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Visual Anthology: Russia Rolls Its Military Hardware Through Red Square

1 MIN READMay 10, 2019 | 09:30 GMT
This photo shows a Msta-S self-propelled howitzer rolling through Red Square during the Victory Day parade in Moscow on May 9, 2019.

A Msta-S self-propelled howitzer rolls through Red Square during the Victory Day military parade in downtown Moscow on May 9, 2019. Russia is celebrating the 74th anniversary of the victory over Nazi Germany in World War II. 

(ALEXANDER NEMENOV/AFP/Getty Images)
The Big Picture

Russia's Victory Day parade commemorates the Soviet defeat of Nazi Germany in World War II. Not only a celebration of Russia's military history, the procession also serves as a potent reminder of Moscow's current defense capabilities. It also gives Russian leaders the opportunity to deliver messages to both a domestic and global audience, with President Vladimir Putin this year stressing the importance of international security cooperation. Russia has set itself the ambitious goal of modernizing its sprawling armed forces, but, as we wrote in April, "The downturn in oil prices has taken a bite out of Russia's bottom line, squeezing spending for the military at a time when the country's arms manufacturers have lost their competitive edge in the global arms market." It remains to be seen to what degree the Kremlin can make good on its promise of providing Russia with a truly 21st century military. 

Russia's annual Victory Day celebration on May 9 featured troops, displays of modern and vintage armaments and military bands.

Russia's annual Victory Day celebration on May 9 featured personnel from every service, displays of modern and vintage armaments, military bands and veterans from World War II. Unlike previous years, however, no major foreign leaders were present at the ceremonies, apart from former Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev. 

(MLADEN ANTONOV/AFP/Getty Images)
Russian soldiers march through Red Square in Moscow. The red color pictured here is representative of the National Guard of Russia.

The Russian military, approximately 1 million strong, is one of the most powerful in the world. Although hobbled by aging hardware and a weakening industrial base, the Russian armed forces are nevertheless still a force to be reckoned with.

(ALEXANDER NEMENOV/AFP/Getty Images)
A notorious military export product of Russia, the S-400 air defense system (pictured in Red Square, Moscow) has grabbed headlines over its deployment to Syria and sales to China, India and Turkey.

A notorious military export product of Russia, the S-400 air defense system has grabbed headlines over its deployment to Syria and sales to China, India and Turkey. The platform is the most advanced air defense and missile defense system in the Russian inventory and is considered one of the most significant threats to Western air power. For that reason, its presence or proliferation is often the topic of controversy.

(ALEXANDER ZEMLIANICHENKO/AFP/Getty Images)
The Buk air defense system, pictured during parade rehearsals on May 7, has been in service with the Russian armed forces since 1979.

The Buk air defense system, pictured during parade rehearsals on May 7, has been in service with the Russian armed forces since 1979, but thanks to modernization, it continues to play an important role in Russia's layered air defense capabilities. While it covers less of an area than the S-400 or S-300 (and its capabilities aren't as advanced) these mobile platforms fill the gap between strategic air defense systems and more focused point defense systems such as the Pantsir.

(ALEXANDER NEMENOV/AFP/Getty Images)
The Yars RS-24 (pictured on Red Square) is an improved variant of the Topol-M, one of the most capable intercontinental ballistic missile classes in the Russian Strategic Missile Forces.

The Yars RS-24 is an improved variant of the Topol-M, one of the most capable intercontinental ballistic missile classes in the Russian Strategic Missile Forces. This nuclear-capable missile has a range of 11,000 kilometers (about 6,835 miles) and comes in a number of variants, including the Topol-MR that carries a payload of multiple re-entry vehicles. 

(ALEXANDER NEMENOV/AFP/Getty Images)
The Msta-S, pictured on Red Square, is a self-propelled version of the Msta Howitzer cannon, provides a mobile and survivable artillery capability that is able to keep pace with advancing forces.

Sometimes referred to as the "King of Battle," artillery plays a significant role in modern warfare, and Russia's military doctrines have typically relied on its capabilities even more than others. The Msta-S (pictured during Russia's May 9 parade) is a self-propelled version of the Msta Howitzer cannon, providing a mobile and survivable artillery capability able to keep pace with advancing mechanized forces. While newer models of Russian artillery, based on the Armata base chassis, are already in the works, the Msta-S still makes up the bulk of Russian self-propelled artillery forces. 

(ALEXANDER NEMENOV/AFP/Getty Images)
The T-14 tank (pictured on Red Square on May 7) has become the poster boy for Russia's military modernization ambitions, and perhaps more appropriately so than intended.

The T-14 tank has become the poster boy for Russia's military modernization ambitions, and perhaps more appropriately so than intended. As a completely redesigned modern main battle tank -- with a completely unmanned turret that allows the crew to be isolated in an enhanced-survivability compartment in the hull -- the tank projects modernism. The Armata design is much bigger than the tank itself because it is meant to be part of the broader Armata class of vehicles that share a common architecture to ease logistical burdens. As ambitious as the T-14 and Armata project are, however, Russia has so far struggled to bring the tank out of its prototype phase and into full production.

(ALEXANDER NEMENOV/AFP/Getty Images)
MiG-29 and Su-30SM aircraft from the Russian Swifts and Knights aerobatic demonstration teams fly over Red Square, Moscow, during a Victory Day parade rehearsal on May 7.

MiG-29 and Su-30SM aircraft from the Russian Swifts and Knights aerobatic demonstration teams fly over Red Square, Moscow, during the Victory Day parade rehearsal on May 7. Fourth-generation aircraft such as the MiG-29 and Su-30SM, although dating back to the Cold War period, have been heavily upgraded and modified over the past few decades. This enables Russia to maintain a considerable air capability even as its defense industry has failed to rapidly introduce and produce fifth-generation aircraft in significant quantities. 

(ALEXANDER NEMENOV/AFP/Getty Images)
Russia maintains the second largest bomber fleet in the world. Despite the age of the original designs, both the Tu-160 and Tu-22 (pictured over Red Square on May 7) are still being produced or rebuilt from older aircraft.

Despite the age of the original designs, both the Tu-160 and Tu-22 are still being produced or rebuilt from older aircraft. The Russian bomber force is leveraged as a flexible strategic arm that can also be used for conventional operations. Its wide-ranging missions include nuclear strike, tactical strike and anti-ship combat duties.

(YURI KADOBNOV/AFP/Getty Images)
A dedicated attack helicopter and a successor to the Mi-24 series, the Mi-28 Havoc (pictured over Red Square during the May 7 rehearsal) is Russia's answer to the U.S. AH-64 Apache.

Russia has long prioritized the development of combat helicopters and was one of the first countries to introduce such a capability with the Mi-24 gunship in the 1960s. A dedicated attack helicopter and a successor to the Mi-24 series, the Mi-28 Havoc is Russia's answer to the U.S. AH-64 Apache.

(YURI KADOBNOV/AFP/Getty Images)
Mi-8 and Mi-26 helicopters fly over Moscow. Russia is known for its transport helicopters, which are used throughout the world.

Russia is well known for its transport helicopters, which have been exported widely for decades. The Mi-8 (background) is one of the world's most-produced helicopters and continues to serve in multiple roles, including transport, armed gunship, reconnaissance aircraft and flying command post. The Mi-26 (foreground) has a prodigous heavy lift capability, which has been instrumental to its success -- it has been used in various missions such as the emergency response to the Chernobyl incident as well as being leased to recover other crashed helicopters in Afghanistan.

(YURI KADOBNOV/AFP/Getty Images)

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