Borei-class sub "Yury Dolgoruky" launched two Bulava missiles in the White Sea on September 27th 2016. Photos:

Russia announces massive trans-Arctic nuclear war games

Several areas in the Barents Sea are closed off making ready for ballistic missile shootings from submarines from October 15 to 17.
October 14, 2019


Warnings are issued by Russia’s west Arctic seaports administration about which areas civilian ships have to stay away from over the next three days.

Notified as rocket shootings is part of a major drill of the country’s strategic nuclear forces. The Defence Ministry in Moscow on Monday said the exercise will involve five submarines, 105 aircraft, 213 missile launchers and 12,000 troops.

Last week, 15 navy vessels sailed out to the Barents Sea from Severomorsk, the headquarters of the Northern Fleet the Barents Observer reported. The ships could both be exercising bastion defense, or take direct part in the drill. The nuclear-powered battle cruiser “Pyotr Velikiy” was among the ships on mission. 

“During the drills, cruise and ballistic missiles of various types of basing will be launched, including against the Pemboi, Chizha and Kura firing ranges,” TASS quotes the ministry’s statement saying.

Pemboi test range in the northern part of Komi Republic is traditionally used as target for cruise missiles launched from aircraft. Chizha test range is on Capa Kanin in the northern part of Arkhangelsk Oblast on the coast to the Barents Sea. The Kura range is in the northern part of the Kamchatka Peninsula in the Far East.

With missile test ranges both in the European Arctic and in the Far East mentioned, ballistic missiles would fly both ways across the Arctic. Likely, shootings could take place both from a Delta-IV class and a Borei-class in the Barents Sea with missiles targeted to the Kura test range. A missile launched the other way; from a Pacific Fleet submarine in the east, will hit the Chizha test range in the western Russian Arctic.

Russian Delta-IV submarine in the Barents Sea. Photo: Thomas Nilsen

In previous major strategic missile tests, launches have also come from the Plesetsk launch site in the Arkhangelsk region.


The announcement to hold strategic missile force drill comes as the UN is debating nuclear arms control. The New START agreement, which limits the number of both launchers and warheads, expires in 2021.

Russia has stressed the importance of prolonging the treaty, while the United States have said they will not decide until next year whether to extend the treaty or not.



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