The Black Sea Fleet’s Bal and Bastion mobile coastal defence missile systems locked on to the Russian naval frigate Admiral Makarov, the Fleet’s press office reported today. The statement added: “The exercise took place in accordance with the plan of the Fleet’s combat training.” Coastal defence troops used radar to detect a surface target, identify it and lock it on.
At the same time, the crew of a Su-24MR reconnaissance plane from the Black Sea Fleet’s naval aviation and air defence forces transmitted data on the enemy warship’s location, the statement said.
As a result, the missile systems’ combat teams “delivered a retaliatory strike against the notional enemy’s warship” via electronic launches.
Afterwards they “fulfilled procedures within the required time limits to change launch positions with a repeat of notional missile strikes,” the press office said.
In total, the drills involved roughly 20 weapon systems and 200 personnel.
The Bal coastal defence system, equipped with Russia’s fearsome Kh-35 anti-ship missiles, is intended to control territorial waters and straits, defend naval bases, other coastal facilities and infrastructure and areas regarded as being vulnerable to amphibious assaults.
The battery can operate in all weather conditions, at day and and night, using fully autonomous guidance after launches, in the face of an enemy’s intensive fire and jamming.
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The Bastion coastal defence system is equipped with Yakhont supersonic homing anti-ship cruise missiles, and is designated to strike surface ships operating in amphibious assault formations, convoys, surface action and carrier strike groups, as well as sole ships and land targets, under intensive fire and electronic counter-measures.
In addition, during the Admiral Makarov’s deployment, the crew of a Ka-31R reconnaissance helicopter practiced flights from its deck.
Also, shipboard crews staged a drill to check the smooth operation of all of the frigate’s aviation compound systems.
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During the exercises, the helicopter’s crew made about 20 take-offs and landings on the ship’s deck.
The US exercise, held at Strategic Command in Nebraska, in which US Secretary of Defense Mark Esper played himself, simulated a showdown in Europe between Russia and NATO on Friday.
Discussing the simulation, a US defence official explained: “They attacked us with a low-yield nuclear warhead, and in the course of the exercise we simulated responding with a nuclear weapon.”
The exercise assumed a Russian attack against a NATO target in Europe.
Speaking the next day, Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said: “We condemn such actions because they clearly show that Washington is determined to pursue the path of confrontation and keep lowering the threshold for the use of nuclear weapons.
“The US is embarking on a highly dangerous game instead of focusing on efforts to strengthen the arms control system that would also cover nuclear weapons.
“As we have stressed on numerous occasions, we would use nuclear weapons only in two exceptional cases – if Russia faces an attack with weapons of mass destruction or an aggression involving the large-scale use of conventional arms that puts the country’s existence at risk.”
“Allegations saying that we could act based on the ‘escalation for the sake of de-escalation’ principle are just idle talk that has nothing to do with reality.
“This is why we would like to once again draw the attention of our American colleagues to the need to dot all the I’s in their defence planning and once again confirm the well-known formula that has been there since the Soviet era, which says that there can be no winners in a nuclear war and it should never be unleashed.”
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