First, we should start with Algeria contract with Russia about which Algeria Times broke the news a few days ago. Here is the summary (in Russian, use Google Translate) of this news in one of Russian media, and it speaks about the contract between $25 to $37 billion. When speaking about this news, not to mention a rather convoluted way it was allegedly signed, with Algeria's Defense Minister flying to... Brazil to use intermediaries to sign it with Russians... So, sounds really fishy. Moreover, last September Russia and Algeria DID sign $7 billion (still huge) contract and it elicited a serious butt-hurt reaction from Florida cabana boy Marco Rubio.
U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Vice Chairman Marco Rubio (R-FL) sent a letter to U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken calling for appropriate designation of parties whose significant purchase of Russian materiel enable Russia’s destabilizing actions.
“Russia is Algeria’s largest military supplier. Algeria is also among the top four purchasers of Russian arms worldwide, culminating with a $7 billion arms deal in 2021. Influx of money from any source to Russia will only further enable Russia’s war machine in Ukraine. Yet, sanctions available to you have not yet been utilized.”
“I encourage you to take the threat Russia continues to pose to global stability seriously and to appropriately designate parties whose significant purchase of Russian materiel enable Russia’s destabilizing actions.”
So, when Rubio complains about Russia being Algeria's largest military supplier, he doesn't lie. Enough to take a look at Algeria Armed Forces to recognize an overwhelming dominance of Russian equipment, be those numerous MiG-29s and SU-30s, or Algerian Navy's submarine force--all of it is Russian-made--to see the pattern. Many Algerians, as an example, graduated my naval academy.
Considering the fact that the contract has been signed roughly in September 2022, 7 months since the start of SMO, one can easily foresee what is in this contract, whose content otherwise is closed to public, apart from traditional modernization procedures for a huge number of Algeria's T-90 and T-72 tanks. It is absolutely clear that seeing the performance of Russia hardware in SMO Algeria wants a lot of stuff, including the "graduation" from still superb S-300PMU2 to S-400, from SU-30s to SU-57s and things of this nature.
Could it be that latest developments in SMO convinced Algeria to expand already existing contact? Certainly, possible. It is clear that performance of Russian combat aviation, especially in terms of BVR operations, are simply unmatched with SU-35s and SU-57 simply not allowing any combat aircraft from 404 to stay airborne any meaningful time after the take off. The performance of air defense is simply stunning considering the scale of SMO. Will Russia satisfy increasingly growing appetite of many (do not forget Turkey) abroad for latest Russian weapons systems, which now demonstrated their combat effectiveness in real war? I assume Russia can ramp up production of export versions of such items as SU-57 or S-400, among many, in the mid to long term, or, rather, once hostilities begin to wind down somewhat. But we have to wait and see if this Algeria contract will stay at $7 billion or if it did indeed grow to this rather very large sum. There is little doubt, however, that Algeria can afford a long term contract of this scale. So, stay tuned.
Another point of interest is Rostislav Ischenko's attempt to delve into Pentagon's calculations regarding SMO (in Russian). He concludes:
Конечно, уровень американских политиков и дипломатов критически снизился за последние тридцать лет, но в распоряжении США остались вполне профессиональные частные аналитические центры, государственные разведывательные службы и, наконец, военные, которые, может быть, и не гениальны, но простому расчёту потенциалов враждующих сторон обучены — не бог весть какая сложность. Откуда же эта критическая ошибка, стоящая США практически моментальной потери надежды на победу в глобальном противостоянии?
Translation: Of course, the level of American politicians and diplomats has dropped critically over the past thirty years, but at the disposal of the United States are quite professional private think tanks, state intelligence services and, finally, the military, which may not be brilliant, but they are trained in a simple calculation of the potentials of the warring parties. - God knows how difficult it is. Where does this critical mistake come from, costing the US an almost instantaneous loss of hope for victory in the global confrontation?
And here where he makes a crucial mistake about "private think-tanks" and, even, the US military. He also misses the fact of a strategic miscalculation across the board because of... OK, I wrote three books on that and this blog exists now in its 9th year. It is precisely about the fact of not only incompetence of institutions Ischenko lists but also about operating with the data of the lowest reliability. It makes no difference explaining to modern young Wall Street broker, CIA officer and some Lieutenant Colonel from Pentagon that they do not have proper data, both on Russia and the US, due to a complete bunk of most models, be them economic or military, which are used in the US. I do not even mention those "think-tanks" which is a euphemism for pseudo-academic whoring and selling snake oil, especially in so far as the military realities are concerned.
But in the end, any operational planning of the campaign the scale of SMO requires not only sheer numbers, it requires a profound understanding of the issues of combat effectiveness and proper operational criteria used in the planning phase and during the operations themselves. No NATO country, including the US has such an experience other than the white board theories, much of which have their roots in beating the shit out of "small fish" opponents.