Just days after it concluded the biggest military exercise since the cold war, Russia has ordered its missile forces to conduct a snap drill in order to ascertain the readiness of putting intercontinental ballistic missiles on “high-alert” within a short time frame.
“The headquarters and two missile divisions of the Orenburg Missile Army in Russia’s Urals region have been put on high-alert as part of snap combat readiness drills,” reports RIA Novosti.
The drills, which will run until Saturday, involve the redeployment of missile units which include those armed with nuclear-capable Topol (SS-25 Sickle) intercontinental ballistic missiles and RS-20V Voyevoda (SS-18 Satan) ballistic missile systems.
“The goal of this snap check is to assess the ability of missile units to go on high-alert in required time and to evaluate their readiness to perform the designated tasks,” said Col. Igor Yegorov, a spokesman for the Defense Ministry.
The missile drills follow in the footsteps of a similar “snap order” given by Vladimir Putin which tasked the Russian military to achieve full “combat readiness” as quickly as possible. Last week’s exercise involved 130 combat aircraft, 70 ships, 5,000 tanks, 160,000 troops and 320 tons of equipment, making it the biggest such drill since the Soviet era.
According to Konstantin Sivkov, a retired officer of the Russian military’s General Staff, last week’s exercise “was intended to simulate a response to a hypothetical attack by Japanese and US forces,” although the drill received little attention from the US media.
Russia has dramatically stepped up its military spending, with arms industry expenditure expected to soar nearly 60% over the next two years while the US military budget is cut by 15 per cent.
Back in May, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev called on the nation’s defense industry to provide “state-of-the-art weapons superior to their Western analogs.”
Russia is currently engaged in the largest military build-up since the cold war, including the development of a new missile defense radar in southern Russia designed to counter missiles launched from Europe, as part of maneuvers which pose, “a strategic threat to the United States and NATO allies,” according to US military officials.
Russia is also working on a new generation of nuclear intercontinental ballistic missiles called the Yars-M which “Russian officials say will be able to penetrate U.S. missile defenses.”
With two snap drills taking place in the space of little over a week, some are concerned that Russia is gearing up for conflict following the announcement that Israel had bombed Russian-made weapons in Syria earlier this month.
With Barack Obama getting the green light from the House and Senate Intelligence Committees to arm jihadist rebels in Syria, a proxy war is developing as a result of Russia’s staunch support for President Bashar Al-Assad.
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