CIS Air Defense Exercises Begin in South Russia

ASHULUK–Russia (Interfax)–The CIS air defense exercises will take into account the experience of the recent hostilities in Yugoslavia–Commander in Chief of the Russian Air Force Col. Gen. Anatoly Kornukov told the press in Ashuluk on Wednesday.

"For the first time–the mobility of air defense systems will be checked," Kornukov said. "We will definitely exercise in changing air defense system positions. Besides–combat tasks will be carried out in conditions of artificial disturbances," he said.

"Combat information to air defense systems will be fed from an AN-50 radar reconnaissance and guidance plane," Kornukov said.

"For the first time by way of psychological preparation attack aviation will deliver ground strikes so that servicemen will know that if the task is not fulfilled an air strike will destroy their positions," he said.

In addition to hitting air targets–S-300 air defense systems will attack ground targets to halt the breakthrough of a sabotage group of the imaginary enemy. "Sukhoi-24 front-line bombers and Sukhoi-25 attack bombers will hit positions to completely destroy the saboteurs," Kornukov said.

He said the exercises will involve five countries: Armenia–Belarus–Kazakhstan–Kyrgyzstan and Russia. "The total number of servicemen involved–including support formations–will be about 2,400," he said.

"The practice shooting at the Ashuluk training grounds Thursday will involve seven rocket brigades–one radio regiment and four aviation regimen’s," he said.

The exercises will rehearse the joint efforts of air defense units and fighter aviation to prevent violations of CIS air space.

Kornukov said that the air targets will simulate both combat planes and cruise missiles–including Tomahawks.

According to an Interfax reporter–the exercises will be followed by the defense ministers of Armenia–Belarus–Kazakhstan–Kyrgyzstan and Russia–who arrived in Astrakhan region on Wednesday–as well as their counterparts from Tajikistan–Ukraine and Azerbaijan. Military officials from Georgia and Uzbekistan are also expected to observe.

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