Monday, June 15, 2015

Pacific Fleet Preparing for Large-Scale Exercise

Grisha frigate "Koreyets" conducts eastbound transit of La Perouse Strait - June 1, 2015
(credit: Japanese Ministry of Defense)
It appears that Vladivostok-based naval units are heading towards Sakhalin Island, the Kuril Islands, and the Kamchatka Peninsula for what has become an annual event: preparing for the next Eastern Military District-level exercise.

It's hard to hide their movements when they transit the La Perouse Strait, which runs between Russia (Sakhalin Island) and Japan (Hokkaido). Below are the dates and units that have conducted an eastbound transit of the La Perouse Strait so far:

June 1 Grisha frigates "Koreyets" and "Metel"
June 5 unidentified Kilo submarine
June 7 Tarantul III patrol ships R-19, R-29, and R-298
June 9 unidentified Kilo submarine
June 10 unidentified Kilo submarine

Unidentified Kilo submarine conducts eastbound transit of La Perouse Strait - June 10, 2015
(credit: Japanese Ministry of Defense)
Based on social media clues, the following ships are also heading out on voyages lasting anywhere from one to two months, thus making them prime candidates for whatever events are about to occur east of the La Perouse Strait:

  • Alligator landing ship "Nikolay Vilkov"
  • Grisha frigate "Sovetskaya Gavan"
  • Slava cruiser "Varyag"
  • Sovremennyy destroyer "Bystryy"
  • Udaloy I destroyer "Admiral Vinogradov"
  • Udaloy I destroyer "Marshal Shaposhnikov"
  • Vishnya intelligence collection ship SSV-208 "Kurily"

Past Eastern Military District-level exercises have been spread out across a vast region, from Sakhalin Island to the Bering Sea. Some of these units will not transit beyond Sakhalin Island, while others will preposition to the Kamchatka area to await further orders. As a reminder, last year's workup for the "Vostok-2014" operational-strategic exercise also took place east of Kamchatka.

And another MOD "surprise inspection" before the main event should be no surprise to anyone.