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VDV
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VDV

VDV (BDB), Vozdushno-Desantnye Vojska, or "Airborne Desant Troops" is a Russian military unit.

VDV is an independent and distinct branch of the Russian military, equal to the Russian Navy, Russian Air Force and Russian Army ( similar to United States Marine Corps, the USMC is a separate branch of US Navy). The Airborne troops are the best assault forces Russia has and are the most mobile, as they are airborne in the first place.

Originally formed in the Soviet Union during the late 1930's and massively expanded during World war II, where they formed up to 10 Airborne Corps with numerous Independent Airborne Brigades, with most or all achieving "Guards status. At the end of the war they were reconstituted as Guards Rifle Divisions . They were later rebuilt and eventually formed seven Air Assault Divisions With an Independent Air Assault regiment and up to 16 Air Assault Brigades. They were formed into there own VDV command to give the Soviets a Rapid Strike force to spearhead strategic military operations.

With the demise of the Soviet Union, the number of VDV divisions has shrunk from seven to four (7th Airborne Division, 76th Airborne Division, 98th Airborne Division, and 106th Airborne Division) but they remain as efficient and as battle-ready, as previously. Furthermore, 76th Airborne Division is the only Russian army division, that is fully composed of contract soldiers (and not of "srochniki" - the conscripted soldiers aged 18).

Unlike western airborne units which must walk when they arrive at their destination, the VDV divisions are mechanized with over 250 armored fighting vehicles, the BMD family of vehicles. VDV units have superior mobility with these vehicles and superior firepower, each division has three regiments equipped with them and their derivatives. The Indepent brigades, however, are not equipped with their own armor or artillery and are equivelent to western airborne as they function as light infantry and must walk when reaching their destination.

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