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Russian bombers to test-fire missiles in Bay of Biscay

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  • Russian bombers to test-fire missiles in Bay of Biscay

    Pity to have lost our long "Russian Naval Task Force roaming the Meds again" thread, but here is the sequel as of today, though they seem to have made it to the Atlantic again... R.

    SOURCE: Times Online
    DATE: JAN 22, 2008
    Russian bombers to test-fire missiles in Bay of Biscay

    Russia has sent two long-range bombers to the Bay of Biscay, off the French and Spanish Atlantic coasts, to test-fire missiles in what Moscow billed as its biggest naval exercise in the area since the Soviet era.

    Firing missiles off the coastline of two Nato members is the latest in a series of Kremlin moves flexing Moscow’s military muscle on the world stage.

    Russian bombers joined aircraft carriers, battleships and submarine hunters from the Northern and Black Sea fleets for the Atlantic exercises, which come as the country enters an election campaign to choose a successor to President Putin.

    “The air force is taking a very active part in the exercises of the navy’s strike force in the Atlantic,” the Russian air force said in a statement reported by Reuters. “Today, two strategic Tu-160 bombers departed for exercises in the Bay of Biscay, which ... will carry out a number of missions and will conduct tactical missile launches."

    There was no immediate comment from Nato about the exercise.

    Mr Putin has used military manoeuvres, including controversial North Sea overflights, to revive domestic and international respect for Russia’s armed forces which were shattered by the chaos of the 1990s.

    He has also boosted military spending, renewed long-range bomber missions and approved a plan to upgrade Russia’s nuclear attack forces, which he said was needed after Nato built up its forces close to Russia’s borders.

    But some analysts note that while the sabre-rattling is popular at home, Russian military spending in absolute terms is substantially lower than that of China, Britain or France and less than a tenth of that of the United States.

    Discipline is also still a major problem for Russia’s armed forces, which rely heavily on conscripts and outdated equipment.

    Russia last month said it would begin major navy sorties into the Mediterranean, with 11 ships backed up by 47 aircraft, that would then travel to the Atlantic for exercises.

    The navy’s flagship aircraft carrier, the Soviet-made Admiral Kuznetsov, was leading the fleet in the Atlantic where Nato were trying to keep a close eye on Russian movements, Russian media reported.

    “This is the biggest exercise of its kind in the area since Soviet times,” a spokesman for Russia’s navy said, adding that more details would be released later. There was no further information about where in the Bay of Biscay, which lies off the west coast of France and the northern coast of Spain, the missile tests were due to take place.

    Russia’s air force said turbo-prop Tupolev Tu-95 strategic bombers, codenamed “Bear” by Nato, would join ATO, would join the exercise on Wednesday “From January 23, the aviation component in the zone where the exercises are going on will be widened and the following planes will take part: Tu-160, Tu-95, Tu-22 M3, Il-78, A-50,”, the air force said.
    AD.info? Rings a bell somehow...

  • #2
    Update: Russian Navy uses supersonic cruise missile to hit test target

    SOURCE: RIA Novosti
    DATE: JAN 22, 2008

    Russian Navy uses supersonic cruise missile to hit test target

    MOSCOW - The flagship of Russia's Black Sea Fleet has effectively engaged a designated target with a supersonic cruise missile as part of a Navy exercise in the northern Atlantic, a Navy spokesman said Tuesday.

    The Moskva guided-missile cruiser launched the P-500 Bazalt (NATO reporting name SS-N-12 Sandbox), a liquid-propellant supersonic cruise missile, last used in 2003.

    The P-500 Bazalt, which entered service in 1973, has a 550 km range and a payload of 1,000 kg, enabling it to carry a 350 kT nuclear or a 950kg semi-armor-piercing high explosive warhead.

    A Joint Naval Task Force, comprising the Admiral Kuznetsov aircraft carrier, the Udaloy-Class destroyers Admiral Levchenko and Admiral Chabanenko, as well as auxiliary vessels, is currently on a two-month tour of duty in the Mediterranean Sea and the North Atlantic.

    "The missile system used for launches has no match in performance terms," Capt. 1st Rank Igor Dygalo, an aide to the Navy commander, said Monday.

    Russian warships will also practice interoperability with naval aviation and strategic bombers for several days.

    The operation is the first large-scale Russian Navy exercise in the Atlantic for 15 years. All the warships and aircraft involved are carrying full combat ammunition loads, the Navy said.

    Vice-Admiral Nikolai Maksimov, commander of Russia's Northern Fleet who is heading the task force, earlier said that the current tour of duty to the Mediterranean, which started on December 5, was aimed at ensuring Russia's naval presence "in key operational areas of the world's oceans" and establishing conditions for secure Russian maritime navigation.
    AD.info? Rings a bell somehow...

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