Stoked by fighter jet exercises in the Arctic Circle by NATO and its allies, Russia has assembled its air forces for a massive aerial military exercise of its own.
The snap drill will run for four days, the Global Times quoted Moscow’s Defense Ministry on Monday. The activity targets to test the combat readiness of the air and air defense units in Russia’s Central Military District (CMD).
About 12,000 military service personnel, 250 planes and helicopters, as well as 689 various weapons and pieces of military hardware are involved in the “massive surprise inspection,” the ministry added.
Russia’s long-range aircraft will be part of the exercise, BBC reports. They are expected to carry out cruise missile strikes on practice targets in the Komi republic.
AP reports combat aircraft will be sent to temporary bases. Air defense systems will be deployed to shooting ranges in southern Russia for training with live ammunition.
Russian Defense Minister Gen. Sergei Shoigu said Monday the drills are part of preparations for the Tsentr-2015 strategic exercises. BBC says the activity will occur in the next few months. The Russian president wanted to check “the combat readiness of groups from aviation and anti-air defense troops in the Central Military District,” Shoigu said.
The latest snap drills follows the one held in March 2015 in the Arctic where 80,000 servicemen, thousands of military vehicles, including dozens of warships, submarines, warplanes and helicopters were assembled.