Monthly Archives: February 2014

Russia’s Northern and Baltic Fleets Leave Bases in Operability Test

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Russia’s Northern and Baltic Fleets are beefing up their operational strength in the Barents and Baltic Seas as part of an operability test that was announced in Russia’s armed forces on Wednesday, the Defense Ministry reported in a statement on Thursday.

“About 80 surface vessels, submarines and support ships of the Russian Navy have left their permanent bases and started the deployment phase in the designated areas of the sea ranges in the Barents and Baltic Seas. Several groups of all-arms naval forces have been put together at the moment,” it said.

While proceeding toward the deployment areas, the ships are training the organization of air defense and short-range anti-submarine defenses and the arrangement of communications.

The Defense Ministry has said that snap checks are to be conducted on a regular basis to ensure constant combat readiness.

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Russian Navy to Get 3 Missile Corvettes by 2016

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The Russian Navy will receive three new missile corvettes by the end of 2015, navy commander Adm. Viktor Chirkov said Wednesday.

“The navy is expecting the Veliky Ustyug corvette this year and two more warships of the same class in 2015,” Chirkov said.

The Defense Ministry has ordered a total of nine Project 21631 (Buyan-M) corvettes for the navy, with at least six vessels to be assigned to the Caspian Flotilla.

The first two Buyan-M corvettes, the Grad Sviyazhsk and the Uglich, entered service with the flotilla earlier this year, Chirkov said.

The Zelenodolsk shipyard, based in Russia’s Tatarstan Republic, began construction of the sixth corvette in the series, the Vyshny Volochek, in August last year.

A Buyan-M corvette has a displacement of 949 tons and a maximum speed of 25 knots. It is armed with Kalibr (SS-N-27) anti-ship missiles, 100-mm and 30-mm guns, as well as Igla-1M air defense missiles.

Security of Russian Transport Facilities Near Ukrainian Border not Reinforced

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The security of Russian railway stations and airports, including those located on near the border with Ukraine has not been reinforced, a source in Russia’s law enforcement bodies told Itar-Tass on Thursday.

“Security measures are in normal mode, and no additional measures have been introduced. There is no need in this,” the source said.

Police officers are randomly inspecting passengers as usually.

Armed Forces Conducting Combat Readiness Drills

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Snap combat readiness drills started Wednesday in two of Russia’s military districts.

Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said that snap checks began at 2 p.m. Moscow time and involve units of the Western military district and the Second Guards Army of the Central Military District, and commands of Aerospace Defense Forces, Airborne Troops, Military Transport Aviation and Long-Range Aviation.

The decision to initiate the checks was not made in connection with the unrest in Ukraine, Shoigu added.

The exercises are held in line with orders from President Vladimir Putin, who is the supreme commander-in-chief of the armed forces.

Last year, Russia held at least six snap combat readiness checks of the armed forces. A surprise exercise in July was the largest in the post-Soviet era and involved some 160,000 servicemen, about 1,000 tanks and armored vehicles, 130 aircraft and 70 warships from the far-eastern and central military districts.

The Defense Ministry has said that snap checks are to be conducted on a regular basis to ensure constant combat readiness.

New Flight Simulators for Russia’s Air Force

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The Russian Air Force will receive nearly 20 new flight simulators later this year for training fighter and ground-attack crews, a military spokesperson said Wednesday.

Training simulators allow crews to practice maneuvers in conditions as close as possible to actual flight, including group formations and combat exercises.

According to spokesman Colonel Igor Klimov, the trainers are to simulate a number of new types of aircraft now entering service, including new variants of Sukhoi and MiG fighters and ground-attack aircraft, as well as the Mi-8 AMTSh transport and Kamov Ka-52 attack helicopters.

The air force plans to equip about 15 air units with the simulators, Klimov said.

Russian Missile Troops Getting Ready for Victory Day Parade

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Three “Topol M” strategic ballistic missiles will roll through Moscow’s Red Square to mark the WWII Victory Day on May 9.

Motorised troops will haul the giants across the ancient cobbles on Victory Day, brought to the capital from the Russian Strategic Rocket Forces unit’s Ivanovo garrison where the missiles have been prepared for the gala celebration march-past.

“The troops and their hardware are ready for the parade,” Teikovsky missile unit spokesman Colonel Igor Yegorov told Itar-Tass on Wednesday, citing the close of inspections by an army investigating commission checking readiness of three “autonomous launching installations” forming part of Topol-M’s missile system.

Topol and Iskander missile complexes awed spectators also on Victory Day 2013, appearing with Tiger and Lynx armoured vehicles, BTR-82A armoured carriers, T-90 tanks, self-propelled MSAT-S artillery systems, Triumph S-400 air defence systems among latest examples of military hardware. The Red Square fly-past by 68 aircraft and helicopters completed last year’s spectacle.

BrahMos Aerospace President Receives Russian Award

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Russian-Indian joint venture BrahMos Aerospace President Sivathanu Pillai has been awarded the Russian Order of Friendship. BrahMos missiles are a bilateral project, the success of which is a result of efforts on both sides. But this is not the end of friendship, which will grow stronger, Pillai said after receiving the order from Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin, who is co-chair of the Russian-Indian Inter-Governmental Commission on Trade, Economic, Science, Technical and Cultural Cooperation. Rogozin said the order had been awarded to Pillai for his big contribution to the strengthening of friendship and cooperation with Russia and the development of multifaceted scientific and cultural ties. Pillai is confident that the BrahMos missile project can be considered successful only if the missiles are bought by both Russia and India. Now only India has been buying them. He said this issue is discussed at different levels and expressed hope that Russia would make a positive decision. The overall value of BrahMos missile contracts with India’s Navy, Air Force and Army has reached 4.2 billion U.S. dollars and may increase to 7.5 billion U.S. dollars by 2015. Last year, India successfully tested a BrahMos supersonic missile from an underwater platform. This was the first time that any supersonic cruise missile was launched vertically from a submerged platform. The BrahMos supersonic cruise missile was successfully test fired from the Indian Navy’s newest guided missile frigate INS Tarkash off the coast of Goa in late May 2013.

Surprise Inspection of Russian Army not Related to Events in Ukraine

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A surprise inspection of the Russian Armed Forces ordered on Wednesday, February 26, by the supreme commander-in-chief is not related to the latest events in Ukraine, Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said.

When asked how the inspection in Russia’s Western Military District was related to the events in Ukraine, Shoigu said: “Generally speaking, it is not. We do not relate these things in any way.”

“The exercise will take place on Russia’s border with other countries as well, and Ukraine may be among them,” he said, adding that if a similar inspection were carried out on the border with Finland, it would hardly raise any interest in society or mass media.

A total of 110,000 troops are participating in the exercise. “Ninety aircraft, over 110 helicopters, up to 880 tanks, over 1,200 pieces of military hardware and as many as 80 ships and vessels will be involved,” the minister said.

The main purpose of the drill is to practice interoperability in different theatres of war. The exercise will also include a mass helicopter landing operation, Shoigu said.

Deputy Defence Minister Anatoly Antonov told foreign military attaches that the exercise was being conducted in strict compliance with the Vienna Document 2011. “Russia strictly complies with the Vienna Document 2011. This is why we will be engaging no more than 38,000 personnel for no more than 72 hours,” he said.

“You should not mix up the two figures: the 150,000 I mentioned and 38,000. The latter means 38,000 that fall under the Vienna Document. These include the Army, Airborne Troops, and Marines,” Antonov said.

The Russian Defence Ministry notified the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) of the surprise exercise in the Western and Central Military Districts.

“Our international obligations do not require us to inform our partners about such military activities,” Antonov said, adding that by so doing the Defence Ministry was demonstrating its commitment to the policy of openness.

The Defence Ministry also informed Russia’s eastern neighbours about the exercise. “The notice specifies the names of the units, concrete ranges and the tasks we will be solving at each stage of the exercise,” Antonov said.

He stressed that the Defence Ministry would continue such comprehensive surprise inspections and exercises in the future.

“Our surprise inspection is not aimed against any state. It’s a routine activity of the Armed Forces, and we will continue this practice in the future,” he said, adding that this is part of Russia’s plans to improve the combat capability of its Armed Forces.

Russia to Build Meteorite Shield

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The Russian Emergency Situations Ministry is drawing up a concept of a zone for testing meteorite protection of the civilian population and facilities, Minister Vladimir Puchkov said.

“Mankind had its first encounter with the real destructive impact on its social infrastructure from outer space [the Chelyabinsk meteorite event of February 2013],” Puchkov told the Federation Council on Wednesday.

The Russian Emergency Situations Ministry interacting with domestic and foreign partners in “the elaboration of a concept of a pilot project for testing the protection of the population and social infrastructure from meteorites,” he said.

“This is an extensive and complex mission. These are new technologies and demand international cooperation. The work is planned for decades ahead,” the minister concluded.

KamAZ Truck Maker Signs Indonesia Sales Deal

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Russia’s largest truck maker KamAZ has signed a deal to sell and eventually assemble its vehicles in Indonesia, a company official told RIA Novosti.

KamAZ reached agreement with Indonesia’s PT. Tehnikaina to act as distributor for its trucks, said Rafail Gafayev, the company’s export director.

“Indonesia with its population of 250 million is the largest market in Southeast Asia,” he said.

The deal was agreed on the sidelines of a meeting of a bilateral trade commission and has been in the works for over a year, according to Gafeyev.

“KamAZ currently intends to pursue a much more aggressive policy in exporting our products,” he said. “Over the next seven years we intend to increase [exports] fivefold.”