Photo: Thomas Nilsen

Russia flexes northern military muscles ahead of NATO exercise

Northern Fleet’s brand new frigate «Admiral Gorshkov» has sailed on Barents Sea combat training mission. So have nuclear submarines and strategic bombers.
October 03, 2018

Nuclear powered submarines from two of the Northern Fleet’s flotillas have conducted several day long complex anti-submarine exercise with torpedo firing in the Barents Sea, the press service in Severomorsk informs.

As part of the exercise, submarines were first searching and tracking «enemy» vessels, before they initiated a «hunt» and torpedo launchings. The Northern Fleet has a dusin of multi-purpose nuclear-powered submarines based along the Barents Sea coast of the Kola Peninsula.

As reported by Barents Observer last week, the second of the 4th generation Yasen-class submarine, the «Kazan» left the yard in Severodvinsk by the White Sea for sea trails.

The Press Service of the Northern Fleet could also tell that the latest frigate, the «Admiral Gorshkov» has tested its weapons in the Barents Sea. «The crew of the ship conducted air defense exercise using airborne radio-weapons and an anti-aircraft missile system,» the statement reads.

«Admiral Gorskhov» was transferred north from St. Petersburg in early September, but has also earlier this summer sailed inter-fleet crossings from the Baltic Sea to the Barents Sea. The vessel has also been to the White Sea for testing its anti-aircraft, rocket artillery and mine- and torpedo weapons. The frigate is armed with Calibr supersonic cruise-missiles.

«Admiral Gorskhov» is now returing to Severomorsk, the main base of the Northern Fleet north of Murmansk.

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The naval exercises in the Barents Sea took place just weeks before NATO launches it large-scale Trident Juncture exercise in Norway. With about 45,000 soldiers, the exercise is one of the largest ever held in Norway and is aimed at testing the hole military chain, from troop training to command over large forces. NATO’s exercise takes place in southern Norway, more than 1,000 km away from Russia border in the north.

Russia is by NATO invited with observers.

The Defense Ministry in Moscow on Wednesday announced the start of an tactical exercise involving long-range bombers, including Tu-22M3 based at Olenya air base on the Kola Peninsula. Other strategic bombers like the Tu-160 and Tu-95MS are also taking part in the control check exercise from their air bases in Saratov and Kaluga regions further south in Russia.

Up to 10 air fields are included in the exercise, which also includes air refueling by Il-78 tankers.

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