October 22, 2016 Special Dispatch No. 6648

Russia's Drills Update

October 22, 2016
Russia | Special Dispatch No. 6648

The following is a list detailing Russia's military drills during October:[1]


Admiral Kuznetsov Aircraft Carrier

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that the Admiral Kuznetsov aircraft carrier, currently en route to Syria, will unlikely be involved in exerting control over the skies over Syria. Peskov said: "I do not think that it is necessary to keep somebody away, [or that] somebody can attack [the Syrian government forces] ... as there are enough instruments to control the skies, to control the safety of our temporary infrastructure in Syria, which is why there is no such opportunity." (, October 22)

On October 15, Russia's Northern Fleet's press service said that a group of warships headed by the aircraft-carrying cruiser Admiral Kuznetsov accompanied by the Pyotr Veliky (Peter the Great) heavy nuclear missile cruiser, the Severomorsk and Vice-Admiral Kulakov anti-submarine destroyer, and support vessels was sent to the Mediterranean to hold drills and strengthen capabilities. The Admiral Kuznetsov carries deck-based Su-33 and Su-25 aircraft, as well as Ka-27/Ka29 helicopters.

The group of vessels conducted three-day exercises in the Northern Sea 273 kilometers away from the Norwegian coast. The drills involved practice flights of the carrier's aircraft. The exercises were closely monitored by the HNoMS Fridtjof Nansen, a frigate of the Norwegian navy.

On October 21, the Admiral Kuznetsov travelled through the English channel.



Barents Sea


The Northern fleet's atomic submarine "Smolensk" conducted a live cruise missile launch drill at a coastal target in the Novaya Zemlya archipelago, in Barents Sea.[2]

Polar Region

Date: October

Place: Pechengsky district of the Murmansk Region (Polar Region)

Troops and Equipment: Over 5,000 troops, more than 500 pieces of armor and vehicular hardware.

During the drill, the troops were tasked with repelling attacks by "the notional enemy's subversive groups while en route and practicing air defense and required actions in cases where the enemy employs weapons of mass destruction." Additionally, during the drills, the troops will prepare for defensive actions and offensive attacks.[3]

Central Military District

Date: October

Place: Samara region

Troops and Equipment: 1,500 military servicemen from the Central Military District's (CMD) peacekeeping brigade

Servicemen from the peacekeeping brigade of the CMD have been put on alert in the Samara region as a snap check began. The local military press service stated: "The troops have carried out a march to the specific areas at the Roshchinsky military shooting range. The peacekeepers will train in fighting provocations and tricks of the conflicting parties aimed at destabilizing any situation. The drills involve more than 1,500 military servicemen and 400 units of military hardware." During the drills, the peacekeepers will guard important facilities (the municipality building, a school, a kindergarten, hospitals and a railway station) in a simulated settlement.[4]


Date: October

Place: Western and Southern Siberia

Troops and equipment: 20.000 servicemen. The equipment involves motorized infantry, tank and artillery units, crews of Tolmachevo airbase, divisions of S-300 and S-400 air defense systems, task forces and specialists of all kinds of support.[5]

More than 20 000 servicemen participated in a snap check in the Central Military district - the snap check is supposed to conclude the 2016 training year. The five-days drills were held mainly in Western and Southern Siberia, while according to the operational scenario the combined forces should act in a Central Asian strategic direction.[6] According to CMD Colonel Yaroslav Roschupkin, assistant to the commander, during the drills, special attention was paid to intercepting and destroying targets, imitating "jihad-vehicles" which are used extensively by terror groups in the Middle East and Southern Asia.[7]

Western Military District

Date: October

Place: Luzhsky practice range in the Western Military District (WMD)

Troops and equipment: 100 servicemen, more than 20 pieces of combat hardware of a WMD's missile formation.

Crews manning Russia's Iskander-M tactical missile systems held drills in the Western Military District as part of a final check for the 2016 training year. The district's press office stated: "During the check, the district's command assessed the commanders' ability to make independent decisions under various conditions as well as the practical skills of Iskander-M crews in preparing the missile systems for firing and performing single and multiple electronic missile launches against targets imitating a notional enemy's command posts and radar stations located at a distance of several hundred kilometers."[8]


Iskander-M (Source: 

Eastern Military District

The Eastern Military District (EMD) command reported that during the year 2016 the assigned aviation unit has conducted more than 300 tactical trainings, including at least 150 drills involving live launch of bombs and missiles as well as guided munitions and precision weapons.[9]

The EMD Sukhoi Su-34 pilot crews performed flights to the stratosphere. The crews also trained nocturnal flight navigation and drilled bombing attacks against ground targets at one of the local test ranges.[10]




[1] See MEMRI Special Dispatch No.

[2], October 17, 2016.

[3], October 18, 2016.

[4], October 18, 2016.

[5], October 18, 2016.

[6], October 17, 2016.

[7], October 20, 2016.

[8], October 20, 2016.

[9], October 17, 2016.

[10], October 14, 2016.

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