Apr 27, 2021
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What was first tested at the spring exercise

During large-scale exercises in Crimea, which ended a surprise check of the Airborne Forces and two military districts – South and Central, the latest automated control systems were tested, thanks to which all servicemen operated in a single information field. By May 1, most of the troops participating in the maneuvers will return to their permanent bases. But the military equipment of one of the combined-arms armies will stay at the training grounds in the south of the country until autumn. What else the Russian military tried for the first time on these exercises, Izvestia found out.

Sudden check

At the exercises for the command of an interspecific heterogeneous grouping, they jointly used the automated control systems of the Air Force and Air Defense, Akatsiya-M and ESU TZ, sources in the Ministry of Defense told Izvestia.

In early April, formations from two combined-arms armies were moved to the southwestern borders and to the Crimean peninsula: the 41st Central Military District and the 58th – the Southern. Also involved were three of the four divisions of the Airborne Forces (Airborne Forces): 7th, 76th and 98th, ships of three fleets and the Caspian Flotilla.

On the southern ranges and in the Crimea, not only combat units were deployed, but also rear services – communications, field hospitals and units of radiation, chemical and biological protection (RCBD). This made it possible to create full-fledged, fully combat-ready groupings.

Photo: Izvestia / Stepan Petrenko

The culmination of the strategic check was the largest for Crimea exercises at the Opuk training ground. More than 10 thousand soldiers, 40 ships and more than a hundred airplanes and helicopters took part in them.

“Russia has clearly demonstrated its ability to create in the shortest possible time a grouping that includes different types of the Armed Forces and branches of the armed forces and is capable of solving the whole range of tasks – both in defense and in offensive,” military expert Viktor Murakhovsky told Izvestia. – The inter-fleet transition from the Caspian to the Black Sea, the concentration and regrouping of military transport aviation were shown. For the aerospace forces, the transfer to operational airfields from permanent bases has already become commonplace.

The bilateral nature of the live-fire exercises was indicative, when, on the one hand, our troops were solving the tasks of anti-amphibious defense, and on the other, the units were practicing seizing the coast, the specialist noted. It required the highest skill in the organization and control of troops in order to work out all the issues of application and at the same time ensure the safety of personnel. A maximum of one or two more armies in the world can carry out such events, concluded Viktor Murakhovsky.

Airborne interaction

The unique feature of the exercises was not only the creation of a heterogeneous land force at the borders. Landing ships from the Black Sea, Baltic and Northern fleets operated in one formation without lengthy training and rehearsals. Together with them, for the first time in history, the troops of the boats of the Caspian Flotilla, which came to the Black Sea via inland waterways, landed in the Crimea.

Photo: Izvestia / Stepan Petrenko

On one training battlefield in just an hour, motorized riflemen, marines of the Southern Military District (YuVO) and airborne assault units of the Airborne Forces landed in three waves from helicopters. The operation ended with a large-scale parachute landing from military transport aircraft under the cover of fighter aircraft and jammers.

All amphibious forces worked under a single command and plan, helping the Marine Corps to capture and expand the beachhead on the coast.

The Airborne Forces, the most mobile component of our Armed Forces, have demonstrated their capabilities to concentrate and airborne (including parachutes) formations from different parts of the country in the required operational direction. The same applies to all support and support units – missile and artillery troops, engineering troops, electronic warfare troops, command and control and communications structures, explained Viktor Murakhovsky.

Together with paratroopers, motorized rifle units were also landed from helicopters for the first time. The experiment of using them in the role of airmobile troops has been under way in the Southern Military District since 2019. Each battalion has a dedicated company that trains for helicopter transfers only with light weapons – anti-tank and automatic grenade launchers, as well as 120-mm mortars.

Photo: Izvestia / Stepan Petrenko

To observe the enemy and monitor the actions of their own troops, the command actively used drones. Among them were not only the usual “Eagles” and “Outposts”, but also the first serial drones of the middle class “Orion”. These reconnaissance and strike vehicles weighing one ton can strike with guided munitions and have been used many times in Syria.

Get away, but not quite

Immediately after the end of the strategic exercises, the withdrawal of troops from the ranges to the places of permanent deployment began. On Thursday, April 22, the loading began on the ships of the Marine Corps, which landed at the Opuk training ground. Some of the paratroopers are also returning home.

The Ministry of Defense reported that from the railway station near Feodosia, a brigade of the RChBZ departed for their permanent bases in the mainland of Russia, and from Kerch, a command brigade. Some of the aircraft of the military transport and operational-tactical aviation returned to their home airfields.

But it is already known that not all units will return from the border areas. The bulk of the armored vehicles and weapons of the 41st Combined Arms Army will be left in the camp at the Pogonovo training ground in the Voronezh Region. According to the official statement of the Ministry of Defense, they will later be involved in the strategic exercises “West-2021”. The maneuvers are scheduled for September this year. A small contingent will be left to guard and maintain the equipment, but most of the personnel will return to the Central Military District.

Photo: Izvestia / Stepan Petrenko

After the completion of the exercises, the 56th airborne assault brigade will be settled on a permanent basis in Feodosia. It will be reduced to a regiment and redeployed to the peninsula from the city of Kamyshin in the Volgograd region. This connection is well suited for airmobile operations in conjunction with army aviation helicopters, which was confirmed during the exercise.

Anton Lavrov

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