Large scale naval and air exercises Ocean Shield will be held in the Mediterranean on the permanent basis, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said in a distance conference on Friday, TASS news agency reported.
This year the Ocean Shield exercise was held for the first time.
Shoigu pointed out that a large inter-fleet naval group had been created in the Mediterranean “for independently coping with a wide range of tasks in a changing situation.”
“The command of the exercise was carried out from St. Petersburg and the support facility in Syria’s Tartus,” he added.
On September 1-8 a total of 26 ships, including two submarines and 34 aircraft of the Navy and the Aerospace Force conducted a joint exercise in the Mediterranean. Missile launches from ships, helicopters and planes were carried out.
Shoigu also noted that the newest methods of navy-aviation interoperability were tested in the ‘Ocean Shield’ drills in the Mediterranean Sea that also involved strategic Tu-160 missile-carrying bombers and A-50 airborne radar early warning and guidance systems.
“Let us sum up the results of the ‘Ocean Shield’ drills that were held in early September in the Mediterranean Sea. This exercise was held at such a distance from Russia for the first time in the country’s modern history,” Shoigu stressed.
The drills practiced measures for a multi-service grouping of forces and troops to prepare for and conduct combat operations, the defense minister said.
“During the drills, the newest tactical techniques and methods of the operation of shipborne forces and aviation were tested,” Shoigu said.
The warships of Russia’s Northern and Baltic Fleets made a voyage to a distance of over 4,500 km while Caspian Flotilla ships passed through the Volga-Don Canal and the Black Sea Straits from the Caspian Sea, he said.
“Naval aviation aircraft flew from Northern, Baltic and Crimean aerodromes to the Hmeymim airbase, covering a distance of over 5,000 km. Strategic Tu-160 missile-carrying bombers, A-50 airborne radar early warning and guidance systems and Il-78 aerial refueling tankers of Russia’s Aerospace Force were involved in the drills,” the Russian Defense Minister concluded.