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Putin’s dream of drawing Central Asia into a regional military geoinformation system inches closer to reality

A file image of Russian President Vladimir Putin attending a meeting with his Defence Ministry officials (Courtesy: Kremlin.ru)

Even as the conflict in Ukraine continues to intensify, Russia is steadily moving forward with its massive plan to unify the topographic services of the defence departments of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) members.

A draft plan for the implementation of the concept for the development of a 'unified military geoinformation system for the armed forces of the Commonwealth states' was approved in a meeting of the Coordinating Committee of the Topographical Services of the Armed Forces of the CIS Member States held in Uzbekistan on Thursday.  

The gathering was led by Major General Alexander Zaliznyuk, the head of the Military Topographic Directorate of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation, who is also the Chairman of the Coordinating Committee of the Topographic Services of the Armed Forces of the CIS Member States.


Besides Russia, representatives of the armed forces Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and the Secretariat of the Council of Ministers of Defence of the CIS member states took part in the meeting which took place in the city of Samarkand.

At the event, the heads of the topographic services of the defence departments not only analysed the state of development of cooperation but also outlined joint activities for the next year and the near future.

The Russian Defence Ministry stated that the concept of topographic and geodetic and navigation support for a unified tactical level control system for the armed forces of the CIS states reflects the national interests and joint priorities of all members.

The implementation of the plan, it says, will make it possible to create digital information about the area in a single format and is aimed at improving the system of multilateral cooperation between the topographical services of the armed forces of the Commonwealth states.

The CIS defence department representatives also got a first-hand information about the use of electronic topographic maps in the modeling and simulation system in the armed forces of Uzbekistan. Tactical units with special maps also gave a live demonstration during the 'methodological gathering' at the Sazagan training ground.

The project is quite close to Russian President Vladimir Putin's heart who believes that the information that comes from space systems and complexes directly affects the nature of modern military conflicts which do not take place under the pre-set patterns.

"You and I are perfectly aware of this, and we saw this as we were fighting the terrorist groups in Syria. So, the military command bodies at units and formations must be provided with systems and complexes of proper quality and in sufficient numbers, primarily, modern and reliable satellite communication, navigational and other types of space data," Putin had said during a meeting with his country's defence ministry leadership and industry heads in Sochi, a few years ago.

Over the past many years, Moscow has not only focused on procurement of modern weapons and equipment for military units but has also devoted special attention to deliveries of high-precision systems, cutting-edge reconnaissance, navigation, communications and control systems.

Last year, servicemen of the topographic service of Russia and Belarus had tested Kaleidoscope – the latest unified software system for three-dimensional visualization – as part of the joint strategic exercise 'West-2021'. Kaleidoscope allowed military topographers to create a three-dimensional visualization of the virtual combat space for a more accurate assessment of the situation on the battlefield and more rapid decision-making by the command of the formation.

Young Russian military recruits are also trained in performing communications, topography, and reconnaissance tasks using the latest software systems which makes it possible to simulate combat operations with a mock enemy.

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