The Russian Air Force is conducting a large-scale air-defence exercise near the Republic of Buryatia, Russia, in an effort to evaluate its combat readiness.
Conducted under the Eastern Military District operational command, the exercise involves participation from approximately 2,000 personnel, more than 500 weapon systems and 50 front-line aircraft, as reported by RIA Novosti.
Eastern Military District press officer lieutenant colonel Alexander Gordeyev said the drill aims to validate operational readiness of the district’s air-defence forces and combat aviation to conduct joint missions and practise an array of combat training sorties in modern warfare.
The drill involved the deployment of S-300 surface-to-air missile (SAM) systems, Osa, Buk, Strela and Shilka anti-aircraft missiles, Igla man-portable SAM missiles and the recently delivered Pantsyr-S gun-missile systems, Gordeyev added. The exercise is scheduled to conclude in the middle of April.
Meanwhile, unidentified military officials were reported by the news agency as saying that the air force is also conducting a series of tactical drills in preparation for the Ladoga-2013 exercise, which is scheduled to start next week on Lake Ladoga in the Republic of Karelia, near the Finnish border.
Carried out in Karelia and the Leningrad, Smolensk and Tver regions, the preparatory exercises include mid-air refuelling flights, landing on unknown airfields, aerial reconnaissance, air protection and elimination of ground based and airborne threats.
Approximately 1,000 soldiers are participating along with more than 70 aircraft, which include a mixture of fighters, bombers, as well as army aviation platforms, such as MiG-31 Foxhound and Su-27 Flanker fighters.
Additional aircraft include MiG-25RB Foxbat interceptors, Su-24M Fencer attack aircraft and Su24MR reconnaissance aircraft, besides Mi-8 Hip multirole helicopters and Mi-24 Hind attack helicopters.
Image: The Pantsyr-S1 air defence system of the Russian Air Force.