Twenty warships, submarines and support vessels from Russia’s Pacific Fleet kicked off large-scale drills on Thursday.
The Defence Ministry says the maneuvers are taking place in the central Pacific, and include exercises on the management of a heterogeneous group of forces at a considerable distances from their home bases, the defence of sea communications, and the organization of the interaction of ships and aircraft to search for and track submarines and ship groupings of a simulated enemy.
The drills saw ships sailing roughly 4,000 km from their bases and home operating areas, and include the fleet’s flagship Varyag missile cruiser, the large anti-submarine ship Admiral Panteleev, and the frigate Marshal Shaposhnikov. The Gromky, Sovershenny and Hero of the Russian Federation Aldar Tsydenzhapov –Stereguschiy-class corvettes, are also taking part, along with several logistics support vessels and the Marshal Krylov missile tracking ship. About 20 aircraft, including Tu-142MZ anti-submarine warfare bombers and MiG-31BM interceptors are also involved.
The drills are being commanded by Admiral Sergei Avakyants, the veteran commander of the Russian Pacific Fleet.
Earlier Thursday, Russia’s Eastern Military District reported that a Su-35 fighter identified and escorted a US Air Force RC-135 strategic reconnaissance plane over the Pacific Ocean operating near Russia’s state borders. US aircraft regularly test Russia’s air defences in the Far East, as well as the Baltic, Black and Barents Seas, by flying spy planes, reconnaissance drones and bombers near the border.