Russian Paper Details CIS Air Defense Exercises

MOSCOW (BBC)–As ‘Krasnaya Zvezda’ has already reported–a training session took place on 22 April under the direction of air force Col-Gen Anatoly Kornukov–commander-in-chief of the Russian Federation air force and chairman of the coordinating committee for air defense questions of the Council of CIS Defense Ministers.

One of the first tactical problems was presented by the "weather gods," which prevented a full inspection of the actions of Kazakhstan’s air defense duty forces and systems and partially prevented an inspection of the actions of the specialists of the Siberian air defense zone.

In Tajikistan–torrential rain also grounded a fighter of the peacekeeping forces–which was supposed to "size up" the republic’s air defense system. Another training exercise will be held in the near future–with all the joint air defense system forces and systems which the vagaries of the weather prevented from fully showing their worth.

But on the commonwealth’s northwestern–southern and southwestern borders–the situation was extremely tense: some 44 aircraft took part in an hours-long training session.

An attempt was first made to command and control the forces allocated to beef up the Belarusian grouping: colleagues from that republic directed Russian fighters’ operations against targets approaching from the northwest.

The situation was extremely complex in the area of responsibility covered by the Belarusian air defense and air forces and systems–but the custodians of the Commonwealth’s western outpost operated impeccably. Incidentally–during the training session–Russian and Belarusian fighters landed at one another’s airfields on several occasions.

Summing up the results of the command-post training session–Col-Gen Anatoly Kornukov noted that air defense forces and systems from the 102nd base stationed in the Republic of Armenia had taken part in the CIS joint air defense system together with their Armenian comrades-in-arms for the first time.

The participants in the exercises in the Transcaucasus sector were assigned the training mission of first recording a violation of Armenian and CIS air space–then compelling the "intruder" aircraft to land–or otherwise using antiaircraft missiles to destroy the "enemy."

What were the results? "They worked well," that was how Lt-Gen Mikhael Arutyunyan–chief of the General Staff of the Armenian armed forces and Armenia’s first deputy defense minister–evaluated the first exercise involving the separate air defense aviation group from the Russian military base in Armenia and the country’s air defense forces–who embarked on joint combat alert duty a week ago within the framework of the CIS joint air defense system.

According to the director of the training session–Georgian air defense specialists also operated efficiently. Reciprocal warning of air attacks was reliable and effective.

During the command-post training session all the assigned missions were successfully performed: the assigned targets were successfully attacked by alert-duty divisions–and aircraft and other airborne vehicles involved in the training session carried out successful landings at their airfields.

During the command-post training session–some aircraft were used as performance-grading intercept targets and deliberately violated the state border. In accordance with the format of current agreemen’s–measures to assist aircraft in distress and scenarios for mutual assistance in other emergency situations were mainly rehearsed. Thus–the air force commander-in-chief noted–"no parallels should be drawn with events in Yugoslavia," adding that "other measures will be carried out in that sector."

According to Lt-Gen Yuriy Solovyev–commander of the air defense First Corps–the issues rehearsed during the command-post training session will also be of considerable assistance in the event of a violation of CIS air borders.

The corps is attentively monitoring NATO forces’ tactics for the bombing of Yugoslavia. And there have been innovations. Thus–the United States has for the first time used F-117 tactical fighters at the same time as B-2 and B-1 strategic bombers. The "strategic aircraft" are taking off from NATO air bases both in the United States and in Europe. When they reach their points of engagement–a tactical aviation formation is organized at the same time Then sea-launched cruise missiles are involved.

At the same time the stereotypical nature of the NATO members’ actions is noticeable. The strikes are being carried out at roughly the same time–from the same directions–and against the same targets. However–according to specialists–this is merely "lulling" the Yugoslav air and air defense forces–and the use of some tactical innovation may soon follow .

The aims of the command-post training session have been achieved. It is planned to hold the next one in September–as two exercises are scheduled to take place each year.

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