Using the hidden war as a cover, Russia not only utilizes the outdated weaponry, equipment and ammunition, but also actively tests new weapon samples and military systems. Air defense, communications, and electronic warfare (EW) systems are commonly used by the Russians ‘on vacation’ and ‘miners’ who fight in Donbas. Another OSINT investigation is dedicated to ‘Borisoglebsk-2′, the latest Russian system of electronic suppression which is the technical basis of EW units in tactical formations. The complex is designed for radio intelligence and suppression and works with HF, UHF, terrestrial and aircraft radio channels, mobile terminals and trunked radios on tactical and operational-tactical command levels.
Andrewrostov, a Rostov (Russia) resident, wrote a post about his trip via M-4 ‘Don’ highway (Moscow – Voronezh – Rostov – Krasnodar – Novorossiysk) on July, 25, 2015. The pictures of military equipment on civil trucks grabbed our attention. These are the exact coordinates where the equipment was noticed – 47°17′37″N (47.293614) 39°51′21″E (39.855788).
Having consulted by military experts we could identify the found objects. These vehicles are parts of the EW complex RB-301B ‘Borisoglebsk-2′.
The EW complex ‘Borisoglebsk-2′ was tested for the first time in 2009-2010, and was planned for the serial production in 2011.
The Southern Military District of Russian Federation got the first eight RB-301B systems in 2013. The competition for the best EW crew was held on the Kalinovskyi training site (Republic of Chechnya, Russia) in July, 2014. 6 modern ‘Borisoglebsk-2′ complexes were involved. These systems were also used during tactical trainings at the ‘Burduny’ training site (Eastern Military District, Republic of Buryatia, Russia) in September, 2014. It was planned to supply 6 more complexes to the Russian army in 2015.
In the beginning of 2015 this complex began its service at the motorized rifle command of the Eastern Military District located in Burytia. The motorized rifle command of the Southern Military District (Republic of Chechnya, Russia) got such systems in June, 2015.
Note that we could identify the command point by the Russian blogger pictures. The vehicles seem to be brand new, the new ZIP boxes can be seen on caterpillar belts – all this allows us to assume that this command point is the R-330KVM command point of the ‘Borisoglebsk-2′ complex.
Some clarifications about the identification
The ‘Mandat’ complex (the Soviet ancestor of ‘Borisoglebsk-2′) had a R-330K command point based on 2 ‘Ural’ trucks. There is also ‘Piramida’ complex which is based on MT-LBu tracked vehicle, but it has totally different equipment attached. That is why the noticed command point we identify as the one from ‘Borisoglebsk-2′ complex, since it fits all the criteria.
It is worth mentioning that similar vehicle was seen in Luhansk on March, 31, 2015, and it was false taken as 9S737 ‘Ranzhir’ command point.
There is another outstanding detail of the object noticed in Luhansk: the machine is equipped with guard plates for swimming; also the road is dry but the vehicle has wet spots above its caterpillar belt. It may indicate that the command point was transferred to Ukraine not through a border point but by crossing the Siverskyi Donets river.
Even earlier, on February 3, 2015, the R-330KVM vehicle was noticed in Bryanka (Luhansk Oblast). It was moving from Alchevsk towards Bryanka. An eyewitness made the photo from his window so we had to crop it to avoid the source location identification. In the picture we can see that the swimming shields are attached and the last section of the telescoping mast is extracted – it seems that the vehicle is changing its location.
Taking into account the date and place of this command point appearance we can state that it took part in Debaltseve capturing in February, 2015. And since other unique machines (like the latest radio station R-166-0,5, in Russian) were seen during that operation, we can assume that Russia uses the full range of non-lethal weapons in the war against Ukraine. Talks about war trophies are senseless – Russian army got all this equipment only in the last several years and it was never in service in the Ukrainian army.
Getting back to the pictures of the army equipment on the civil trucks we should mention that such way of transportation was used not for the first time. For example, the case of MH17 crash contains photos of the ‘Buk-M1′ missile system transported by Volvo FH-13 truck, which was later seen at the militants’ armor vehicle base in Snizhne. The struggle of the Russian-separatist forces to use civil trucks may be caused not only by their desire to mask weapon transportation facts but also by low reliability of the army trucks which periodically cause the road incidents.