The small anti-submarine warfare ships – Yunga, Brest and Snezhnogorsk – have been deployed to the Barents Sea to hunt down a notional enemy’s submarine in a series of planned drills, the Northern Fleet’s press office reported today. The exercises are the latest in a series of manoeuvres in the Arctic region, which in recent weeks have seen fighter jets flying at maximum altitude, and paratroopers skydiving from 10,000 metres.
A statement explained: “At the Northern Fleet’s combat training ranges in the Barents Sea, the naval search and strike force has started qualification tactical drills to search for and eliminate a notional enemy’s submarine.
“These drills are running in interaction with Il-38 anti-submarine warfare planes of the Northern Fleet’s Air Force and Air Defense Army.”
The trio of ships left the port of Polyarny, the main naval base of the Kola Flotilla of All-Arms Forces, yesterday.
The minesweepers Vladimir Gumanenko, Kotelnich and Solovetsky Yunga are supporting the ships, the statement says.
During their deployment to the sea, the ships will stage communications drills, practice the elements of joint manoeuvring as part of a naval group and perform an number of ship damage control exercises.
The final stage, which will last several days, will involve combat training exercises, including firing of torpedoes.
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The statement added: “The area of the combat training exercises has been closed in advance for shipping and flights.
“Upon the completion of the drills, the small anti-submarine warfare ships Yunga, Brest and Snezhnogorsk will return to the main base of the Kola Flotilla of All-Arms Forces – the city of Polyarny.”
Albatros-class small anti-submarine warfare ships are fitted with AK-176M and AK-630M artillery and anti-aircraft missile systems, as well as RBU-6000 rocket launchers and torpedoes, plus advanced sonars.
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Such warships are designated to protect the water area and fight submarines in the close-in maritime zone.
Last month, the crews of five MiG-31 interceptor-fighters from the Northern Fleet’s composite air regiment performed manoeuvres at maximum altitudes in the sky over the Arctic.
A spokesman said: “The pilots will climb to the lower layers of the stratosphere over the Arctic to an altitude of about 17,000 meters.”
Also last month, Russian paratroopers carried out the world’s first ever joint high-altitude jump from 10,000 meters in the area over the Franz Josef Land archipelago.
Russia now has 177,160 cases of COVID-19, according to Johns Hopkins University’s Coronavirus Resource Centre – although on 1,625 deaths, according to official figures.
The situation appears to be worsening, with the number of cases increasing by more than 10,000 for the last four days in a row.
Nevertheless, Mr Putin has demonstrated no appetite for scaling back military exercises.
Speaking last month, Iain Ballantyne, Editor WARSHIPS International Fleet Review, told Express.co.uk: “Like other nations Russia has triggered a widespread military response to the coronavirus within its own borders while also sending medical specialists from its armed forces to Italy, in order to help battle the virus there.
“However, while NATO – quite sensibly – curtailed or called off some major combat training exercises, the Russian military has made a point during the pandemic of carrying on with business as usual.”
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