logistics on a large scale. Interoperability between NATO partners has also been strengthened during deployments in places such as Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya. Russian forces, on the other hand, have not operated under that kind of pressure.
From the perspective of Russian planners in this scenario, the uncertainty of Russia’s ability to maintain air superiority means that any gains it makes could be unsustainable. Obtaining air superiority would allow the United States and NATO to conduct a devastating ground attack campaign that by itself could destroy the combat effectiveness of Russian units deployed into Ukraine. It is also important to keep in mind that at this point in the scenarios, with at least several weeks having passed, U.S. and European ground forces would have had plenty of time to complete deployments to Eastern Europe. With the possibility of the deployment of significant ground forces, and NATO air assets achieving air superiority, Russian military planners have to presume that if their offensive operations were to be contested militarily, they would be unsustainable.
* * *
Russia’s Military Options in Ukraine. Part 3: Russia Weighs the Cost // Stratfor. 11.03.2015.
Before deciding how — and whether — to take overt action in Ukraine, Russia must consider which option would meet Moscow’s geopolitical imperatives.
Russian soldiers march during a rehearsal of the Victory Day Parade in Moscow late on May 5, 2014. (Kirill Kudryavtsev / AFP/Getty Images)
Editor’s Note: As part of our analytical methodology, Stratfor periodically conducts internal military simulations. This series, examining the scenarios under which Russian and Western forces might come into direct conflict in Ukraine, reflects such an exercise. It thus differs from our regular analyses in several ways and is not intended as a forecast. This series reflects the results of meticulous examination of the military capabilities of both Russia and NATO and the constraints on those forces. It is intended as a means to measure the intersection of political intent and political will as constrained by actual military capability. Part 1 discussed several scenarios for a Russian invasion. Part 2 examined how U.S. and NATO forces would respond, should they choose to. This study is not a definitive exercise; instead it is a review of potential decision-making by military planners. We hope readers will gain from this series a better understanding of military options in the Ukraine crisis and how the realities surrounding use of force could evolve if current efforts to implement a cease-fire fail and the crisis escalates.
Besides considering the constraints and achievable objectives of various military options, as well as the potential responses to them, Russian policymakers will have to decide whether any of the scenarios meet their political requirements. The goal is not simply to be left with options that are feasible but to find options that serve an actual strategic purpose. Russia clearly has the military capability to put immense pressure on Ukraine if it chooses to, but the results would not necessarily rise to meet Moscow’s higher geopolitical objectives. The Ukrainian question needs to be seen in the broader context of Russia’s need for a buffer against the European powers and NATO to its west (Ukraine, Iraq and a Black Sea Strategy, by George Friedman http://topwar.ru/57882-ukraina-irak-i-chernomorskaya-strategiya-stratfor.html). Ukraine is critical to that need because it covers a wide landmass in the Intermarium, the area between the Baltic and Black seas.
Apart from the actual geopolitical achievements available in these scenarios, Russian policymakers would also have to consider the consequences of a large-scale U.S. or NATO intervention. As the second part of this series described, such an intervention would likely doom the Russian offensive. But the question is whether an intervention would be a favorable course of action for the West. The United States and NATO have no commitment to defend Ukraine if it were to face an overt Russian offensive. As with Russia, broader geopolitical imperatives will drive the West’s actions.
In fact, it is more likely that NATO would not directly intervene, but Russian planners must consider all the risks. A more realistic means of retaliation or dissuasion would be for the West to impose sanctions more significant than those currently in place, which could bring the Russian economy to its knees. Stronger sanctions would come with a cost for the West, but Russia’s weak economy amplifies the political threat.
Examining Russia’s Objectives
We approach Russia and Ukraine’s current situation, the point at which these scenarios come into play, in the context of recent changes that have threatened the Russian imperative of preserving Ukraine as a buffer zone. As the Ukrainian crisis unfolded, Kiev veered toward the West. Any moves toward further integration with Europe or NATO would significantly threaten Russia’s goals and could move NATO’s borders to within 435 kilometers (270 miles) of Moscow. At this point, despite Russia’s annexation of Crimea and its military actions in eastern Ukraine, Kiev seems to be growing even closer to the West, and Russia is left without its buffer in this section of the Intermarium.
In examining military options and the political and material cost that would come with each scenario, the payoff for Russia would be restoring this buffer, or strategic depth. Several of the scenarios we studied have little to offer in this regard.
For example, although a land connection to Crimea seems perfectly feasible from a military perspective and could guarantee freshwater supplies for the peninsula, it achieves little in terms of strategic depth. It would cause severe economic damage to Ukraine, especially if occupation extended beyond the Dnieper River to Transdniestria. But crippling Kiev economically does not guarantee Russia’s security imperatives. In fact, doing so could lead Ukraine to depend more on Western financing and, as a result, to become further integrated with Europe.
The territories in eastern Ukraine that separatists have carved out with substantial support from the Russian military give Russia’s Volgograd and Rostov regions some added strategic depth. This is not insignificant — these Russian regions form the connection to Russia’s southern border in the Caucasus — but the loss of the rest of Ukraine as a buffer still puts the West closer to Moscow. Even if the separatists and their Russian backers were able to take the entire regions of Donetsk and Luhansk, a gap in the buffer would remain at Kursk. Given that Ukraine has committed a considerable portion of its combat power to the battlefield in eastern Ukraine, an operation to take the entirety of those regions could destroy Ukraine’s military capabilities. It would be well within Russia’s abilities to significantly reduce the combat effectiveness of the entire Ukrainian military. However, this would not eliminate the possibility of Kiev aligning with the West and, much like crippling Ukraine’s economy, crushing its military could push Kiev even closer to the West by forcing it to depend on the United States and NATO for assistance in rebuilding its military capabilities.
The only military option for Russia that we examined that would both be within its capabilities and significantly improve its strategic depth is the scenario in which the Russian military advances across eastern Ukraine to anchor itself on the Dnieper. As explained in Part 1 of this series, the manpower required to carry out this operation would constitute a considerable portion of Russia’s ground forces. By committing this force, Russia would not only have to repurpose many of its existing security forces, but it would also likely have to increase the size of its military through recruitment and extensive mobilizations of reserves, especially if it wanted to maintain a presence in other areas along Russia’s border and in its periphery.
The state of the Russian economy would hinder such efforts. A significant mobilization would require Russia to increase its already tight defense budget, although defense has been an exception to the government’s budget cuts. Even if Russia managed to launch the operation, its success could not be guaranteed. Moreover, a NATO intervention in Ukraine could not only quash Russia’s efforts to reach its objectives, it could also serve a crippling blow to Russia’s military capabilities.
The Risk of Escalation
A U.S. and NATO intervention against an overt Russian offensive in Ukraine would be a substantial escalation in and of itself. However, in the case of such an intervention, the threat of military operations and retaliations expanding into the Baltics, or inside Russia, would be very real. As part of the strategic level of warfare, both sides could seek to strike infrastructure and military assets beyond the Ukrainian theater using ballistic missiles and cruise missiles or airstrikes. Such actions could of course rapidly devolve into all-out war, and at that point the possibility of nuclear retaliation would bring an unpredictable dynamic into the conflict, making military victory a moot point.
Of course, Russian policymakers could consider the risk of escalation as a deterrent to U.S. or NATO intervention against any offensive they might conduct in Ukraine. But if Russia did carry out an operation that allowed its forces to anchor along the Dnieper River, the condition Ukraine would be in may not be desirable for Russia. Even if no direct military response from the West materialized, the western part of Ukraine would remain as a state, and the West’s current inhibitions about arming Ukraine or deploying forces in its support could evaporate quickly.
Essentially, a new Iron Curtain would emerge along the Dnieper River, with Russian and NATO forces staring each other down from opposing riverbanks. Although Russia could consider this a net gain compared to losing all of Ukraine to the West, it is a significant loss compared to a whole but neutral Ukraine. If Russia were to seize eastern Ukraine, it would be trading a buffer zone about 800 kilometers wide for about 320 kilometers of extra depth within its own borders. Granted, the geography would be more defensible, but NATO would probably end up right on Russia’s border, with no buffer remaining.
The conclusion reached from matching up these scenarios with Moscow’s strategic imperatives is that no obvious options stand out. All of the scenarios are logistically feasible, though some would come at an incredible cost, few of them actually meet Russia’s needs, and none of them can be guaranteed to succeed as long as the possibility of a U.S. or NATO military response remains. If the prospect of such a military engagement deters the West from taking direct action against a Russian offensive, the West’s option to subsume the remaining parts of Ukraine significantly minimizes the benefits of any military operation Russia might consider. As Joshua, the computer in the 1983 movie WarGames, observed, «The only winning move is not to play.»