Russian President Vladimir Putin oversaw Wednesday a snap check of Russia’s nuclear deterrent, aerospace defenses and strategic aviation that involved multiple test launches of intercontinental ballistic missiles, a formidable demonstration of Russia’s resurgent military power.
“The exercise involved launches of ballistic missiles, drills by air defense and missile defense units and all practice targets had been destroyed,” Kremlin press spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.
The Ministry of Defense said the exercise saw the launch of two intercontinental ballistic missiles, an RS-12M Topol missile from the Plesetsk space launch pad in northwestern Russia and a RS-20V Voyevoda missile from its base in the Orenburg region in the southern Ural Mountains. It said the missiles successfully hit their practice targets on the far eastern Kamchatka Peninsula.
The Defense Ministry said in a separate statement that Russian strategic submarines – the Delta IV-class Bryansk from the Northern Fleet and the Delta III-class Svyatoy Georgy Pobedonosets from the Pacific Fleet – launched ballistic missiles while submerged in the Barents and the Okhotsk seas.
It must be noted that Russia is going to complete the fleet by new submarines. Russia’s new nuclear-powered submarine, the Alexander Nevsky, designed to carry the Bulava submarine-launched ballistic missiles, has completed sea trials, a shipbuilder said Monday.
The ministry said the drills confirmed high degree of readiness of the Russian nuclear deterrent and the efficiency of all tiers of the combat control structure.
In addition, the Russian Aerospace Defense Forces carried out live-firing exercises at the Kapustin Yar testing range in southern Russia. The exercises involved S-300 Favorit, S-400 Triumf and Pantsir-S air defense systems.
“The ADF units destroyed over 15 drones simulating aircraft and ballistic missiles flying at various altitudes and speeds in a massive strike against Russian air defenses,” the Defense Ministry said.
The drills were the latest in a series of surprise combat-readiness checks since January and follow a major shake-up at the top of the country’s military establishment, tarnished by persistent evidence of rampant corruption.
The previous snap check, in July, was the largest in the post-Soviet period and involved near 160,000 servicemen, about 1,000 tanks and armored vehicles, 130 aircraft and 70 warships from the far-eastern and central military districts.
Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, who took the post in November 2012, has said snap inspections of combat readiness will be conducted regularly and will involve all branches of the Russian Armed Forces.