Special Forces

2nd OBr SpN GRU Spetsnaz ordnance

Over the last few days some images that purportedly show Russian military intelligence(GRU) special forces(spetsnaz) officers and their equipment have been gradually seeping into the Russian social media ether. Officers in question apparently belong to the 2nd Independent Brigade of Special Purpose of the GRU or Otdelnaya Brigada Spetsialnogo Naznacheniya (OBrSpN) as it is known in Russia. The original source of three images that have appeared so far seems mysterious but it is very likely that they belong to the same set of pictures.

In the image below, on the left hand side is a relatively new regular issue army helmet 6B47 – part of the current issue second generation Ratnik-2 individual combat kit. Hanging next to the helmet is a Russian made plate and load carrying system M2. Plate carrying systems are increasingly popular amongst more elite units of the Russian special forces. Perhaps most interesting is the Chinese made VHF/UVF Baofeng UV-82 radio. Baofeng UV-82 can be purchased for about $40 online and it is probably used for squad level communication. Although entry-level foreign made radios are often spotted in use by various Russian security forces, and less so by the army, it certainly comes as a surprise to see a cheap Chinese radio in use by such an elite Russian unit. (Edit: Admittingly, the photograph below does not prove that such radio would be used in real combat.)

Next to what seems like a regular Ak-74M is a customised version of the same assault rifle. The rifle is camouflage painted and features a khaki coloured Israeli made FAB Defense pistol grip. Mounted on the rifle is an army issue Novosibirsk Instrument-making Plant(now part of Shvabe) made 1PN39 night sight and a Russian made sound suppressor. Hanging right next to the customised AK is a modular load bearing UMTBS vest. Long time GRU spetsnaz favourite UMTBS(6Sh112) was conceived over a decade ago by the Russian tactical gear producer Tehnikom. It has since become widespread and is issued with the current generation of Russian individual combat kits known as Ratnik(Warrior).

On two pictures below we see more of the same equipment, except that this time it is being worn by two 2nd OBrSpN GRU officers. Curiously, officer on the left has what seems to be a Glock made Feldmesser FM 78 knife slotted into his M2 vest. This particular knife is occasionally seen in use by spetsnaz. It is probably a private purchase and is apparently suitable for throwing. Officer on the right is sporting army issue GSSh01(6M2) Russian made headset – also issued as a part of the Ratnik-2 kit. Both their battle dress and kit are in U.S. patented A-TACS FG camouflage pattern. Both A-TACS and MultiCam camouflage patterns are very popular with high tier spetsnaz units.

Images: vk.com via Voin and Oruzheiny Glushitel