[UPDATE: Russia successfully conducted the drills in a “complex target environment” simulating “simultaneous attacks from different directions and altitudes.]
Russia will conduct new live fire drills in the Republic of Buryatia, Southern Siberia and will start in April. The drills will take place at the Telemba military field, a specialized training area for anti-aircraft systems.
The Eastern Military District recently ended snap drills aimed at testing the unit’s readiness and operability.
More than 10 Su-30SM Flanker and Su-25 Frogfoot aircrafts will be deployed to provide targets for the S-300 long range surface-to-air system. Approximately 400 military personnel and 150 pieces of military hardware will also be deployed in support to the live fire drills.
The training comes in a time where the United States Air Force has stationed 14 F-16 Fighting Falcons in Estonia and A-10 Warthogs in Spangdhalem, Germany. Joint training with Finland and Sweden are also being conducted over Finland.
Russia is using similar aircrafts to provide the S-300 with valuable training. Adding to that, the Russian aircrafts will also have the opportunity to train against the S-300.
The Russian Su-30 Flanker and the American F-16 Fighting Falcon are both multirole fighters capable of delivering different type of payloads. Both aircraft can provide close air support and engage in dog-fighting scenarios.
The Russian Su-25 Frogfoot and the American A-10 Warthogs are also the same type of aircrafts—they provide close air support (CAS) and can fly slowly at low altitude. In ground operation scenarios, both aircrafts can become a solid asset against incoming armoured vehicles and fortified defensive positions.
The Russian Armed Forces held large-scale military drills throughout Russia March 16-21 where more than 80,000 troops were put on high alert. The Easter Military District anti-air and artillery units also conducted long-distance marches and an inter-unit communications drills.
Russia is most likely flexing its muscles once again to demonstrate the S-300 capabilities against recently deployed American aircrafts in Europe. However, military drills in Southern Siberia—close to China—could also be conducted to demonstrate Russia’s ability to protect all its flanks.