President and Glavk Vladimir Putin ordered Defense Minister Shoygu to conduct another readiness exercise yesterday. This time in the Eastern MD, to include the Pacific Fleet.
Putin hinted he might show up in the Far East to watch.
The Supreme CINC directed that particular attention should be paid to transferring large masses of troops to assembly points, to transportation support, and to logistical and medical support.
Putin ordered Shoygu to:
“Also conduct all necessary measures relative to rescue at sea and the rescue of transportation means, including the submarine fleet.”
Apparently, the Glavk’s bitter (but important) memory of August 12, 2000 is jogged at this time of year.
He said he regards this year’s readiness checks as highly effective and extremely useful in eliminating problems.
Today Mil.ru indicated the exercise has started, and expanded a bit. It includes not only the Eastern MD and Pacific Fleet, but the Central MD, LRA, and VTA.
The “formations and units of the Central MD’s Novosibirsk large formation” (i.e. the 41st CAA) will play a notional enemy role.
The ex aims to evaluate sub-units’ readiness to fulfill designated missions, the skill level of personnel, technical readiness, and proper outfitting with weapons and equipment.
As in others, the readiness ex will feature marches (convoys) to unfamiliar ranges far from permanent bases for two-sided tactical play with combat firings.
It will test the operational mobility of a formation (brigade) to a distance of more than 3,000 km. Troops will move by rail, ship, and VTA. More than 80,000 personnel, 1,000 tank and armored vehicles, 130 aircraft, and 70 ships will participate. The drill concludes on 20 July.
Mil.ru also covered a high command videocon devoted to the ex. Shoygu said up to 160,000 troops might be involved in one way or another.
I wonder how effective these exercises really are. Hopefully they include realistic combat scenarios, as opposed to orchestrated, ‘ticking-the-boxes’ pokazhuka.
Thanks for commenting. Everyone wonders that. First, even a major skeptic admits getting out of garrison, burning fuel, flexing some muscles is better than the situation 10, perhaps even 5 years, ago. The frequency of these drills impresses thus far. Shoygu’s emphasis is readiness and training. Effective and realistic are much tougher to answer. There is some opfor involved and some live firings, and there are plenty of problems reported in the media. The scenarios are apparently tactical and “high intensity” (vs. NATO rather than vs. insurgents). But the movements of men and materiel are operational and strategic in scale. Today’s press reported a civilian airline in the Far East wouldn’t fly troops because it wasn’t paid first. The MOD says outright the purpose is to find problems and fix them. No doubt there’s scripting and orchestration, but exercises everywhere have some level of that for safety’s sake. A weasly bottom line: definitely not a Soviet-style pokazhuka, but not yet a U.S. / NATO evolution. Perhaps we’ll get some other thoughts and reactions.