Russian warplanes to strike enemy ground targets in drills as Putin flexes military muscle

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The crews of about 15 Sukhoi Su-30SM and Su-24 aircraft from the Baltic Fleet’s naval aviation will practice eliminating a notional enemy’s ground targets during the week-long war games.

Crews will practice tasks at the training ground to eliminate a notional enemy’s military hardware

Baltic Fleet spokesman

A spokesman for the fleet said: “During the drills that will last until the end of this week, the crews of Su-30SM multirole fighters and Su-24 frontline bombers will practice tasks at the training ground to eliminate columns of a notional enemy’s military hardware and provide fire support for units of the Baltic Fleet’s army corps in the conditions of a present-day all-arms battle.”

The pilots will also practice aerial battle manoeuvres, carry out reconnaissance and hitting targets and make target runs under enemy jamming.

The aircraft crews will strike more than 100 various targets during the drills.

The spokesman said: “The basic aim of the drills is to sharpen the skills of the crews’ flight training within their units and practice pairs’ co-ordinated and competent operations in a single tactical pattern, including in a manoeuvrable aerial battle.”

The training mission involves about 15 aircraft and more than 100 flight and ground personnel from the air regiment of the Baltic Fleet’s naval aviation squadron.

Meanwhile, the Russian Pacific Fleet’s anti-submarine warfare ships and submarine forces have been holding tactical drills in the Sea of Japan.

A spokesman said: “In accordance with the combat training plan, a tactical exercise was held in the Sea of Japan, during which a diesel submarine of the Primorye Flotilla of All-Arms Forces carried out an attack on a group of a notional enemy’s ships.

“Despite the anti-submarine warfare ships’ active measures, the submarine managed to stealthily penetrate the area, detect the ships that simulated an assault force and attack the tactical group successfully with four practice torpedoes.”

The naval strike force, comprising the small anti-submarine warfare ships Koreyets, Sovetskaya Gavan and MPK-221, was assigned the task of detecting and eliminating a notional enemy’s submarine.

The strike group’s operations were supported by an Il-38 anti-submarine warfare plane.

The fleet spokesman said the submarine was detected and attacked with rocket-propelled depth charges and torpedoes.

Russia has been flexing its military muscles amid simmering tensions with the West.

The US announced last week it was set to deploy a squadron of hunter-killer drones in Poland in a clear signal to Vladimir Putin and is also drawing up plans for new military infrastructure in the eastern European country.

The Pentagon has already confirmed plans to base MQ-9 Reaper drones in neighbouring Estonia for the first time, is a stark illustration of the tense nature of US-Russian relations.

In accordance with the deal, the US Air Force will begin rotating an MQ-9 Reaper reconnaissance drone squadron into Poland, as well as establishing an aerial port there.

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In addition, a location for a US armoured brigade combat team has been agreed, while the two countries are discussing additional support infrastructure plus a combat aviation brigade.

Officials refused to speculate on whether Donald Trump was planning to move any of the 9,500 US troops recently pulled out of Germany to Poland.

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